Loss of Sexual Identity and an Associated Future: A Qualitative Study with Gay Males

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Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, 2006 - Gay men - 54 pages
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A qualitative, retrospective study was completed to determine if sexual minority youth, specifically gay men, experience a loss of identity and what feelings may be associated with that loss. Troiden's model of homosexual identity development was used as the theoretical basis for the study. Participants were recruited through convenience sampling; fifteen gay men and four therapists who actively work with the gay population were interviewed. The data was analyzed via content analysis and categorized into the four themes described by Berry's acculturation theory. Thematic patterns, including feelings during the process of accepting a gay identity and involvement in the gay community are discussed. Recommendations are made for future research and implications for psychological service providers are discussed. Results indicate that there is evidence that some gay individuals experience a loss of identity during the coming out process and associate negative feelings with that loss. Results also show a pattern between involvement in the gay community and perceived loss of a heterosexual identity and a heterosexual future associated with that identity.

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