Publication Date

Summer 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Blair Thompson (Director), Angela Jerome, Lauren McClain

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Despite advances gained by LGBTQIA+ people the issue of discrimination against the queer population continues. Recent events surrounding comments made by alt-right leaders have continued the conversation regarding homophobia and transphobia. The followed study built on previous understandings of moral disengagement theory and communication. 15 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with queer students were conducted in order to explore the role of self-cognitive mechanisms and their potential justifications for anti-queer communication. Findings suggested that not only were mechanisms of moral disengagement present in incidents surrounding anti-queer communication, but the carried with them a range of personal and societal implications. This study offered new understandings in moral disengagement theory, its application to interpersonal communication and its possible explanation for discriminatory behavior.


Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Social Psychology and Interaction