Questioning "Questioning" as a Sexual Identity and Label : An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis
Austen, Julie M.
Sexual or gender minorities often experience poorer health and mental outcomes than their heterosexually-identified or cisgender peers. Among those often included as sexual or gender minorities are those who identify as questioning; however, little is known about this population, due in part to a dearth of research. Among researchers and the LGBTQ+ community, Questioning has many definitions that further complicate the current understanding of the populations. This qualitative study explored the meaning and lived experience of emerging adults who self-identified as Questioning. The researcher used an interpretive phenomenological framework to inform the study design. Participants were ten emerging adults who resided in both rural and metropolitan areas of a southeastern state Two major themes that emerged from the study were the meaning of Questioning and the role of experience. Data revealed three sub-groups of participants who shared perspectives on the Meaning of Questioning: Those who used Questioning as their sexual identity, those who used the label of Questioning as an alternate sexual orientation label, and those who believed that questioning was part of a non-questioning sexual identity that was bisexual or asexual. The role of experience, a second major theme, involved attraction, sexual, and relational experience and served as a necessary component in understanding participants' sexual identity or use of Questioning as a label. Subthemes that emerged from the data included participants' desire for experience, perspectives of the need for, or use of, information gained from experience, and difficulty attaining experience. Contextual variables, such as implicit and explicit social messages, biphobia, geographical constraints, and religious values were important in understanding participants' stories and voices. This study enabled the researcher to affirm and expand upon commonly recognized meanings of questioning are both solidified and expanded. The implications of findings those who work with emerging adults who identify as Questioning are to explore actively what Questioning means to them and to provide opportunities to explore sexual identity.
Austen, Julie M.. (January 2014). Questioning "Questioning" as a Sexual Identity and Label : An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4501.)
Austen, Julie M.. Questioning "Questioning" as a Sexual Identity and Label : An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Doctoral Dissertation. East Carolina University, January 2014. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4501. May 15, 2021.
Austen, Julie M., “Questioning "Questioning" as a Sexual Identity and Label : An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis” (Doctoral Dissertation., East Carolina University, January 2014).
Austen, Julie M.. Questioning "Questioning" as a Sexual Identity and Label : An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis [Doctoral Dissertation]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2014.
East Carolina University