This informs readers that the Center of Gravitas (hereafter referred to as “the site”) has been part of study funded by the University of Texas. This study sought to understand and document the ways that sexual minorities interact in on-line environments. It represented the collaborative efforts of the Department of Communication and the Department of Psychology, under the guidance of Carlotta Coburg and Margaret Mitchell, the principal investigators.
Coburg and Mitchell created the site and the persona “GayProf” as a means to enter conversations on Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender issues (GLBT). In particular, this study considered the ways that GLBT individuals responded to stimuli from "popular culture". The investigators postulated that the GLBT community finds common ground through established communication referents in U.S. society.
Coburg and Mitchell received endorsement from the university’s Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS). Though the study required deception, the CPHS agreed with the investigators that the study did not violate the Belmont Report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1979) For more information, please visit http://ohrp.osophs.dhhs.gov/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.htm.
Participation in the study involved minimal risk (i.e. the level of risk encountered in one’s day-to-day life) and could be strictly anonymous.
Follow-up interviews with randomly selected participants in this study have found no adverse reactions. If you feel, though, you require counseling as a result of this study, please contact the investigators through the site’s e-mail address. Your participation, though unknowing, has greatly benefitted this academic research.