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“That's What Google Is For”: How Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Young Adults Use Technology to Navigate Family Relationships

“That's What Google Is For”: How Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Young Adults Use Technology to Navigate Family Relationships
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Author(s): Tyler Ross Flockhart (Viterbo University, USA) and Sinikka Elliott (University of British Columbia, Canada)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 17
Source title: Research Anthology on Inclusivity and Equity for the LGBTQ+ Community
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3674-5.ch026

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Abstract

Through in-depth interviews, this chapter examines the ways 25 LGB young adults (18-35 years old) used digital technologies as they do emotion work to preserve relationships with heterosexual parents. Findings demonstrate that, with the aid of technology (especially texting, Skyping, social media, YouTube, television, and various informational websites), LGB young adults engaged in personal and interpersonal forms of “preventive” and “palliative” emotion work. The former's aim was to prevent noxious feelings and the latter to preserve familial relationships despite emotional pain. These forms of emotion work allowed LGBs to maintain relationships with their parents, but by privileging the emotional wellbeing of heterosexual parents above those of LGBs. The authors conclude by suggesting that digital technology can be a dual-edged sword. Access to these technologies may allow LGBs to connect with queer communities and to obtain information about queerness, yet utilizing these technologies as a way to preserve familial relationships was an adaptation to--rather than disruption of--heterosexism and homophobia.

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