Date of Award

August 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Erin Parcell

Committee Members

Sarah Riforgiate, Lisa Bradford, Mike Allen


Coming Out, Communication theory of Resilience, LGBT, Military, Qualitative Interviews, Sexuality


The U.S. Military has 1.9 million individuals serving across five branches, and official policy permits anyone to serve regardless of sexuality (Council on Foreign Relations, 2020). Despite the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), the culture of the U.S. military remains unfriendly to Lesbian and Gay service members (McNamara et al., 2021b), which influences service members’ decisions to disclose sexuality or be “out” in the military (Evans et al., 2019; McNamara et al., 2021a). Lesbian and Gay service members are situated in a heteronormative and masculine culture in the U.S. military and as a result experience disruptions that may necessitate the enactment of resilience. Using the communication theory of resilience (CTR) this study identified post coming-out (in the military) triggers experienced by Lesbian and Gay service members and their communicative responses to such triggers that enact resilience. Through qualitative interviews (n = 12) this study’s findings illustrate the heteronormative culture experienced by LG service members and challenges they face related to their sexuality. This study also identified five communication processes of affirming identity anchors, maintain, and use communication networks, use alternative logics, and finally legitimize negative feelings and engage in positive actions.

Included in

Communication Commons