Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Holly A. Foster

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Tyrone Jackson

Committee Member 4

Dr. Thomas V. O'Brien

Committee Member 4 School



Throughout the twentieth century, the Gay Rights Movement has gained momentum as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) individuals have fought for civil equality and social acceptance. However, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been slow to adapt, implement, and effect change that improves the quality of education for LGBTQ students. Strong religious beliefs derived from the church; especially in the South, may be the connection to understanding why homosexuality isn’t vastly accepted or celebrated in the Black Community and at HBCUs; particularly, in the Bible Belt.

Thus, this phenomenological qualitative study, guided by the theory of care framework, explores the lived experiences of 10 LGBTQ students at HBCUs in the Bible Belt. Campus resources, programs, and activities in support of a diverse and inclusive environment wherein LGBTQ students are supported provide powerful instruments for change within the higher education environment. Participants are interviewed to gain in-depth knowledge of their experiences as LGBTQ students in a HBCU campus climate to improve college policies, procedures, and practices toward LGBTQ students.

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