DATE: Sunday, September 8, 2013
TIME: 12:30 p.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Frank Armando Sanchez
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Cultural and Religious Messages Leading to Shame in a Gay Man: A Phenomenological Study"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-O; 2005
CHAIR: Dr. Avedis Panajian
READER: Dr. Christy Lewis
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Stephen Winston
Sanchez, F.(2013). Cultural and Religious Messages Leading to Shame in a Gay Man: A Phenomenological Study (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
This study examines a gay man’s experiences of shame from his culture as well as from his religion. The historical influences of past laws, religious rules, medical theory, and thought continue to influence how gay men are perceived in the world today. Perceptions from American culture toward gay sexual orientation affect a child from the moment he is born and follows him into his adult life. The messages of maternal rejection and other experiences of parental repulsion create the shame experience as a psychological trauma that becomes integrated into the psyche of the individuals. At various points in the gay individual’s life the cultural messages reactivate the psychological trauma of shame.
Cultural messages of shame are initiated within the family as a response to the young child who is displaying characteristics of gay sexual orientation. The family holds the cultural meaning of what it is to be identified as gay and usually unconsciously acts out the homophobic response to toward their child.
Five gay men are interviewed about their experiences of shame from their culture, including parental responses, and religious affiliations. A phenomenological approach to this research reveals the participants’ lived experiences from their perspective. The results of this phenomenological study found: a) Effeminate play by a male is rejected and ridiculed by the culture, b) Messages against one’s sexual orientation at an early age from religion increases a sense of difference and rejection burdening the individual to try to conform to the norm of the society, c) Religious messages in adulthood did not appear to increase the individual’s sense of shame, d) Gay men hide aspects of themselves for social acceptance, e) Feelings of isolation and difference continue if the individual does not conform to the social norms of the gay community, and f) A parent’s homophobic attitudes continue to contribute to the gay adult individual’s sense of being undervalued by others.Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.