Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marriage and Family Therapy


Deborah Coolhart

Second Advisor

Marcelle Haddix


Black Feminism, Couples therapy, Family Therapy, Lesbian, liberation, movements

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Queer women of color (QWOC) organizing in resistance to the increasingly hostile contemporary political context of the United States of America are at immediate risk for threats to survival. Nevertheless, some maintain romantic relationships that fall outside of the hegemonic frameworks of romance. While simultaneously resisting a settler colonial state that sanctions violence, environmental racism, and homophobia, QWOC are cultivating love in the face of oppressions they seek to dismantle daily. I used a Black Feminist grounded theory framework to explore the experiences of QWOC in romantic relationships who were also organizing in the contemporary radical political movements – an experience I termed “Revolutionships”. Using a Black Feminist grounded theory framework, I interviewed six dynamic QWOC activist couples and unearthed four main components of “revolutionships”. Each of these components, including unique strengths and challenges these couples face, will be explored. Additionally, the clinical approach for couples therapy with QWOC I developed through conducting the six interviews, the P.O.W.E.R. model, will also be detailed. This study developed a grounded theory approach for couples therapy with QWOC couples, highlighting the impacts of political activism on couple relationships, and contributes to the dearth of literature on QWOC.


Open Access