Date of this Version
Morrissette, Madison. Experiences of the Queer Community Following the 2016 Election. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. May 2020.
After the 2016 presidential elections, the discourse and proposed policies concerning rights for marginalized and underrepresented groups likely created a great deal of anxiety and stress for the queer community. As such, the purpose of the current study was to uncover the nature of these stressors and, perhaps most importantly, the manner in which members of the queer community coped post-2016 election. The following research questions were put forth: “How does the queer community successfully cope with stressors and anxieties related to the 2016 election?”, “How much has the experience of anxiety changed among queer populations following the 2016 election?”, “What are the objects of queer individuals’ anxieties related to the 2016 election?”, “How have queer individuals’ anxieties related to the 2016 election manifested?”, “How have queer individuals positively coped with anxieties related to the 2016 election?”, “What actions should others avoid when comforting a queer person experiencing anxieties related to the 2016 elections?”, and “What would queer individuals like to see mental health practitioners do to assist with easing their anxieties?”
Using a thematic analysis of qualitative survey data, I determined queer individuals experienced a significant increase in anxieties following the 2016 election. They experience anxieties about the visibility of threats, material policy change, and fear for others. They face concerned regarding personal safety, family interactions, procedural change, and visibility of anti-queer sentiment. They cope positively through reassurances, examples of positive change, camaraderie, and avoidance. When comforting a queer person experiencing anxieties related to the 2016 election, one should avoid invalidating statements. Mental health professionals should consider an increased awareness of these anxieties, the provision of social support, and an increase in political knowledge.