The management of LGBTQ+ identities on social media: A student perspective

Catherine V Talbot*, Amelia Talbot, Danielle J Roe, Pam Briggs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Social media can be used to both enhance and diminish students’ experiences of university and its influence is strong for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and other non-heterosexual and gender-diverse (LGBTQ+) people facing stigma and discrimination. Students may feel exposed when identifying as LGBTQ+, particularly while transitioning to university life. In this study, we used theories of performance and digital personhood to explore how LGBTQ+ students use social media for identity management. We report a thematic analysis of 16 interviews. Four themes were generated from the data, showing that students use social media to explore, conceal, protect and express their identities. We found that different social media provide stages where LGBTQ+ identities are constrained by different and distinctive social factors. Thus, LGBTQ+ students’ online identities are multiple, situated and bound to specific platforms, with some alternatives to Facebook offering a space where students may feel more comfortable performing their authentic selves.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1461444820981009
Number of pages22
JournalNew Media Society
Early online date17 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2020

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