How are young Black gay men responding to anti-gay stigma?
Employing multiple methodological techniques including ethnographic participant observation, interviews, content analysis, and peer ethnography, my dissertation project focuses on the process of unspoiling identities among young Black gay men in Los Angeles in three domains that they encounter in their everyday lives: 1) health-centered community-based organizations, 2) intentionally chosen families, and 3) media depictions of Black gay men. Drawing on sociological literatures of identity development, stigma and stigma management, the project seeks to understand contemporary coming of age and stigma resistance techniques of those lying at the intersection of racialized genders and sexualities. This study adds to the literature concerning stigma management response and to knowledge of community identity development theories. Moreover, the dissertation adds to the literature of the sociology of sexuality, sociology of culture, and the sociology of family. It advances knowledge of a critical population targeted by federal and local health agencies and social policy seeking to respond to the rise in new HIV infections among Black gay men aged 15-29. Ultimately, the project illuminates the pathways that young Black men may follow in Los Angeles to create meaningful identities, to construct communities, and to unspoil their identities as Black gay men.