Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Israel Aguilar

Second Advisor

Dr. Federico Guerra

Third Advisor

Dr. Melissa Abeyta


Framed by queer theory, this qualitative study seeks to better understand the unique experiences of homophobia that occur amongst Latinx gender and sexually diverse youth (GDSY) in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). Latinx GSDY in the Rio Grande Valley are less likely to be in schools that adopt affirming policies and are therefore more likely to experience homophobia. It is also likely that their social, emotional, physical, and academic wellbeing are impacted negatively. The study collected written journal responses from nine Latinx gender and sexually diverse alumni of RGV schools (including the researcher) that presently serve as community leaders and advocates. Findings suggest that homophobia is experienced as trauma and that participants employed positive trauma responses to confront their experiences. Future research is warranted to understand the role that Latinx intergenerational trauma may play in trauma response for Latinx GDSY in the RGV. Moreover, additional research is needed to develop tailored professional development for RGV educators that identifies and sustains affirming policies and practices that mitigate how Latinx GDSY experience and confront homophobia.


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