Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Martha Copp

Committee Members

Kelly Foster, Leslie McCallister


People pursuing LGBTQ+ rights in the United States have faced triumphs and setbacks over time but now face equality-restricting legislation in several regions. Previous researchers have studied LGBTQ+ college students and LGBTQ+ identity as a master status, but less on how queer identity competes for salience with other identities. This study uses qualitative and quantitative secondary data on student responses to a university-wide climate survey (n=1699) conducted in the Fall semester of 2022. I analyze LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ student experiences and satisfaction with their school. The quantitative results of this research find that LGBTQ+ students have a markedly different campus experience, while the qualitative results find that student identity takes precedence over gender and sexual identity when assessing East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Data analysis includes personal narratives from LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ students on their college experiences with belongingness, academics, and campus political landscape.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.