Navigating the crossroads
This study examined how first-year, gay, male undergraduate students attending Jesuit Catholic institutions make sense of their transition to college experience. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The participants included seven gay, cisgender, male individuals who were current undergraduate students at a Jesuit university and had already completed their first year of school. Transcripts were analyzed through Schlossberg's (1989) transition theory framework using a
... e approach, specifically Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), from which three super-ordinate themes and eleven subthemes emerged as a result of the participants sharing their lived experiences. The three super-ordinate themes include: Managing Self-Acceptance and Self-Disclosure, Exclusionary Campus Climate, and Navigating the Social Landscape. The findings were consistent with the existing literature and offered continued evidence that religious campus climates are characterized by psychological distress, harassment, fear, and hostility for sexual minority students. Additionally, this study revealed that sexual minority college students' expectations for inclusion were not met after arriving to campus, that hypervigilant behaviors of self-monitoring, incessant processing, and constant deliberation resulted from being a sexual minority college student, and that the participants' expressed selfreliance, a sense of transformation, and gratitude for the challenges they experienced throughout their transition to college. Furthermore, the participants' vivid stories displayed their contention for the institution's administration, which brings new insight to the gay-identifying students' fight for survival, specifically the students' sense of advocacy for broader inclusion within the LGBTQ community.