Finding community and contesting heteronormativity: queer young people's engagement in an Australian online community

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Journal Article
Journal of Youth Studies, 2014, 17 (7), pp. 872 - 886
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This study examines how queer young people in Australia are engaging in an online community to address their marginalisation and oppression. Drawing on an analysis of online forums and in-depth interviews with 14 participants, we use Durkheim's concept of egoism and the social model of disability to analyse the role and impact of the online community. The findings indicate that the community not only provides a sense of belonging for the participants and reduces their experiences of isolation, but also connects them to resources and networking opportunities that foster political participation. In this way, the online community operates as a space for young people to understand and potentially overcome their experiences of egoism and marginality. It helps them to reach the realisation that it is not them but the heteronormative 'society' that is the problem. In doing so, the online community provides young people with the emotional resources and social capital to do something to address their marginalisation. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
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