Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Susan Jurow

Second Advisor

Karen Tracy

Third Advisor

Michele Moses

Fourth Advisor

Geoff Cohen

Fifth Advisor

Ben Kirshner


Despite the societal and legal progress of the gay rights movement in the last two decades, the negative impacts of society's marginalization of gay and lesbian people are many and widespread. Opportunities for open, respectful dialogue to facilitate greater understanding and reduce prejudice are rare. Scholars and practitioners in educational psychology and adult learning have been slow to consider the role of education in this social justice movement. This study investigated a multi-session facilitated dialogue forum among heterosexual adults on the topics of homosexuality and related social challenges. The mixed-methods approach included a narrative analysis of interactive stories told during the dialogue as well as a pre/post-intervention attitudinal survey. A survey-only comparison group was also used, though quantitative results were limited by small sample size and ceiling effects. Analysis of the narrative, including case studies of two individual dialogue participants, revealed evidence of in-progress shifting of perspectives around this topic driven by socially situated reflective discourse. The study forges new theoretical, methodological, and practical ground in the linkages it makes among concepts from transformational adult learning, social psychology, narrative inquiry, dialogue practice, and LGBT studies.