On May 11, 2022, Dr. Holt presented his capstone presentation as part of his thesis defense for his MA degree in Sexuality. You can listen to the 30 minute presentation, which includes Q & A by clicking here.
Title: The Impact of Rural Geography on Sexual Identity
Abstract: Queer people are historically at higher risk for health disparities due to many factors. The coming out process can be a positive factor to help mitigate some of these negative health outcomes. The question arises whether queer individuals from rural areas have less access to essential information and support needed to facilitate the healthy integration of their identity. This research therefore explores constituent aspects of information and support that influence the coming out process for rural young adults from the central Midwest. An anonymous online survey was administered, with 45 completed surveys collected. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The survey found that participants’ outness and coming out experiences were negatively influenced by a lack of support and negative religious experiences. However, being from a larger hometown population was protective against some of these negative influences. Further research should focus on those people who do not yet openly self-identify as members of the queer community but who may be struggling in the early phases of self-recognition and acceptance. Future research should also explore in more detail how queer youth are impacted by the cultural effects which emanate from religious institutions