This study focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on identity, relationships and psychological wellbeing among British South Asian gay men (BSAGM). Interview data from 15 BSAGM were analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis and identity process theory. The analysis yielded the following three themes: (1) Fear of involuntary disclosure of gay identity; (2) Anxiety about relationships; and (3) Coping and casual sexual encounters. BSAGM who returned to the family home during the lockdown reported fear of involuntary disclosure of their sexual identity, exposure to stigma in relation to their sexuality, and anxiety about their relationships with significant others. In order to cope with the resultant threats to identity, some individuals concealed their sexual identity, which could undermine their sense of identity authenticity, and some reported engaging in casual sexual encounters as a means of coping with identity threat. BSAGM may be at high risk of identity threat during the COVID-19 outbreak with limited access to social and psychological support in relation to their sexuality. This in turn may lead to a reliance on ineffective coping strategies, such as sexual risk-taking.
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- British South Asian gay men
- Identity threat