A Synopsis of my Proposed Research Study
How do Canadian Muslims who identify as gay and lesbian make sense of the development of their identity?
Research Problem and Rationale
Much attention in the research has been paid to the development of
an ethnic identity or a sexualidentity due to the complex processes involved in their individual formation. However, the
of these cultural dimensions is an important area requiring additional research. Moreover, Eurocentricmodels fail to be sensitive to the multiple oppressions facing ethnic minority clients (Bridges, 2003).One example of this is the emphasis placed on disclosure, despite evidence in the literature suggestingthat disclosure can disrupt important alliances within the family and the community for culturallydiverse groups (Dworkin, 2000). Often the pressure is not to come out because the ethnic community ismore homophobic than the dominant culture.
Prior research conducted in North America regarding the intersection of gay and religiousidentities has focused mostly on Jewish and Christian traditions. Minwalla, Simon, Roser, Feldman, &Varga (2005) report that although homosexuality exists within the Islamic faith, they could not find anyacademic studies addressing the experience of integrating gay and Muslim identities.
The purpose of this qualitative study is to develop a grounded theory of identity, based on the approachof Charmaz (2002), development that is based upon research guided by the integration of two majoraspects of an individual’s cultural identity: ethnicity and sexual orientation. More specifically, theprocess of identity development for gay Ismaili Muslims in Canada will be examined. The creation of aculturally sensitive model of sexual identity development would help counsellors to appreciate theunique challenges of gay ethnic minorities. This understanding would facilitate culturally appropriatecounselling approaches and interventions for these individuals.
The research questions will be answered using data mostly obtained from interviews, although otherforms of data may also be collected. For example, data may be collected from participant observation,researcher reflection and journaling (memoing), and participant journaling. Interviews will play acentral role in the data collection and will be semi-structured, audio or video taped, and transcribed.Various types of interviews will be used consisting of face-to-face, e-mail, and telephone interviews.
The participants will be adult gay Ismaili Muslims residing in Canada, targeting Calgary, Vancouver,Toronto, and Montreal. Recruitment will be facilitated through snowball sampling. The researcher hasaccess to this community due to her membership in this cultural group. The project may also beadvertised in the community’s weekly news bulletin.
Objectives and Benefits of the Study
1)Develop a culturally sensitive theoretical model of sexual identity development using Charmaz’sConstructionist Grounded theory?2)Through the interview process, indirectly empower participants in overcoming their challengesin integrating their ethnic and sexual identities.3)Educate the Muslim community on the experience of homosexuality through publication of theresearch results.