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Social Responsibility

Carmelle Adams-Case Receives Distinguished Thesis Award

Carmelle Adam

Carmelle Adams-Case is the recipient of the St. Cloud State University Distinguished Masters Thesis Award for her thesis titled “Including (and Excluding) the Heterosexual ‘Ally’ in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Identity Movements.” Each year the department of Graduate Studies recognizes one outstanding thesis at St. Cloud State completed during the last academic year based on thesis originality, importance of the research and potential for significant contribution to the field. “Carmelle’s thesis is the first thesis put out by the MS Program in Social Responsibility to win the Distinguished Thesis Award. Her committee regarded her thesis was exceptional sociological research that engaged the best of theory and methods found in sociology. Her thesis embraces the best of critical thinking in that it is able to critique not only those with whom one politically disagrees, but also social movements with which one allies. It’s a thesis well worth attention on this campus and beyond.” said Dr. Stephen Philion, Adams-Case’s adviser. Adams-Case’s thesis was original research gathered through observation and theory that problematizes the inclusion of heterosexual “allies” in LGBT organizing and activism. Dissension regarding the addition of allies to the LGBT social movement divides organizers, suggesting heterosexual inclusion is an act of bureaucratic means to expand membership, budgets, and resources. LGBTstatewide, regional, and national conferences were attended from September 2006 through March 2008 to gather partricipants’ perspectives. Data was also collected through participant observation at local student organization meetings. Three major research questions were addressed by interpretation of collected data:

1. What are the goals of LGBT activism and how do they use a bureaucratic approach?

2. Why do LGBT movements include heterosexual allies?

3. Is it possible to achieve liberation given the movement’s capitalist framework?

The thesis chairperson was Dr. Stephen Philion of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Thesis committee members included Dr. Jiping Zuo, Dr. Linda Butenhoff, and Dr. Lindah Mhando. “It was the consensus of the thesis committee that this was the best MS thesis that they had read in the last decade,” said Dr. Philion.

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