Women Who Love Women in Jamaica

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Women Who Love Women in Jamaica

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Jamaica, known to its locals as the land of milk and honey, is also perceived as the most homonegative country in the world. Even though there is no research substantiating this claim, it is still a largely held belief by many people. The purpose of this study is to initiate a line of inquiry into the lives of women-who-love-women, a topic that is often neglected and silenced in Jamaica for a variety of reasons. The current study explores the lived experiences of women-who-love-women in Jamaica. Specifically, it investigates the phenomenon of homonegativity on the lives of women-who-love-women. Using post-intentional phenomenology as a methodological framework, I examined data from four self-identified Jamaican women-who-love-women to better understand the nuances and complexities of their daily lives. Post-intentional phenomenology allowed me to look at glimpses in the lives of these women to see slithers of the tentative manifestations of their lives. Data collection tools included written memories, interviews, participants’ reflections on two Jamaican dancehall songs, and my post-reflexive journal entries. I discovered tentative manifestations into the lives of these women that revealed how they operate daily with care, hope, fear, and a multitude of productive tension-filled emotions in a land permeated with homonegative attitudes. I analyzed data using Thinking with theory, a framework designed by Jackson and Mazzei (2012) that assumes data is partial, incomplete, and always being re-told and re-remembered. Thinking with theory allowed me to plug theoretical concepts into the data to see what new understandings could be produced. I also inserted the data into the theoretical concepts to garner varying interpretations. I ‘plugged in’ Ahmed (2006), Bulter (1990), and Lorde’s (2012) concepts of orientation, performativity, and the erotic as power to open up the phenomenon that I studied. This allowed me to explore varying perspectives of the lived experiences of women-who-love-women in Jamaica to see glimpses of their lives in its multiple, partial, and fleeting ways. This study has implications for policy makers, teaching, and learning.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Lori Helman. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 165 pages.

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Martin-Kerr, Keitha-Gail. (2016). Women Who Love Women in Jamaica. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/182792.

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