Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Document Type


First Advisor

Jeffrey A. Brune

Second Advisor

William T. Ennis


This study looks at the experiences of two groups with intersecting identities: white and Black Deaf lesbians who lived in Washington, DC from the 1980s to the early 2000s, a transformative period for lesbians. During the 1980s, the larger LGBT community united as one to push for recognition. The 1990s brought the lesbian feminist movement, and with it attention towards classism and sexism within the LGBT movement. During this period, the focus of the lesbian community shifted from a white and middle-class movement to a more inclusive one. However, even with this attention and the eventual fracturing of the LGBT movement to recognize these issues, issues of racism and prejudice towards disabled people remained. Groups who claimed intersecting identities felt that not all aspects of their overlapping identities were being recognized. Black and white Deaf lesbians faced prejudice, as well as racism in the case of Black Deaf lesbians. Utilizing an oral history approach, this study explores the common experiences among six white and Black Deaf lesbians with coming out, dating, racial attitudes, passing, and their thoughts on the significance of the Capstone. This project is meant to produce a new framework with which to examine the various experiences of the Black and white Deaf lesbians who were present in the 1980s-1990s.



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