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Self-Discovery in the Internet Age

In my research, I explored the impact the Internet has had on LGBTQ+ people finding themselves in the Internet Age. As a queer and trans person, I’ve found the Internet to be essential in my journey of self-discovery. I conducted this study due to my curiosity of wondering if others in the LGBTQ+ community share similar experiences.

The Nuts and Bolts: My Research Design

​The focus of this study is the influence of the Internet on people in the LGBTQ+ community. The sample consists of 64 participants from ages 13-21 that identify as LGBTQ+, 48.4% of which are 18 years old. In this article, I will provide a summary and basic data about one of my research questions. Feel free to reach out to me at if you want to learn more!

The Setting of Exposure to Queerness

According to my research, the majority of LGBTQ+ people found the Internet to be important in their journeys of learning about and finding their place in the LGBTQ+ community. The majority of participants (42%) first learned of the LGBTQ+ community on the Internet, although a substantial amount learned about it from friends and family (31%).

The Internet Age: What Has it Done?

89.1% of participants found the Internet to have an extreme influence on their self-discovery journeys as LGBTQ+ people. 46.9% of participants found their Internet usage to be mostly positive, whereas 42.2% said that the Internet had an even mixture of positive and negative effects on their self-exploration.

Final Thoughts: What I Learned

​My favorite results to analyze were from the personal response questions. I asked participants to list the specific effects that the Internet has had on them as LGBTQ+ people. Some negatives that participants experienced were that the Internet spreads misinformation and confusion, bullying and hate, creates unrealistic standards, can be invalidating, causes community division/discourse and gatekeeping, and spreads heteronormativity. For positives, participants reported that the Internet allowed them to become educated about the LGBTQ+ community, find resources, further explore their sexuality/gender identity, find community, and be able to feel affirmed in their identity and more comfortable with themselves.

Despite the pros and cons, when asked about their overall experiences, there was a strong consensus among the group: “Without the Internet, I wouldn’t be where I am today”.

Written and Researched by Elliot Dulyk

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