Social constructions influencing sociosexual identity development of collegiate gay and bisexual men

J. Michael Wilkerson, Michael W. Ross, Ann K. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article reports on a study that employed ethnographic methods to understand how social constructions influence the social identity development of collegiate gay and bisexual men (CGBM) in the United States. Data included 15 weeks of participant observations at a large southwestern university; the review of university documents, including 69 newspapers, 88 handouts, and 9 reports or websites; 1 focus group; and formal interviews with 25 self-identified CGBM, 7 student-affairs professionals, and5 community health educators who work with CGBM. Living in an environment more tolerant of homosexuality than in the past, CGBM seem required to interpret subtle social cues to identify the degree to which they can be out in a given location or situation. How they interpret these cues, often with little institutional support or few mentors, appears to shape their identity. This article elaborates on some of the social constructions that have contributed to CGBM's social identity formation and discusses policy implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2009

Keywords

  • College students
  • Gay men
  • Gender identity
  • Masculinity
  • Social identity

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