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Disclosing sexuality: Gay and bisexual men's experiences of coming out, forced out, going back in and staying out of the 'closet' in prison.

Authors
  • Yap, Lorraine1, 2
  • Simpson, Paul1
  • Richters, Juliet1, 2
  • Donovan, Basil1, 3
  • Grant, Luke4
  • Butler, Tony1, 5
  • 1 The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney , Sydney , NSW , Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney , Sydney , NSW , Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Hospital , Sydney , NSW , Australia. , (Australia)
  • 4 Corrective Services New South Wales , Sydney , NSW , Australia. , (Australia)
  • 5 National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University , Perth , Western Australia , Australia. , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Culture, health & sexuality
Publication Date
Oct 09, 2019
Pages
1–13
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2019.1668963
PMID: 31596173
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Many papers have been written on the process of coming out by individuals with predominantly same-sex sexual orientation but few of these papers have explored the concept of how people negotiate the idea of coming out in prison. We conducted in-depth interviews with 13 prisoners and one ex-prisoner in New South Wales, Australia, who self-identified as gay, homosexual or bisexual men. Data was collected and analysed using an inductive or grounded theory framework since very little was known on the sexual behaviours and identities of Australian prisoners prior to the study and elsewhere. We examined and discussed the lived experiences of prisoners whose disclosure stories were seen to fall under four thematic categories: 'coming out', 'forced out', 'going back in' and 'staying out of the closet' on entering prison. Respondents were required continuously and contextually to manage their sexual identities and disclosure to different audiences while incarcerated. Findings suggest that the prison environment and its attendant heteronormative values and hyper-masculine culture, apply significant pressure on gay and bisexual men on how to manage their sexual identities and disclose their sexuality in prison.

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