Sexual Identity Development Essay

1184 words - 5 pages

D’Augelli’s Model of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Development

There are several theorists that have presented models on sexual identity development. Many of the models have stages of sexual identity development suggesting that certain characteristics are present during a specific period. However, Anthony D’Augelli presents a model that suggests processes rather than stages. These processes take place over the span of one’s life and not necessarily in any specific order or fashion. D’Augelli’s (1994a) life span model of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) identity development takes into account “the complex factors that influence the development of people in context over historical time” (Evans et al, 2010). According to D’Augelli’s (1994) theory, identity formation includes three sets of interrelated variables that are involved in identity formation: personal actions and subjectivities, interactive intimacies, and sociohistorical connections. Personal subjectivities and actions include individuals’ perceptions and feelings about their sexual identities as well as actual sexual behaviors and the meanings attached to them. Interactive intimacies include the influences of family, peer group, and intimate partnerships and the meanings attached to experiences with significant others. Sociohistorical connections are defined as the social norms, policies and laws found in various geographical locations and cultures, as well as the values existing during particular historical periods (Evans et al, 2010).
According to D’Augelli (1994), the development of a LGB identity in society takes place through a series of non-linear phases of development, each phase reflecting a deeper level of personal understanding and a new relationship with the surrounding community. D’Augelli’s (1994a) model encompasses six interactive processes involved in lesbian, gay, and bisexual identity development:
• Exiting heterosexual identity
• Developing a personal lesbian/gay/bisexual identity status
• Developing a lesbian/gay/bisexual social identity
• Becoming a lesbian/gay/bisexual offspring
• Developing a lesbian/gay/bisexual intimacy status
• Entering a lesbian/gay/bisexual community
These six phases represent a fluid process that changes over time depending on the development and experiences of each individual (D’Augelli, 1994). “The exiting heterosexual identity process requires a realization that one’s feelings and attractions are not heterosexual as well as informing others that one is lesbian, gay or bisexual. Developing a personal LGB identity status involves determining for oneself the unique meaning being gay lesbian or bisexual will have in one’s life. Developing an LGB social identity consists of creating a support network of people who know and accept one’s sexual orientation. Becoming an LGB offspring involves disclosing one’s identity to parents and redefining one’s relationship after such disclosure. Developing an LGB intimacy status is the process of...

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