my first interview

I wanted to reveal how I handled my first interview, which was online through email notifications.  I began by asking my interviewee, a gay man, if he had any suggestions for what type of questions I should ask the GLBT community.  He mentioned three things that I probably would not have asked, so I was glad I asked him first.  Further, he seem to appreciate that I asked him for suggestions.  The three questions he suggested were:

Does the GLBT community feel safer now than before when this community was not so visible to the public?

Do GLBT individuals on T.V. today reinforce hurtful stereotypes?

Do you feel, as a GLBT individual, that the topic of the GLBT community was used in politics to get votes, especially during the Obama campaign?

These were, I felt, three really helpful questions that I probably would not have thought of on my own.  I decided I will conduct every interview this way, beginning first with asking the interviewee what he or she would like to discuss.  As in the case above, I can ask my interviewee, and will, if he felt the topic of the GLBT community was used to get votes in politics, because clearly it is something that is on his mind and he would like to discuss.


I was absent from class last time, so I am not able to type my post on class reflection.  Instead, I will reflect on the reading itself, Fleck’s Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact.  I really enjoyed reading Fleck’s work.  Dr. Wolff told me that in class everyone discussed  how we could use Fleck in our research, which is what I would like to attempt to do now.  Fleck points out that one experiment cannot explain the development of syphilis, but rather the experiences of many different experiments, observations, skills, and transformation of concepts can.  Therefore, in consideration to my own research, when researching a specific concept, I should make sure to look at the history of experiments and transformations of that concept.  As Fleck suggests, all concepts conform to a specific thought style of the past.  I am researching the GLBT community.  According to Fleck then, I am researching, not only the current GLBT community, but the  GLBT community of the past, and even the future.

Fleck suggests that throughout the history of scientific knowledge, as with other branches of knowledge, a closed system of opinions developed, which resisted, and still resists, any new ideas that contradict it.  He says there are several stages to this resistance.  First, a contradiction to the system appears unthinkable.  Second, what does not fit into the system remains unseen.  Third, new ideas are kept secret.  Fourth, experts explain an exception to the rule.  Fifth, experts continue to describe the current views only, while ignoring the contradictory views.  In consideration of these stages, I think it will be important, when researching my topic, to research contradictory views.  I should always keep in mind that just because an expert says so does not make it so, because experts frequently resist new ideas that contradict their own ideas.  Fleck says that the expert is a molded individual who cannot escape the bonds of tradition or of the collective.  In other words, when a new idea comes along that does not fit into experts’ collective boxes of traditions, they reject it, or simply overlook it, because they cannot escape the bonds of their traditions and of the collective. 

Along with these ideas, I think it will be important to consider my personal method of cognition when conducting my research.  Fleck mentions that whatever we already know influences our method of cognition, and this method then gives what we already know new meaning.  Therefore, I must consider, when doing my research, that what I already know will guide my choices in research, and how I then interpret that research.  For instance, I currently live in a social world in which the GLBT community is fighting for different rights, like the rights of marriage and adoption.  Because I live in this social world, I chose to research this community.  Further, because I live in this social  world, I have developed my own opinions and perceptions of this world, such as believing the rights of the GLBT community have been violated, which will now influence the way I interpret the readings on this topic.  As such, I must make sure to analyze my own beliefs and biases, and how they may be influencing the progression of my research, when developing my work.

Fleck also states that truth is not relative or subjective, but rather belongs to a particular thought style, namely that of a thought collective.  In conclusion, when conducting my research I will remember that what I am researching is never truth for all people, but rather truth only according to a certain group of people.  The thoughts and concepts developed from each of these groups of people is what makes up a thought collective.

My research topic is on the GLBT community.  The theme of my interviews will involve the hardships and sufferings of this community, the individuality of each subject that I interview, and their civil rights.  I want to keep the themes general, because I do not want to slip into my own personal trap of persuasive writing.  I really want to try to remain neutral during my interviews, and allow the interviewees to tell me something I do not know.  I will be interviewing two lesbians and two gay men.  Three of them will be in person, and one will be online.  One of the gay men, Todd, said it is perfectly fine for me to use his real name.  I have not received permission to disclose the names of the others yet, but I will soon ask them how they feel about this.  I had no luck finding anyone to interview from twitter, but I did find someone on facebook.  He agreed to get interviewed, so I sent him an email asking him which way he would prefer being interviewed, email, twitter, etc.  Now I am waiting on his returned email.  Two of of my interviewees, Todd and one of the lesbians, I know personally, because they are coworkers of mine.  The other lesbian I will be interviewing I have never met before, but will meet in person soon.  She is the girlfriend of the lesbian I am interviewing that I work with.  The gay man I met online I do not know personally and will never meet him in person, but I will ask to speak with him on the phone.  I will be conducting two of my interviews on March 13, starting at 5 p.m., and I will record them if permitted.  I will be conducting my interview with Todd on March 15th at 4 p.m. and he said it would be fine for me to record the session.  I want to record them, so I do not have to write everything down.  In this way, the interview will be more like a conversation than an interview.   

Some of the questions I have come up with so far are:

Who is Todd?

What was your life like? Was it difficult or easy? Why?

How did you feel when you first came out?  Why?

What are your hobbies and why?

Who or what do you identify with and why?

Have you ever felt discriminated against for being GLBT? Why? What happened?

If you could change anything about the GLBT experience, what would it be?

Do you feel you have equal rights as a GLBT individual? Why or why not?  Has this impacted your life personally? How? Explain.

I want to add more questions eventually, but as for now I do not want to create too many questions.  I’d rather let the interviewees take the lead and spend most of the time talking if possible.  I tried to develop reflective, open-ended questions, so they can do this.  I plan on developing other questions during the interviews, which will probably be more effective, because these questions will reflect what the interviewees are saying.

GLBT Adoption Laws

I was searching online for some new information on the GLBT community in my area, Williamstown, N.J., because I still need to find an organization nearby to explore.  I did not have any luck, but I did come across some information on GLBT adoption laws.  I discovered that New Jersey is one of a few states that permits same sex couples to adopt.  In fact, on the site, about.com, it lists the states that do and do not allow for same sex couples to adopt.  This site also states the problems that occur when states do not permit same sex parents to adopt.  First, children in gay couple households have no legal status if something happens to the parents.  The child cannot claim inheritances or other household assets if the parents die.  If one parent dies, the second parent has no legal right to take custody or care for the child.  A parent with no legal right cannot legally register a child for school.  Further, neither parent or child has visitation rights if the parents separate.   Parents cannot make medical decisions for the child.  And finally, gay couple parents without adoption rights do not receive the benefits that heterosexual parents receive from tax deductions.  I retrieved all of this information from about.com, a site a lesbian coworker of mine told me to explore.  There is a lot more information located on this site about both the difficulties and celebrations experienced in the GLBT community.

After class last week, I repeatedly reflected on the idea of researching my topic, namely the GLBT community, in a unbiased manner.  Originally, I did not like this idea for no other reason than that I am a product of my environment.  When I was working on my BA in English, all of my teachers taught persuasion as if they were drill sergeants directing me to get down and give them twenty.  Therefore, the primary environmental influence in my writing has been one of persuasion tactics.  Yet after much reflection, I am now convinced I should approach my research topic in a unbiased manner.  I think I will learn more about my topic this way, because rather than interpreting my topic through my eyes, feelings, and experiences, I will attempt to interpret it through the eyes, feelings, and experiences of others.  Further, I think learning how to persuade without using persuasion is probably a technique in itself, and one that I would like to master.

By the way, for those of you who do not check twitter frequently, I posted a link on there of the bubble show Chai mentioned in class.  The bubble guy’s name is Fan Yang.  He has all kinds of shows you can look at.  Here is my favorite.

my first annot. bib.

I am not sure what I am doing wrong, but this annotated bibliography does not look the way I typed it in microsoft works.

Arm, J., et al. (2009). Negotiating connection between GLBT experience of anti-GLBT

movement of policies. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(1), 82-96.


In this article, Jennifer Arm et al. explores the thoughts and feelings of family

members of GLBT individuals. Until recently, most studies focused on how the

family felt once the GLBT member revealed his or her sexual orientation.

Instead, the intention behind this study is to investigate the thoughts and feelings

the families experience in relationship to the legislative initiatives that limit the

rights of the GLBT family member. When considering the physical and

emotional traumas the GLBT community experiences in response to these

initiatives, it seems natural to suggest that their family members, those closest to

them, are also experiencing physical and emotional problems. Arm refers to the

stressors endured by the family as secondary stress, because their stress is viewed

as an indirect, rather than a direct, result of the legislative initiatives. Researchers

are still uncertain whether the family members experience sexual prejudice the

same way the GLBT individual does. Further, they also want to explore whether

limitation of GLBT rights poses a limitation on their family members rights. For

example, Arm et al. points out that in Tennessee a GLBT person can be evicted

solely for the reason of sexual orientation or gender expression. My question is if

these individuals are forced from their homes and they are the primary supporters, are not their family members who are also forced from their homes also being

affected? Are not their rights then being limited? I hope that this study provides me with these answers.

Blackwell, C. W. (2008). Nursing implications in the application of conversion therapies

on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients. Issues in Mental Health, 29, 651-665. doi:10.1080/01612840802048915


Christopher Blackwell describes the historical background of what was once

assumed pathological GLBT-ism. He says it all probably took root in Freud’s

Oedipus Complex Theory. Then later it developed into a crime against God and

religion. Consequently, once viewed as pathological, people developed a belief

in conversion therapy, namely that a GLBT individual could learn how not to be

GLBT. Today religious people still hold to this belief, even though GLBT-ism is

no longer considered a pathological problem. In fact, it is no longer listed in the

DSM-IV as a psychological disorder. Therefore, religion currently appears to be the perpetrator in denying the GLBT community equal rights and opportunity. I hope this article helps me to identify whether or not conversion therapy is possible. I would like to know whether the literature says individuals are born as GLBT and cannot change or that their environment influences their choices and they can change.

Campbell, L.J. (2007). Jack Nichols, gay pioneer: “Have you heard my message?” New York: Harrington Park Press. doi:10.1080/15504280903073564

[?]. (2003). Gay and lesbian rights in the United States: a documentary history.

Westport, CT: Greenwood Press dio:10.1336/03133066966

Graham, A. H. (2008). Hometown Stories. Advocate, (1009). Retrieved from

Academic Search Premier.

In this article, six gay men from six different states in the U.S. explain their

personal experiences of what it is like to live as a gay man in their hometowns.

These hometowns include Asbury Park, NJ, Portsmouth, NH, Ely, NV, Kihei,

Hawaii, Natchitoches, LA, and Dallas, TX. They all point out something that they

share in common. They all discuss whether or not they can feel comfortable

enough to express public affection with their lovers in their hometowns. Being

able to express public affection appears to be very important for them. It is

significant to feel safe in expressing affection toward the one you love without

being judged. Further, they all mention different places they can go to in their

hometowns that are developed for the GLBT community. For instance, Steven

Crespo, from Asbury, NJ, explains that there are gay owned businesses and an annual GLBT pride celebration in Asbury Park. These, along with many other

GLBT gatherings, appear to be very important for all of them. I hope, during the

course of my research, to find more information on Asbury Park, NJ, because this

is my hometown. I also will search for upcoming Asbury Park celebrations and

probably attend one.

Herek, G. M. (1989). Hate crimes against lesbians and gay men: Issues for research

policy. American Psychologist, 44(6), 948-955. doi:10.1037/0003-006x.44.6.948

In this article, Gregory Herek discusses hate crimes in extensive detail. He gives a

clearly stated definition. He says that GLBT hate crimes are dangerous to both

homosexuals and heterosexuals, because at any time heterosexuals can be

mistaken for homosexuals. Then he gives specific occurrences and examples of

hate crimes in order to strengthen his research. Herek feels people are not as

aware of these hate crimes as they should be. Further, there are many hate crimes

that have never been reported as a result of fear, especially fear of continued

harassment. People of the GLBT community have been viciously harassed,

beaten, and killed for no other reason but being GLBT. I hope this article

provides me with a deeper look into the statistics of hate crimes committed

against GLBT individuals. Further, I would like to know more about the specific

occurrences of actual hate crimes that have taken place throughout history.

Herek, G. M., et al. (2009). Internalized stigma among sexual minority adults: Insights

from a social psychological perspective. Journal of Counseling, 56(1), 32-43.


Researchers describe the many different internal stigmas a GLBT individual might

experience. Some of these stigmas include obsessing about the possible

occurrence of a hate crime or believing in negative stereotypes as true about the

self. In fact, this study attempts to reveal whether or not these stigmas cause

GLBT individuals to feel badly about themselves. As Herek et al. points out,

many beliefs play a role in creating these stigmas like the heterosexual

assumption. The heterosexual assumption is when the consensus seems to be

that everyone is heterosexual in a specific environment such as the workplace.

GLBT individuals develop negative stigmas that they internalize in response to

these stereotypical beliefs. For example, a GLBT person, in response to the

heterosexual assumption, might perceive that it is unacceptable to be GLBT.

Consequently, GLBT individuals develop negative self-concepts. I hope that

this article reveals to me many more beliefs, like the heterosexual assumption,

which develop negative stigmas and self-concepts among the GLBT community.

Herek, G.M., et al. (1999). Psychological sequelae of hate-crime victimization among

Lesbian, gay, bisexual adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,

67(6), 945-951. doi:10.1037/0022-006x.67.6.945

In this article, researchers compare hate crimes to nonbiased crimes. The victims

of hate crimes report higher levels of depression, anger, anxiety, and

posttraumatic stress. Further, hate crimes are less likely than nonbiased crimes to

be reported to the police. The source of the hate crime, being GLBT, does not go

away. Yet the source for many criminal victimization crimes, such as wearing

gold during a public event, can be avoided in the future. Therefore, the trauma a

GLBT individual experiences after enduring a hate crime could remain constant,

because they cannot avoid being GLBT. Eventually, these constant worries and

concerns can overpower the GLBT individual’s sense of self. Because sexual

prejudice is still widely accepted, the GLBT community is vulnerable to the

psychological effects of hate crime victimization. Present society still feeds the

GLBT community the message that they deserve to be victimized. I hope this

article provides me with some specific examples of how hate crimes cause the

GLBT community to experience trauma more severely than those who experience

nonbiased crimes. I would like to make connections between this article and the

other articles I have chosen that discuss hate crimes and self-concepts among the

GLBT communities.

Letellier, P. (2009). Transactions: A transgender news update. Lesbian News, 34(10).

Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database.

Patrick Letellier describes a hate crime committed against a transwoman. She was

murdered by her boyfriend after she revealed to him that she once was a man.

According to this article, many transwomen have been killed this way. Most of

the perpetrators, in Turkey and the U.S., have received reduced sentences on the

notion that when they were first told about the true identity of their lovers, they

instantly experienced uncontrollable panic. The government of these countries

has been accused of helping these hate crimes to persist. In California, there have

been court rulings that allow birth certificate changes, namely change in gender

identity, for those born in the state. These types of rulings are necessary in order

to protect the GLBT community from hate crimes. One glance at a birth

certificate could mean one more dead. I hope this article, along with

others like it, provide me with a deeper look into the personal experiences that

GLBT individuals have had with hate crimes. Further, this article will provide me

with a deeper understanding of how court rulings influence the day to day lives of

GLBT persons.

Levitt, H. M., et al. (2009). Balancing Dangers: GLBT experience in a time of anti-

GLBT legislation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(1), 67-81.


Heidi Levitt et al. attempts to determine the level of minority stress GLBT

individuals experience as a result of living in a society that is currently supporting

anti-GLBT legislation. She examines the GLBT experience of minority stress by

comparing their stress to Harrell’s six types of racism-related stress. Further, she

and other researchers conduct a qualitative study in order to reveal how GLBT

individuals perceive the anti-GLBT legislation and society. During this study, the

researchers ask the subjects many open-ended questions in order to elicit the true

thoughts and feelings of the GLBT community. The responses the GLBT

subjects provide clearly reveal that the anti-GLBT legislation influences them to

feel alienated. They struggle with feelings of personal inadequacy as a result of

being dehumanized. I really hope this article helps me to make connections

between the traumatic feelings GLBT individuals experience in response to hate

crimes and the feelings they experience in response to an anti-GLBT legislation and anti-GLBT society.

Rostosky, S. S., et al. (2008). Marriage amendments and psychological distress in

lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(1),

56-66. doi:10.1037/a0013609

Sharon Rostosky and other researchers examine whether marriage amendments

impact the level of minority stress and psychological distress the GLBT person

experiences. They conclude that the GLBT individuals living in states that

have passed marriage amendments do experience higher levels of minority stress

and psychological distress. The authors then go on to explain the different types

of amendments that have taken place. For example, in June of 2008, forty-five

states refused to recognize civil marriage. In this study, researchers provided

participants with an online survey, which asked them questions about how many

times they experienced negative messages through the media about being GLBT. They were asked to rate their answers on a scale between 0-5, etc. Therefore, this

study attempts to determine the influence of an anti-GLBT legislation

quantitatively rather than qualitatively. In the course of my research, this study

will probably help me to perceive the GLBT experience quantitatively also.

Further, there is important information contained within this article about the

marriage amendments, which helps me to further understand the thoughts and

feelings the GLBT community might be living as a result of these anti-GLBT


Silver, D. (2009). The Cruelty of Expectation. Lesbian News, 34(10). Retrieved from

Academic Search Premier Database.

Diane Silver discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and its many effects

on the GLBT community. She begins by providing a real life example. Tan, a

nonpermanent U.S. resident, faces deportation, because she is not permitted to marry her lover. Further, she will be removed from her family and the one she loves. If she was permitted to marry, all of this could be prevented. She could then receive permanent residency as a U.S. citizen. Silver then explains many other difficulties the GLBT community faces, because Congress has not yet changed these acts. Along with the GLBT community, entire families are suffering as a result of DOMA. Parents are losing jobs and homes. Silver says that Obama should fulfill his promise and Congress should act. I believe this article will help me to see the world through the eyes of the GLBT community, because it provides specific examples of how DOMA is negatively impacting their lives.

Strickland, Bonnie R. (1995). Research on sexual orientation and human development:

A commentary. Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 137-140.


The development of sexual orientation is thought to have many influences.

In this article, Bonnie Strickland suggests that sexual orientation develops as a

result of genetic, prenatal, and environmental factors. She says that gender

identity develops early and is quite difficult to transform. She then goes on and

gives specific examples of these early childhood characteristics. For example,

homosexual adult women report being tomboyish as children, such as playing

sports and engaging in competitive behavior. Homosexual adult men frequently

report the opposite. They typically report that they did not play sports as children

or engage in competitive activity. This is only one example of the many she

provides. Overall, GLBT individuals, along with their children, tend to be

emotionally healthy. I feel that this article, and others like it, will help me

discover whether GLBT individuals are born as GLBT or develop GLBT

characteristics overtime as a product of their environment.

Wright, Ellen. (2005). Report shows sexual orientation is second leading category of

bias crimes. Lesbian News, 30(6). Retrieved from Academic Search Premier


Ellen Wright provides statistics comparing the amount of hate crimes each

minority group experiences. GLBT crimes are rated the second highest category,

with racial crimes being the first. Yet in 2003, six GLBT murders were reported,

whereas four racial murders were reported. However, these statistics only

resemble a small number of the actual amount of hate crimes reported, because

these reports were only taken from eleven different regions across the country. In

fact, the FBI continues to undercount the actual number of GLBT crimes

reported, even though in actuality they have only increased. Further, they do not

collect any statistics on transgender people. Wright stresses that with the increase

of GLBT visibility, the FBI needs to accurately record these crimes. The public,

especially the GLBT

Today I was at work and held a very interesting discussion with a coworker of mine who is lesbian.  She informed me of many different sites I can research for information on the struggles of the GLBT community of the 21st century.  A few of the sites she named were: about.com,  lmbdalegal.com, hrc.com, and phillypride.com.  I will definitely visit these sites in the course of my research.  It was very exciting to talk with her.  I felt the enthusiasm of my topic spring forth as if developing a schema of its own within my brain.  As she told me about her personal experiences of discrimination, I began to understand and connect more extensively with the experience of qualitative research.  I believe investigating information qualitatively rather than quantitatively will open doors for me objective science could not possibly do.  In fact, it is for this reason that I have decided to interview any member of the GLBT community willing to be interviewed, because I want to hear and feel the rawness of this community glide through me.  I want to know the thoughts, concerns, and feelings of these people upfront. 

After telling my coworker my topic today, within a moment she went from being a shrewish mess to being a gregarious speaker.  Her passion for the subject began to simmer through her flustered expression as I told her I was heterosexual, which suggested to me that she has a preconceived notion that heterosexuals are not advocates for the GLBT community.  I want to know what has caused her to develop this and other notions about the heterosexual community.  I want to know why I have worked with this girl for over a year now and today was the first time she told me, after I told her about my research topic, she is lesbian.  I want to know why, as she mentioned, if she joins in a civil union she cannot receive the rights of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if a problem arises at home in the family.  I also want to know how this issue, and the many other legislative and institutionalized faces of GLBT discrimination, make her feel.  I propose to research these questions about the GLBT community and many more.

In my first blog on this topic, I compared the discrimination that the GLBT community endures today to the witch trials of the middle ages.  I really do feel that the same mentality that once said, “Get her! Hang her!  She is a witch!” is the same mentality that denies the GLBT community equal opportunity today.  It boggles my mind that the words “the bible says” is still part of our language, which to me sounds quite archaic.  In her article, “Balancing Dangers: GLBT Experience in a Time of Anti-GLBT Legislation,” Heidi M. Levitt et al. (2009) says, “Conservative evangelical groups have been some of the most ardent advocates and activists in favor of the initiatives, and the rise of political conservatism in the United States seems to have coincided with increasing interest in banning gay marriage.”  I propose to research the GLBT community, because I want to know why gay marriage has been banned.  I want to know why human beings still justify legal discrimination?  I want to know how these current conditions of lunacy influence minority stress to manifest among the GLBT community.  In what shapes and sizes does minority stress reveal itself within the GLBT community?  What emotional and physical health problems are occurring among the GLBT community?

I already recruited my first subject for an interview, a coworker of mine, Todd, who is gay.  I asked him today at work if he would be interested in engaging in an interview with me on the GLBT community.  He wrote me a note that said, “Sure, I’d be glad to but understand I am not the average homosexual male.  Still sounds fun.”  I chuckled as I read this note, because I realized this is another reason I chose to do my research topic on the GLBT community.  I want to know what the difference is between the average homosexual male and the unique homosexual male.  Overall, the GLBT community and their current struggles with legal discrimination really fascinate me.  I look forward to being an advocate in their corner, helping them fight for the rights they deserve.  As Ellen Degeneres says in the clip I attached to my first blog, GLBT individuals are not second-class citizens.  They are humans, spiritually endowed with a holy perception that is their own within ours, and they deserve to be accepted and loved by all.

On his show, “The Awful Truth,” Michael Moore has a large bus designed that he calls The Sodomobile.  In the sodomobile, him and numerous homosexuals follow a religious group, Rev. Fred Phelps and his followers, because they are harassing grieving families that have lost GLBT family members to aids or vicious hate crimes.  Rev. Phelps and his group show up at the funerals of these families, and while the families publicly mourn, him and his religious group hold up signs that say things like, “Fags Burn in Hell, Thank God for Aids, God Still Hates Fags, and Fags Die. God Laughs.”  They even have children hold up these signs while yelling hateful obscenities.  Will this behavior help end the hate crimes of children attacking or killing other children for being GLBT?  Absolutely not!  If there is a God, do I believe It hates?  Absolutely not!  I attached the Sodomobile video by Michael Moore, which is definitely worth watching.  He makes a joke out of this religious group, because it is a joke.  In my opinion, cavemen were more evolved than these folks.  Also, Ellen Degeneres discusses a hate crime committed by a child in the video I attached to my first blog.  She explains why the adults of our nation need to change in order to prevent children from murdering children in the future.  It too is a very interesting video and definitely worth watching.