Location of Repository

Remaking the masculine self and coping in the liminal world of the gay 'scene'

By Damien T. Ridge, D Plummer and D Peasley


This paper investigates social transitions, constructions of masculinity and coping among men in commercialised gay spaces, such as nightclubs and dance parties ('the scene'). The findings are derived from two qualitative studies involving individual samples of 24 and 12 younger (aged 19 to 36) same-sex attracted men living in Melbourne, Australia. The analysis recasts 'coming out' into the gay scene as a passage into a 'new world' and a 'new self'. On the scene, notions of selfhood are challenged and men enter various states of liminality as they (re)construct themselves. New ways of performing the self can be tried on through ritualised behaviours, including performing various masculinities. While successful performances of masculinity can promote social 'acceptance', those who express non-hegemonic forms of masculinity can struggle harder. Internalised homophobia influences rituals on the scene, and men reported feeling like perpetual outsiders, regardless of the success of their performances. The emotional dangers to selfhood lurking in performance and ritual are explored, as well as the ways that men find to prevail. Invariably, liminality ends, and the men who do well approach themselves, the rituals and the performances with insight

Topics: UOWSAT
OAI identifier: oai:westminsterresearch.wmin.ac.uk:3566
Provided by: WestminsterResearch

Suggested articles



  1. (2001). Addressing health inequalities in Victorian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities',
  2. (1991). Against Nature: Essays in History, Sexuality and Identity,
  3. (1999). Asian" Men on the Scene: Challenges to "Gay Communities"', Multicultural Queer: Australian Narratives,
  4. (1998). British research into the increased vulnerability of young gay men to eating disturbance and body dissatisfaction',
  5. (2003). From Mardi Gras to Manangatang: Sense of Belonging and Mental Health in Australian Men as a Function of Sexual Orientation and Place of Residence.'
  6. (1989). Gay and lesbian youth: Emergent identities, and cultural scenes at home and abroad.'
  7. (1990). Gender Trouble,
  8. (1999). Handbook for research methods in health sciences,
  9. (1998). Internalized Homophobia, Intimacy, and Sexual Behavior Among Gay and Bisexual Men',
  10. (1999). Is sexual orientation related to mental health problmes and suicidality in young people?'
  11. (2004). It was an incredible thrill': The social meanings and dynamics of young gay men's experiences of barebacking in Melbourne.'
  12. (2001). Lesbian Rights Lobby
  13. (2001). Living As Men - "Its' like...being in a washing machine": Masculinities in Contemporary Urban Australia', Sydney, National Centre in HIV Social Research,
  14. (1995). Making our schools safe for sissies',
  15. (1990). Manhood in the Making,
  16. (1993). Meanings of Sex Between Men.' Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service.
  17. (1997). Men's health is a serious issue not being taken seriously enough: The need for a cultural change in the way we view masculinity and health',
  18. (1990). Microsociology: Discourse, Emotion, and Social Structure,
  19. (1993). New Strategies in Social Research, Cambridge,
  20. (2003). Océanie - Le plus grand laboratoire sexuel du monde.'
  21. (1999). One of the Boys.,
  22. (1990). Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods,
  23. (1997). Queer Connections: Community, "the Scene," and an Epidemic',
  24. (1983). Ritual and personal insults in stigmatised subcultures:
  25. (1992). Ritual theory, Ritual Practice.,
  26. (1984). Ritualized Homosexual Behaviour in the Male Cults of Melanesia, 1862 - 1983: An Introduction',
  27. (2002). Sexual orientation and mental health: results from a community survey of young and middle-aged adults',
  28. (1985). Social Anthropology in Perspective (Second Edition), Cambridge,
  29. (1996). Synthetic ecstacy',
  30. (2003). The health of young gays and lesbians.'
  31. (2001). The impact of homophobia, poverty, and racism on the mental health of gay and bisexual Latino men: Findings from 3 US cities',
  32. (1994). The Making of Men: Masculinities,
  33. (2001). The meanings of Lesbian and Gay Pride Day.'
  34. (1998). The mental health experiences of gay men: a research study exploring gay men's health needs',
  35. (1993). The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.,
  36. (2001). The quest for modern manhood: masculine stereotypes, peer culture and the social significance of homophobia',
  37. (2001). Why Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Public Health?'
  38. (1998). Writing Themselves In: A National Report on the sexuality, health and well-being of same-sex attracted young people', Victoria, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.