InsideOut: Facilitating gay youth identity development through a performance-based youth organization
Halverson, E.R. (2005). InsideOut: Facilitating gay youth identity development through a performance-based youth organization. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 5(1), 67-90.
This article presents a case study of youth—who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ)—participating in About Face Youth Theatre (ABYT), an arts-based program aimed at promoting positive youth development through workshops, discussion, narrative writing, script writing, and performance. The study was designed to explore and describe participants’ personal adolescent development and the way the “narrative-performance process” contributes to identity management, including the ability to explore “possible selves.”
- Participants experienced significant social stigma in their everyday lives as LGBTQ youth, including isolation and fear of physical harm.
- Writing their stories allowed participants to explore the various dimensions of identity, sometimes merging them toward the development of a “viable social identity.”
- Participating in the transformation of these written stories into plays for performance allowed participants to assume the roles of other participants and thereby explore “possible selves.”