Date of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Carrisa Hoelscher


While the study of queer communities underscores the importance of responses to heteronormativity, this dual-method study challenges positionality by examining the co-cultural strategies of straight allies in predominantly queer conversations and spaces. Using Orbe’s Co-Cultural Theory as a lens, this study examines the co-cultural strategies and factors that influence straight allies’ communication when entrenched in queer ontology and dialogue (Study 1). Additionally, co-cultural strategies are measured among straight allies in hypothetical workplaces that are either predominantly queer or predominantly straight (Study 2) using Lapinski and Orbe’s (2007) Co-Cultural Theory Scales. Together, the results of these studies contribute to the ideas that (a) straight allies have the privilege of using a variety of co-cultural strategies and responses to navigate both queer and straight spaces, and (b) allyship is constituted in ephemeral performances that bolster queer communities while also maintaining heteronormative structures. Overall, this dual-method investigation extends the framework of Co-Cultural Theory by challenging positionality, acknowledging nuances in existing strategies, and continuing the work of including traditionally dominant group members within understandings of intercultural communication research.


Co-Cultural Theory, challenging positionality, straight allies, ally, intercultural communication, LGBT studies, performance, dominant group members, nondominant group members, heteronormativity

Subject Categories

Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | International and Intercultural Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication


© David Dooling

Open Access