Making Sense of Internalized Anti-Gay Prejudice from the Perspective of Men Who Have Sex with Men

Prof Doc Thesis

Dreyer, J. 2018. Making Sense of Internalized Anti-Gay Prejudice from the Perspective of Men Who Have Sex with Men. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsDreyer, J.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Internalised anti-gay stigma has both been linked with adverse mental health outcomes and criticized for being pathologizing in its individuation of sexual minority distress. The present research seeks to explore how men make sense of the construct that is commonly referred to as ‘internalised homophobia’, alongside the impact of and other responses to anti-gay prejudice and heterosexism, with an emphasis on socio-political context throughout.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten self-identified gay men recruited via gay-affirmative and neutral spaces, including the internet, to take part in this study. A thematic analysis undertaken from a critical realist perspective identified three over-arching themes, each also consisting of three further sub-themes. “It’s part of who we are”: internalised anti-gay stigma as a part of identity explored how participants who were familiar with the concept understood and related to it. “I’ve never ever been homophobic”: distancing the self from internalised anti-gay stigma captured how some participants expressed ambivalence towards and/or appeared to try to distance themselves from internalised anti-gay stigma as personally relevant. “It was on my radar”: living with anti-gay stigma describes how participants perceived and responded to overt and subtle anti-gay prejudice and heterosexism from childhood to the present day.

Results from the analysis are discussed in the context of relevant theory, in particular the Minority Stress Model (Meyer 1995, 2003, 2007), and previous research. The study highlighted the importance of a more nuanced understanding of internalised anti-gay stigma, as well as the importance of socio-political context. Implications in terms of future research and clinical practice are considered.

KeywordsInternalised anti-gay stigma; anti-gay prejudice; heterosexism; heteronormativity; homophobia
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
PrintMay 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Nov 2019
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