For decades, psychologists conducted research comparing same-gender parenting couples to different-gender parenting couples, finding “no difference.” However, they were really investigating the claim that same-gender parents wouldn’t provide their children the proper development that straight parents would. In more recent years, researchers have been finding that there are differences, and almost all of them seem to show that there are benefits to having same-gender parents. No psychologists have provided a halfway decent explanation for these differences.
This research piqued my interest, and I wanted to investigate the “why?” I was originally going to be doing semi-structured interviews with same-gender and different-gender parenting couples, asking them about their views on parenting and building a family, and then I would compare the data. This was already a large undertaking for several reasons, and then our beloved psychology professor, Teo, announced he would be leaving Antioch. Teo was going to supervise the project, and offered to give limited supervision anyway, despite his relocation. We modified the plan to try and accommodate, but my co-op professor Beth Bridgeman suggested that I at least get in touch with Brooke Blackmon Bryan, who is, among her many other roles, dean of cooperative education.
Brooke offered to supervise my project, but emphasized that she is not a psychologist. This had different meanings for the project. Brooke said we could keep the project as is, but also offered to help me tie it in with the Antiochiana archival project, turning it into an oral history project that I could then come back to and use as data for my future senior project. I decided to go ahead and change the project slightly to fit with Antiochiana, so that I would instead be interviewing LGBTQ+ Antioch alumni about their experiences, and how Antioch and its culture affected them as LGBTQ+ individuals.
Antiochiana includes the archives and “special collections” of Antioch’s history, and this project will make up a small but important part of those archives. I’ve been emailing, direct messaging, and calling LGBTQ+ alumni over the last month, and I finally got to do my first interview last Friday. The questions cover everything from their early life before coming to Antioch, to their experiences on campus, their experiences on co-op, and how it affects them beyond graduation, if at all. What I’m really curious about is whether or not being a part of such a (sometimes) radically progressive campus has a positive impact on us as LGBTQ+ people, or if the nay-sayers are right in some ways–that living in what some may call a “bubble” or “echo chamber” does not prepare you for the “real world.” So far, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Brooke helped me draft the questions, and submit the necessary paperwork to the institutional review board (IRB). Soon, I’ll start transcribing the interviews, and all of them will be available indefinitely on the ohla.info repository website. As I mentioned before, I plan to use the interviews as data for my senior project, and I hope that it might be helpful in some way for other future LGBTQ+ research; but it is also my hope that these interviews will provide to others what my first interview has already provided for me–validation, a feeling of connection with those who came before us, and confidence in our ability to bring change, as the next generation of queer people and queer Antiochians.