Date of Award

5-4-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Eric R. Wright

Second Advisor

Dr. Rosalind Chou

Third Advisor

Dr. Mathew Gayman

Abstract

Black queer experiences with alcohol use are largely still underrepresented in the sociological study of substance use. Available research indicates Black/African-American queer women are drinking at higher prevalence rates than white queer women. However, little is known about the relationships Black/African-American queer women (and non-binary AFAB people) form and maintain with alcohol. Even less is known about how relationships are formed and maintained over time. This dissertation attempts to center the relationships that Black/African-American queer women and non-binary people have with alcohol through a conceptual model that bridges anti-racist, queer, and medical sociology theoretical frameworks. Eighteen semi-structured, in-depth interviews were collected in an attempt to contextualize the lived experiences of Black/African-American queer women and non-binary people. Within these eighteen interviews, three major themes emerged. The themes include: 1) origin stories and first times drinking alcohol, 2) gay bars as white space, and 3) embodied control with alcohol. Overall, these interviews provide a unique perspective to how relationships are formed to alcohol, as well as supporting the possibility of a future rooted in harm reduction strategies.

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