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Running head: Culturual Immersion b

Cultural Immersion Assignment 2


Jeremy D. Williams
Georgia State University

Culturual Immersion b

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Abstract

In this paper I discuss the lesbian culture and the different meanings and ways in which
the culture and society that a person lives in can dramatically change how they are viewed in
society. The role that media plays in shaping our lives is taken into account as well seeing as this
is an instrumental force in shaping peoples opinion in the current time period. This paper also
details a cultural immersion experience that helped me to immerse myself in the culture of this
particular subordinate group and define its membership and what that membership may mean as
far as consequences to the people who are labeled as such.

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Cultural Immersion Assignment 2
Before the interview

Before the interview with Brittany there was little to no knowledge concerning this
particular group in specific. All that came to mind when the word lesbian was spoken was the
image of a woman with similarities very similar to the heteronormative guy, in particular the
heteronormative black male. This includes the baggy urban clothing as well as the gold jewelry
and low haircuts. This stereotype along with many others would soon be shattered, along with all
preconceived notions of what it means to be a lesbian in America. The individual who was
interviewed was Brittany a 28 year old black woman who was going back to school to finish her
degree and finally become a doctor.
The Interview
When asked to describe herself in terms of her being a part of the LGBT Brittany described
herself as a African American woman who just so happens to like women. Brittany came from a
deeply religious household where her father was a pastor and she was the middle child of four.
She lived in the suburbs in a two parent household in Connecticut where she are her parents
never struggled economically or socially. When asked to describe her coming out story she
described it with a sense if deep sadness as well as fondness. From an early age Brittany knew
that she liked girls and so it was no surprise that she found herself in a lesbian relationship at the
age of seventeen. In her words she was dragged out of the closet instead of coming out of her
own will due to her parents snooping in her room and finding a letter she had written to her then
girlfriend. This caused her to be disowned by her father and mother and kicked out. For years she
suffered through time periods of homelessness, hunger, and the ongoing threat of sexual assault
while through the first years. This was not a surprising fact at all seeing as date from the Federal

Culturual Immersion b

Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicated that in 2013 there were 1461 victims targeted due to
sexual orientation bias (FBI, 2013). She described her relationship till this day with her parents
as strenuous as best due to her parents conflict with their faith and her sexual orientation.
Surprisingly enough when asked what words are used to describe her in the lesbian community
she describes herself as having no label. She says I say no label because as much as I love
women there is a chance that a guy could come along and sweep me off my feet. She went on to
however say however that many in the community would describe her as a stud or The
woman who is dominant in the relationship. They usually dress like men and are obviously
lesbians. The opposite of a stud according to her is a fem or the woman in the relationship
who adheres to more traditional women standards of dress and speech and appearance. It should
be noted however the special position studs hold in society. Pascoe (2007) found the
following:
Their interactional style, choice of sports, and favorite music and clothing all drew upon
those present in hip-hop culture. Like boys identied with hip-hop, they were vaulted to
popularity. However, they did not embody the threat of African American maleness. (p. 132)
When asked if she has experienced discrimination at work because of her sexual
orientations she stated that she had but not but she had noticed gay guys suffer what she thought
might be discrimination. When asked if gay guys are lesbians were more accepted in society she
quickly responded of course lesbians. When she was questioned about why this might be she had
no explanation. According to Rich (1980) pornography has reduced women to objects without
individual meaning or personalityessentially as a sexual commodity to be consumed by males.
This renders the lesbian existence harmless, or even erotic, while branding gay male
relationships as deviant or other.

Culturual Immersion b

In Hindsight
This interview was a shock to say the least. Going in there wasnt much prior knowledge about
the lesbian community. There was some apprehension about the interview so to alleviate some of
the possible tension the plan was to spend time together and build up a relationship. According to
Lum (2011) The establishment of the relationship between the social worker and the
multicultural client is basic to the contact stage. (p. 189). This was very effective seeing as she
seemed far more relaxed when it came time for the interview than she did in the beginning. The
compensation for the interview was delivered in the form of buying coffee and donuts for her
while the interview progressed. The interview was overall quite wonderful, the pace and tone of
the interview flowed like a conversation between friends because of the prior contact beforehand.
One question asked during the interview prompted a profound yet simple response from her.
When asked what she would suggest future Social Workers do to familiarize themselves with this
particular marginalized population she stated simply The only way for people to understand the
struggles we go through is by treating us like human beings and just listening to our story with a
compassionate ear. The idea of humanizing one another may prove to be the right course of
action to take we see this even in the first level of professional self-disclosure suggested by
Doman Lum. According to Lum (2000), Self-disclosure about common areas of interest to
humanize the relationship and to establish a sense of openness with the client, usually at the first
session as a point of contact. This can serve to greatly increase the effectiveness of Social
Workers when working with this marginalized group and addressing the unique problem they
face.

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Refrences

(2014, November 18). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from https://www.fbi.gov/aboutus/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2013/topic-pages/victims/victims_final


Lum, D. (2000). Social work practice & people of color: A process-stage approach (4th ed.).
Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Pub
Lum, D. (2011). Culturally competent practice: A framework for understanding diverse groups
and justice issues (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Pascoe, C. (2007). Dude, you're a fag: Masculinity and sexuality in high school. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
Rich, A. (n.d.). Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (1980). Journal of Women's
History.