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Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity


ASL & Interpreting

First Advisor

Erica Alley

Second Advisor

Jeremy Brunson

Third Advisor

Naomi Sheneman


ASL and Interpreting


This phenomenological study explores the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) sign language interpreters who have worked in the video relay service setting – more specifically targeting their experiences during interactions with consumers, both deaf and hearing. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and triangulated through a mixed methods approach using anonymous surveys (N=137) and semistructured interviews (N=8). Three themes emerged from the findings, including (a) the implications of consumer recognition of an interpreter’s LGBTQ identity, which correlates to the social construction of gender and the process of gender attribution – the way that people mentally place others into binary gender categories (Kessler & McKenna, 1978); (b) the experiences of interpreters whose LGBTQ status is not easily detected by consumers and how those interpreters approach the decision to disclose (or reveal) their identities; and (c) the role of the video relay service companies and the ways they cultivate either supportive or oppressive environments for LGBTQ interpreters, which can ultimately impact their interactions with consumers. Since there has been no research conducted on LGBTQ interpreters in the video relay service setting, this study can serve as foundational research regarding the experiences of those interpreters with the goal of generating future studies about the LGBTQ community in the field of interpreting.