Negotiating and Managing Gay Identities in Multiple Heteronormative Spaces: The Experiences of Black Gay Mineworkers in South Africa

Tshepo B. Maake, P. Rugunanan, L. Smuts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sexual diversity is a contentious topic in South Africa because many people still hold the perception that sexual identity can only be understood in heteronormative terms. This article adopts a feminist research approach to investigate how black gay male identities are constructed and managed at home, within friendships and in mining workplaces, drawing on data collected from five black gay male mineworkers. It opens up discussion on gay mineworkers’ experiences in a country where diversity is upheld and celebrated through a democratic constitution, yet gay men must often negotiate and manage their sexual identities to fit in with the dominant heteronormative discourses present in different spaces in society, including adopting false heterosexual identities in particular spaces, which limits their freedoms. The study argues that experiences of constructing and managing black gay identities in heteronormative spaces is guided by the level of acceptance and tolerance perceived by gay people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1161
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume70
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Gay identity
  • South Africa
  • heteronormativity
  • identity construction
  • masculinities
  • mineworkers
  • passing
  • social space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology

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