Standing OUT/Fitting IN: Identity, appearance, and authenticity in gay and lesbian communities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexuality scholars have noted the historical connection between appearance and gay or lesbian identity. However, as the social landscape for lesbian women and gay men has shifted over the past forty years, little research has documented how such changes influence gay and lesbian individuals' appearance choices as they form, manage, and maintain their identities. To explore the impact of this "post-closet" (Seidman 2002) era on the identities and appearances of lesbians and gays, in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty individuals, aged eighteen to thirty. Findings suggest that while most people use appearance to attain a sense of authenticity after "coming out," achieving a feeling of authenticity in gay and lesbian spaces presents unique challenges as individuals come under scrutiny by the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-233
Number of pages21
JournalSymbolic Interaction
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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