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J Homosex. 2013;60(7):1054-80. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2013.776413.

Heterosexual students' experiences in sexual orientation intergroup dialogue courses.

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Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-2592, USA.


Heterosexism contributes to an unsafe campus climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) college students. Intergroup dialogue courses about sexual orientation seek to build awareness, cross-group relationships, and commitment to social action to address anti-LGB prejudice and discrimination. Although dialogue courses are growing in popularity, few courses address sexual orientation. To advance knowledge of these dialogues, this qualitative study explores heterosexual students' motivations and expectations, challenges, and learning outcomes related to their participation in intergroup dialogue courses on sexual orientation. Core themes include desire to learn about the LGB community, concerns about offending classmates, anxiety around LGB stigma, conflict with classmates around controversial topics, affirming LGB people, and learning about heterosexism, privilege, and intersectionality of identity. Implications for intergroup dialogue pedagogy and research are discussed.

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