Sociological research has illuminated the importance of mentoring relationships, especially in regard to education. The literature has also shown that mentoring can help disadvantaged students access social and cultural capital that aids their academic achievement. Furthermore, mentoring relationships are more successful between mentees and mentors of the same race, class, or gender. However, there is little research about queer students’ experiences with mentoring relationships in regard to education. In an effort to expand the literature on mentoring relationships and queer students I conducted ten in-depth interviews with queer identified undergraduate students at a large university in the Southeast United States. Using these interviews, I examined respondents’ perception of their social exclusion, coping through resiliency, and prosocial behavior through mentoring others. I found that being openly queer posed an identity-based risk for students’ ability to access mentoring relationships, in turn this risk increased their perception of resiliency and prosocial behavior.
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