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'I am like a woman': constructions of sexuality among gay men in a low-income South African community

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South African research on same-sex sexuality is sparse. Black men living in rural areas, and particularly coloured men, have often been neglected in same-sex sexuality research. This paper describes the findings from a study that explored the sexuality constructions of a group of young, coloured, self-identified gay men who live in a semi-rural, low-income, South African community. Social constructionist grounded theory was used to analyse interviews conducted with 12 men between the ages of 20 and 31. It was found that these men construct their sexuality as being 'like a woman'. In our exploration of this core category, we show how men use notions of femininity to construct their sexuality. We conclude by considering how this group of gay men's performance of femininity could be viewed as reproducing mainstream ideas of gender within their community, while at the same time functioning as acts of subversion.
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Keywords: South Africa; gay; gender; grounded theory; sexuality; social construction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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