The Dramaturgical Process as a Mechanism for Identity Development of LGBTQ Youth and Its Relationship to Detypification
-Erica Rosenfeld Halverson
According to Erica Halverson, “youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) construct and present complex identities by using a method known as the dramaturgical process”(Halverson, 635). The dramaturgical process consists of the telling, adapting, and performing of personal stories. This study involved the About Face Youth Theatre (AFYT), a Chicago based organization that works with LGBTQ youth on the dramaturgical process. The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between the dramaturgical process and the psychosocial process of identity development.
There were forty different youth who participated in the 2003 season of AFYT, ranging in age from thirteen to twenty, and with different ethnic backgrounds. This study mainly focused on eight of those participants. Of these eight, four were female, three were male, and one was transgender, all with varying ages. The independent variables of this study was the sexual orientation of the participants and the participants’ views on how they wanted to be represented in front of an audience. The dependent variables were the scripted scenes that would be performed by the group for a public audience.
The main findings in this study was that the use of personal stories allows youth to engage in the change events described as the mechanism for positive identity development. “Identity development is about the evolving relationship between individual experiences, how these experiences comprise a cultural representation, and how these cultural representations then shape individual experiences” (Halverson, 663). In other words, the youth are able to build a social category that is no longer based on stereotypical...