Date of Graduation

Spring 5-17-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Human Rights Education (HRE)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Dr. Manuel Alejandro Pérez


The goal of this study is to explore the experiences of self-identified queer female high school students in relation to experiences with their peers related to sexuality. Through semi-structured interviews, the three participants of this study poured out anecdotes of coming out, and sexuality-related common or unique interactions with peers. Additionally, the participants shared their perspectives surrounding the ways peers have supported and/or marginalized them based on their sexuality. Queer feminist theory is engaged to explore the intersectional experiences of the queer female participants as they recount stories of coming out to classmates, supportive friendships, and daily exposure to homophobic language. Resilience theory is used to highlight the successful development of coping mechanisms that have built the participants’ confidence in their identity as non-heterosexual young people and resilience against the overt and subtle experiences of homophobia surrounding them within their high school context. Pushing back against studies focused solely upon marginalization, this study considers the positive experiences of support and love from peers as essential to painting a complete picture of life as a queer female student at this particular San Francisco Bay Area high school.