Identity Threat and Coping Among British South Asian Gay Men During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1428–1446
Number of pages19
JournalSexuality & Culture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit


  • British South Asian gay men
  • COVID-19
  • Coping
  • Identity threat
  • Relationships


Dive into the research topics of 'Identity Threat and Coping Among British South Asian Gay Men During the COVID-19 Lockdown'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this