Queering Survivorhood




Wolfe, Audrey

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There has been little research conducted in general that explores the impact of sexualized violence on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) youth. There is even more limited qualitative research, and almost none of it from a therapeutic perspective. This led me to engage with the fictionalized stories of LGBTQ youth characters who have survived sexualized violence to learn how these stories might inform the work of helping professionals. This thesis provides a reflexive thematic analysis of three novels written by queer authors. Through the lens of response-based therapy, intersectional feminism, and queer theory, it considers the ways in which the characters are impacted by their experiences with sexualized violence and their responses to it. Findings indicate that the characters were affected by childhood sexual abuse at a time in their lives when their sexual identities were on the cusp of being formed. Their experiences with sexualized violence impacted the ways that the characters learned to live with contradictions; experienced ambivalence in the relationships with the adults who caused them harm; and engaged in small acts of resistance against the impact of sexualized violence in their lives to create futures in which they could thrive. The characters’ experiences with casual sex and sex work are shown as an act of resistance against violence. This research aims to queer the discourses on LGBTQ youth who have experienced sexualized violence, expose the small acts of resistance that they perform against the impacts of sexualized violence, and transform the ways that child and youth care workers, therapists, social workers, and other helpers understand the resilience and experiences of LGBTQ survivors.



sexualized violence, sexual assault, queer theory, intersectional feminism, response-based therapy, reflexive thematic analysis, radical feminism, wild self-care, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, small acts of resistance, child and youth care