Keywords

stigma, dialectical tensions, boundary spanning, gay men

Abstract

This study examined how stigma and dialectical tensions affect information sharing by gay men. One specific area that was investigated is the use of interpersonal boundary spanning techniques in managing information related to being gay. The research used a qualitative, interpretive method to gather and analyze data from eleven in-depth interviews. An interview schedule was developed based on the critical incident technique in order to focus the interviews on specific events and direct observation. The questions in the interview covered individuals experiences with sharing their sexual orientation with someone else for the first time, times when they have specifically chosen to share or not share their orientation, boundaries that exist between the GLBT community and the larger community in which it resides, and techniques used when sharing general information about being gay. The data was analyzed for relational themes described by Owen (1984) as those that emerge through recurrence, repetition, and forcefulness. The themes that emerged were how stigma affects coming out both initially and continuously, managing stigma and dialectical tension, and techniques used in interpersonal boundary spanning. Two major contributions emerged: the relationship between stigma and intrapersonal dialectical tensions, and interpersonal boundary spanning. Stigma can change how easy it is to manage intrapersonal dialectical tensions, such as a normal-different tension. Interpersonal boundary spanning can help the stigmatized individual to demonstrate his normality, and interpersonal boundary spanning helps to reduce stereotyping and negative perception of the stigmatized group.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2008

Advisor

Hastings, Sally

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Nicholson School of Communication

Degree Program

Communication

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0002454

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0002454

Language

English

Release Date

November 2009

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until November 2009; it will then be open access.

Included in

Communication Commons

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