Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Robert J. Lynch

Committee Member

Laura E. Smithers


LGBTQ students are ubiquitous on community college campuses across the United States. The exact number of LGBTQ students is unknown and often their needs are ignored. LGBTQ students face harassment and discrimination at higher rates than other minority groups. This study was conducted to gather the current narratives of LGBTQ students attending community colleges in the Appalachian Region. This study aimed to determine what LGBTQ students are experiencing on community college campuses across Appalachia. Fifteen students took part in a one-on-one semi-structured interview for this qualitative study. All students were currently enrolled in a program of study when the interviews took place. The research paradigm utilized was social constructivism, and Queer Theory was the basis of the conceptual framework. This study used narrative coding with the Labovian Model of Analysis. Composite narratives were written, and pseudonyms used to create anonymity for the participants.

The findings of this study indicated students encounter microaggressions in the classroom and in other places around a community college. Nevertheless, the campus is often perceived to be a cultural bubble by students and is perceived as safer than the nearest town or city. Participants stated that the religious views of other students often impact the lives of LGBTQ students. Additionally, participants mentioned politics and how it affected their lives as community college students.


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