The cultural processes of heteronormativity and compulsory heterosexuality are acutely active within Islamic societies. The present study explored perceptions of ‘coming out’ among a group of British Muslim gay men (BMGM), focussing upon the potential consequences for identity processes and psychological well-being. Ten BMGM of Pakistani descent were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. Interview transcripts were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis and informed by identity process theory. Four superordinate themes are reported, including (1) ‘social representational constraints upon “coming out”’; (2) ‘ “coming out”: a source of shame and a threat to distinctiveness’; (3) ‘fear of physical violence from ingroup members’; and (4) ‘foreseeing the future: “coming out” as a coping strategy’. Data suggest that BMGM face a bi-dimensional homophobia from ethno-religious ingroup members and the general population, which can render the prospect of ‘coming out’ threatening for identity. Theoretical and practical implications of this research are discussed.
|Journal||Psychology and Sexuality|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Feb 2011|