Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Darren Ilett

Faculty Sponsor Email



The question guiding this exploratory qualitative research study is, “How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted LGBTQ+ intimate communication and relationships?” Recently, scholars have demanded that communication scholarship be conducted through an intersectional lens that analyzes multiple dimensions of social identities, including LGBTQ+ identities. Queer Theory poses questions around gender, sexual, and romantic identities that can help expand our understanding of different forms of intimate communication. “Queering” interpersonal communication research involves challenging traditional understandings of communication within identities such as sexuality and gender at the individual and structural levels (Chevrette, 2013). Queering communication research supports a more in depth analysis of how identities influence the ways we communicate with others and build interpersonal relationships (Elia, 2003). An additional aspect to this research involves the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus, which has drastically transformed how individuals socialize and has largely been unexplored within the communication discipline. This research project not only expands our understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted LGBTQ+ intimate relationships and communication, but also proves valuable to Queering interpersonal communication scholarship. Data were collected through semi-structured one-on-one interviews with LGBTQ+ identified individuals in order to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their intimate communication and relationships. Interviews were transcribed and coded thematically and inductively. The transcriptions were analyzed through an interpretive narrative approach to highlight individual lived experiences of LGBTQ+ community members. Findings reflect the particular ways in which members of the LGBTQ+ community have been impacted by social isolation and developed resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic by maintaining relationships and a sense of community through digital communication.

UNCO Undergraduate Verification