In the past three decades, gays and lesbians have become more assertive in expressing their rights within American society. Being gay comes as a source of pride for some, while being a social stigma for others. Though people who identify as LGBTQ are gaining legal rights and protection, they are still subject to discriminatory laws and social intolerance. Those who hold negative attitudes towards gays and lesbians are likely to have less likely to have interpersonal communication with them. This is because of the existence of negative attitudes, in addition to the anti-gay violence and harassment that some LGBTQ people continue to suppress their sexual orientation. Being someone who identifies as LGBTQ, it is important to me that people are educated about the problems that are commonly neglected in terms of interpersonal communication between homosexuals and heterosexuals and how these problems coincide with the vast amount of LGBTQ homeless youth there are in America.
Communication accommodation theory and conflict management skills are the most applicable to theories of LGBTQ homelessness. Communication accommodation theory is the theory that all people adapt their behavior to others to some extent. People who adapt to others appropriately and sensitively are more likely to experience positive communication. This does not mean they tell people what they want to hear or adapt their behavior to get what they want, rather they are aware of what their partner is doing or saying, especially in the instance of differing sexuality. Though this may seem like common sense to some, being sensitive and empathetic to others is not necessarily a readily accessible skill.
Coming out to heterosexual family or peers is either a constructive or destructive conflict. Constructive conflict helps build new insights and establishes patterns in a relationship. It focuses attention on what is important to you and your partner, helps you learn more, and clarifies who you are and what your values are. This is an example of an LGBTQ person coming out and being accepted by the other person, thus making a more satisfying interpersonal relationship. Destructive conflict dismantles a relationship rather than strengthening it. This is an example of a LGBTQ person coming out and being rejected by the other person because they do not adhere to the communication accommodation theory, thus causing strain in the relationship.
3. Introduction/Statement of Problem:
Homelessness of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth is a largely understudied problem in the United States of America. LGBTQ youth represent a diverse population that reaches the streets for a variety of reasons and who’s numbers have grown in recent decades. Upwards of 20 percent of homeless youths identify to be LGBTQ. This is because they face the obstacle of survival on the streets as well as the stigma of sexual minority group membership (Cochran 773). For many youths, social...