Shame on you; shame in me: the impact of degradation on males who identify as gay

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
K. Jay Poole, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
H. Svi Shapiro

Abstract: Literature in gender and identity studies does not reveal plentiful inquiry regarding the impact of shame, particularly with regard to males who identify as gay; however, the literature does reflect that people who identify as non-conformist with regard to sexual and gender identities often experience ongoing emotional and physical degradation in the forms of harassment, taunting, name-calling, physical aggression, assault, and violence. As a result of a void in the knowledge base about the intersection of degradation, shame, and identities, this study explores the experiences of males who identify as gay and who have experienced degradation resulting in shame. Working from a postmodern epistemology grounded in qualitative and feminist methodologies, using auto-ethnography and dialogue as methods, the author and four participants, deeply explore the experiences of external shame messages, how they became internalized, and how they were/are negotiated. The experiences of the participants including the author’s are contextualized within the so-called gay liberation movement. Several theoretical perspectives are examined including gender, identity and queer theories, particularly as they relate to how identities are shaped and how hegemony operates within particular identities that may be considered marginalized from the mainstream. Working from the perspective that codified identities are exclusive and restrictive, opportunities for (re)imagining identities with regard to gender and sexuality are explored theoretically and pragmatically. Models for confronting heterosexism and homophobia are presented in the arenas of religion, schooling, the media, and human services. Visibility as a person who is sexually and gender non-conformist is discussed as are the tensions between boundless and fluid imaginings of identity and the need for boundaries related to the impact on others of identities and practices/acts associated with them.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Gay Males, Gender, Identity, Masculinity, Queer Theory, Shame
Gay men $x Identity.
Queer theory.
Stigma (Social psychology)

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