Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Theodore P. Remley Jr.


The lived experiences of African American lesbians who attended historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have not received sufficient empirical attention; therefore, this study was conducted to understand and describe their experiences. The study followed a qualitative phenomenological approach. The multidimensional identity model, developed by Reyolds and Pope, was used as the framework through which to understand the participants' experiences. Semistructured, 40 to 60-minute interviews were conducted with 6 women who identified as African American lesbians and attended HBCUs. Initial hand and subsequent NVivo coding of interview data led to the development of the following 7 themes: (a) either African American women or African American lesbian, (b) fear of rejection, (c) chosen kin, (d) no benefit of being an African American lesbian at an HBCU, (e) love for the African American community, (f) women who love women, and (g) the road not taken. The findings suggest African American lesbians often shift between identities, depending on the situation or setting. The results of the study provide suggestions for counselors and counselor educators who will be able to increase their understanding of the unique needs of individuals who identify with at least 3 marginalized communities. African American lesbians who attend HBCUs may benefit from this inquiry as HBCUs can use the information in this study to help create and sustain a more inclusive campus environment. Additional implications for social change and future research are included at the end of the study.