12 Pages

Gay and Lesbian Visitors and Cultural Institutions

Do They Come? Do They Care? A Pilot Study

Analyzing museum research data on the basis of a male or female distinction has the potential to create misleading findings about the subject being researched, can perpetuate bias against individuals who do not conform to heterosexual orthodoxy and, most importantly, reveals an institutional homophobia that discriminates against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) participants in the research. This chapter considers the power and privilege of the researcher and choices of specific paradigms that can be engaged when creating museum audience research to limit the ongoing marginalization of the LGBTQ community. The chapter elucidates the transformative paradigm with its accompanying philosophical assumptions as a way of examining the underlying beliefs that define the role of the researcher as one who works in partnership for social change and who challenges the status quo. The transformative paradigm is a framework of belief systems that directly engages members of culturally diverse groups with a focus on increased social justice.