Andre Santana

Date of Award


First Advisor

Eden-Renee Hayes

Second Advisor

Francisca Oyogoa

Third Advisor

Sarah Snyder


In an era of hyper-connectivity and technological advancement, the growing understanding of identities has reached broad, new audiences. While developments have emerged from various sources, young people are particularly active in engaging identities, with sexual orientation being no exception. This thesis is situated at the nexus of sexual orientation as identity, the education of younger audiences, and interdisciplinary approaches to academic work. Queerness is explored through a literature review and research piece, both of which are influenced by work from across psychology, biology, and sociology. The literature review trifurcates queerness, first discussing work on possible causes of queer sexuality, then various modes of queer identity formation, and finally analyzing how queerness impacts social experiences. Through an online survey, the research portion meters the impact that learning about varying sexualities can have over time and participants’ general conceptualizations of queerness. Contributions from each portion of the thesis are synthesized in the conclusion as explorations on queerness are summarized, applications for the lived experiences of young people are presented, and implications of cross-disciplinary work are discussed.

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