Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



First Advisor

Robert J. Nash

Second Advisor

Walter M. Poleman


Navigating the process of coming out led to feelings of isolation, depression, and a loss of self-worth that were compounded by a period filled with negative social media and mainstream messaging. This thesis explores how an understanding of the systems and processes of nature as well as physical exposure to nature offered a place of healing and an avenue for understanding my identity as a Gay man: from identity confusion all the way through to identity synthesis. Using Scholarly Personal Narrative Methodology, I will interweave poetry and counter narrative storytelling to illustrate the significance of nature during my identity development.

Sexual orientation is scrutinized and vilified through social media platforms, advertisements, and daily life under the basis of cultural ideology and social construction. This disregards the larger contextual importance of other species that exhibit similar behaviors. I maintain that a connection with nature can provide individuals with a broader and more balanced perspective of sexual orientation--whilst navigating through the coming out process leading to a confluent sense of identity with reduced internalized conflict.



Number of Pages

70 p.