Perceptions of ‘coming out’ among British Muslim gay men

Rusi Jaspal, Asifa Siraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-197
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2011


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