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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Karla Hunter


Counterfactual narratives are “what if” scenarios invented by people to explore how past experiences could have been different and how future events might unfold. This thesis seeks to uncover the counterfactual narratives which exist for lesbians during their coming out processes with parents. Specifically, ten women who have disclosed a lesbian sexual orientation to their parents were interviewed about how they had predicted their parents would react. While some participants predicted their parents would react positively, a majority of participants had imagined their parents would react negatively upon discovering their sexual orientation. Six different types of upward and downward prefactual narratives were described. Five factors are described by participants to be possible influences upon the creation of counterfactual narratives. Future research possibilities are also explored.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Coming out (Sexual orientation)
Sexual orientation--Public opinion


Includes bibliographical references (pages 96-107)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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