Am I my own special creation? : a qualitative analysis investigating the process of gay identity construction in men

Prof Doc Thesis

King, Nick 2003. Am I my own special creation? : a qualitative analysis investigating the process of gay identity construction in men. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsKing, Nick
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Research into the construction of gay identity has been well documented over the past three decades. In recent years, however, stage-based models have come under scrutiny for firstly, assuming this construction process is linear and applies to all gay men and secondly, omitting to consider social influences. More recent theories argue that the gay identity construction is a series of 'tasks' that an individual has to work through influenced by a seemingly infinite number of variables. The current research reports
findings from interviews with eight self-identified gay men. They were interviewed about their gay identity, disclosure of this to other people and the influences of wider societal beliefs on this construction process. The data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The results indicated that the process of gay identity construction is influenced by a number of internal and external processes and these are continuous throughout life - this finding is discussed as being essential when
considering gay identity in both clinical and theoretical domains. The participants described a sense of permanence of gay feelings from a young age, adaptation to these
feelings and a continuous process of reconstructing their gay identity. The reconstruction process was facilitated through interactions with other people (both heterosexual and gay). There was also evidence of conflicting values, both internally (within the participants) and externally (within family and peers), specifically in relation to
religious, traditional and generational ideas which required negotiation. Furthermore, there was significant influence arising from socially constructed attitudes and beliefs of being gay. The results are discussed from both multi-contextual and constructionist perspectives. Clinical and theoretical implications from this research are also presented as is a proposed model of gay identity construction.

KeywordsInterpretative Phenomenological Analysis; Gay identity construction; Identity construction
Publication dates
PrintSep 2003
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jan 2014
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