Title page for ETD etd-05222008-112356

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Brown, Clarence Ezra
Author's Email Address clbrown3@vt.edu
URN etd-05222008-112356
Title Racism in the Gay Community and Homophobia in the Black Community: Negotiating the Gay Black Male Experience
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kershaw, Terry Committee Chair
Graves, Ellington T. Committee Member
Kiecolt, K. Jill Committee Member
  • negative stereotypes
  • qualitative interviews
  • homosexuality
  • race
Date of Defense 2008-05-08
Availability unrestricted
This research posed the question “How does racism in the gay community and homophobia in the Black community restrict gay Black male’s life chances and life opportunities?” Previous research has uncovered racist attitudes within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community as well as homophobic attitudes within the Black community. Because of conflicting social identifiers (Is it possible for one to be both homosexual and Black?) and the invisibility of a gay Black voice, it is imperative to deconstruct the relationship between gay Black men and the communities they are a part of. I utilized qualitative in-depth interviewing techniques interviewing 15 Black men aged 18 and older who identified themselves as homosexual. The questions revolved around three primary questions designed to center the researcher…How do gay Black men describe their lives, How do gay Black men describe what their lives ought to be, and What obstacles do gay Black men see effecting their opportunity to live the lives they feel they ought to be living.

The gay Black male research participants disclosed that because of Black stereotypes, gay stereotypes, acceptance with stipulations in the gay community and the black community, racism in the gay community, homophobia in the Black community, and perceptions of blackness and masculinity’s affect on gay Black men…gay Black men live their lives with various restrictions. In other words, gay Black men do not appear to be living their lives the way they feel they ought to be living it. This work is important because a majority of the participants stated they wished to live restriction free lives. They are not able to fully be themselves in their daily lives and often have to assimilate to be accepted.

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