Social Representations of Male Homosexuality and their Consequences for Gay Men: An Explorative Inquiry within the Canadian Context

DAVID BUETTI, OVELLA MARTINELLO, NICOLAS MOREAU, TANYA LAPOINTE-HARRIS, PATRICK LADOUCEUR

Abstract


This study explored the implications of various social representations of male homosexuality
on and by Canadian gay men. Semi-structured interviews (n = 10)
were conducted and analyzed using the theory of social representation. The results
indicate the presence of five representations of male homosexuality—(1) normality;
(2) flamboyance; (3) deviance; (4) vulnerability; (5) sexualized—and shows that tolerance
of gays is mainly limited to those who conform to heteronormative expectations.
Gay men that consider themselves to be conforming to “normal”
homosexuality perceive flamboyant individuals as perpetuating a negative representation
of homosexuality in Canadian society. According to participants, media attention
is focused on the group considered as deviant, leading to the perpetuation of
myths and prejudices against all homosexuals.

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