Identity Perspectives: Debbie Gutierrez


Marieke MesmanFollow


Identity Formation Interview


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Debbie Gutierrez

Summary of Interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing Debbie Gutierrez about her identity formation process and the way that identity formation has changed and impacted her life. Debbie was born in Oklahoma in 1950, but she moved around a lot during her childhood due to her father being in the military. Growing up, gender identity and sexuality was not something that was openly talked about in Debbie’s family, and she explains that was because homosexuality was considered to be sinful. Gay people were considered “different”, and it was not considered as “acceptable behavior”. Debbie also explains that she didn’t really know anyone who was openly LGBTQIA+ until she got her first job at a furniture manufacturing company. She was first introduced to her gender role in society during her early teenage years and she explains that she mainly learned her gender role through the way things were in her family. The women stayed home, and cooked and took care of the children, while the men went to work. Debbie also talks about the time she worked as a schoolteacher for five years and how she quit that job when she got married and had a daughter. She explains that she is happy she made that decision. When asked about how she feels about the way things are heading around the topic of gender identity, Debbie explains that she struggles with knowing all the new terms. But, she also says that she feels enlightened after having a daughter who came out as gay, and that she has had a long time to learn more about gender and sexuality since then. Lastly, her advice to people who are struggling with their identity is to seek counseling, especially if your family is not being supportive.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

28 minutes

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