"Having to think about it all the time": factors affecting the identity management strategies of residential summer camp staff who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender


This study examined factors related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity management at residential summer camp. Participants between the ages of 18 and 25 years, who self-identified as LGBT or non-heterosexual, and had worked at a residential summer camp within the prior three years (2007-2009) were interviewed face-to-face. The sample included 24 females, 3 males and 1 individual who identified as gender queer. Grounded theory methods were used for analysis. The analysis found that existing homophobic and heteronormative structures at camp and in society dictated that staff manage their LGBT identity defensively to minimize harm. Identity management strategies at camp were affected by the themes that emerged from the data: residential camp context, staff members' prior experience, disclosure of LGBT identity and the atmosphere for LGBT individuals at each particular camp.

Document Type





bisexual, gay, lesbian, summer camp, transgender

Publication Date


Journal Title

Leisure/ Loisir