Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kathleen Boyle, Stephen Brookfield, Barbara Allen


Using a Scholarly Personal Narrative (SPN) methodology, this study began as an exploration of marriage and its impact on lesbian identity, community, and relationship. What ultimately emerged was a study that considered how living a life excluded from the cultural context of legal marriage prompted learning an ethics of commitment and creating a community and family of choice. Personal story provided perspective and lesbian, feminist, and queer theories provided an initial framework for analysis. In addition, theories of community and relationship informed reflections moving from specific to general. This study is based on the views of one lesbian living and loving, beginning in the closets of the 1970s through the current day of marriage expansion. Marking a moment in civil rights history to legalize same-sex marriage, the study found that lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and queer people, despite current differences about the rationality of pursuing legal marriage, have created love and family throughout their lives. Through personal experiences, many have consequently discovered universal principles about commitment, community, and family even without marriage. Though important and symbolic of broader “acceptance,” a focus on marriage with its social benefits is not enough to achieve full equality and civil rights for sexual minorities. Further lesbian, gay, and queer reflections and interpretations are needed to add to the lessons and ethics of commitment of this lesbian and continue expanding equality within the larger cultures and communities.


lesbian marriage, lesbian identity, lesbian community, lesbian relationship, same-sex marriage, commitment, ethics, relationships, community, families of choice

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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