Stigma management and gay identity development. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Disclosure of homosexuality is now generally viewed in the professional literature as more desirable than secrecy; disclosure is often seen as evidence of a healthy gay identity, whereas secrecy has come to be viewed as socially and psychologically problematic. By drawing on data from an interview study of 38 gay men in Montreal, this article shows that decisions concerning disclosure and secrecy are related to a variety of situational and relational factors that are largely distinct from gay identity development. It is argued that the new models of identity formation fail to recognize adequately the social factors that shape the ways gay men manage information concerning their sexual preferences. Conceptual and clinical implications of new normative views of disclosure and secrecy are discussed.

publication date

  • January 1991