The Roles of Straight-Acting Behaviour, Masculine Self-Presentation, and Internalised Homophobia on Physical and Mental Well-Being for Gay Australian Men.
Hunt, C. (UNSW Sydney), Morandini, J. (University of Sydney)
“Straight-acting” gay men are men who identify as gay but attempt to conform to traditional masculine stereotypes. Presenting as straight-acting may be protective for the wellbeing of gay men, as they run less risk of experiencing backlash for violating traditional gender norms. Alternatively, when gay men identify as straight-acting, thereby explicitly aligning themselves with heteronormative values and rejecting gay culture, it may reflect underlying internalised homophobia, which has been associated with negative psychosocial outcomes. Using a sample of 1532 Australian gay men (mean age = 33.32 years) recruited through an online dating application, the relationship between gay men’s self-reported identification as straight-acting, masculine self-presentation and internalised homophobia was examined, as well as the relationship between these variables and self-reported physical health and depression. Identification as straight-acting was correlated both with masculine self-presentation and internalised homophobia. Straight-acting identity was also correlated with greater wellbeing, although this fell into non-significance when both internalised homophobia and masculine self-presentation were controlled for. Furthermore, internalised homophobia appears particularly important in predicting wellbeing for men who are low on self-reported masculinity, indicating it is those who perceive themselves as not meeting society’s gender role expectations for whom internalised homophobia is most damaging.
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Queer Health Symposium