Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Case Model: It's Science

Today were going to talk about science! . . . or at least a scientific theory.

In 1979, a psychologist & sexologist named, Dr. Vivienne Cass, developed a model known as the Case Model, which depicts the stages of gay and lesbian identity development. Of course we know every person is unique in his or her own special way, and so to those who believe in the “box” theory, this model is wrong (both logically and morally). However, there are general characteristic or traits that are common to all people with a similar background. This does not include discriminatory stereotypes; it is more so contingency variables. For example, a CEO of company tends to show good leadership qualities or an only child tends to have a larger imagination. By expanding on this concept and other studies, Dr. Cass was able to identify and clarify six stages that gays and lesbians typically go through when identifying their sexuality. These stages are (1) identity confusion, (2) identity comparison, (3) identity tolerance, (4) indentify acceptance, (5) identity pride, and (6) Identity Synthesis.

Identity confusion is the first step. It is an individual’s first awareness of being gay or lesbian. During this stage, a person tends to be torn apart by their self confusion of “who am I?” Next comes identity comparison - a person begins to accept the possibility of being gay or lesbian. This is debatably considered the weakest point for an individual. Their is a tendency to isolate ones self from others because they perceive themselves as different and therefore strange. An individual than accepts the fact he or she is gay or lesbian when they reach identity tolerance. At this point, an individual become conscious that he or she is not the only one and will pursue other individuals of the same sex. Identity Acceptance is when an individual begins to have a positive attitude towards his identity. Identity pride is when an individual accepts they are gay and enjoys it. They openly talk about being gay and in most cases over exaggerate the difference between gay and straight. They may in fact even feel superior for being gay or lesbian. The final stage is identity synthesis. It is when an individual melts his identity with the rest of his life. Being gay is still an important aspect to their life, but it is not the only aspect.

Most gays or lesbians have gone through this process, however not all. This model is only a generalized one, it does not mean every person who is gay or lesbian has been through each step.

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