Home Institution

Smith College

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This qualitative research study examines how peer educators can combat homophobia within the Imagine Project workshops. The Imagine Project is a three country initiative which aims to engage young men to work against sexual violence and sexual harassment through peer education. Combating homophobia is not stated as an official goal of the Imagine Project, and consequently it has not received that much attention within the workshop curriculum and preparation. A literature review and six interviews were conducted to gather information about homophobia, it’s role within the Imagine Project workshops, and how it can be combated in that context. Relevant literature from gender studies on masculinity and homophobia was reviewed, as well as literature on conducting gender transformative work with adolescent boys and designing interventions which combat homophobia. This literature was applied to the findings which stemmed from interviews with five peer educators and the founder of Emancipator. This analysis led to the conclusion that homophobia shows up within the workshops in three ways: implicitly, explicitly, and through compulsory heterosexuality which workshop participants enforce. As peer educators have facilitated workshops and gained an understanding of the limitations and challenges which their original ambitions, they have redefined success and changed their priorities within the workshops. The current strategies which peer educators use to combat homophobia include: intentional use of language, maintaining open dialogue about homophobic attitudes, and sharing personal narratives or disclosing their own non-normative gender or sexual identity.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | International and Area Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


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