Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Erika Loeffler

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Jack Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. William Garland

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this master's thesis is to describe the structure and workings of a community of women in a major western Michigan metropolitan area, who identify themselves as lesbians, and to describe how this subcommunity relates to the dominant American culture in the area. This study examines the ways in which these lesbians define themselves and their subculture.

To facilitate this research, the researcher participated in the group's meetings, both formal and informal, and spoke with individual members about the history of the group, organizational principles, problems and concerns, formal and Informal rules of conduct, values, and any other topic group members cared to discuss that would contribute to an understanding of what it is like to identify with a female network which exists outside the mainstream of society.