First Advisor

Tina Burdsall

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sociology and University Honors




Masculinity, Gay men -- Identity, Sex role, Gay men -- Health and hygiene, Gays -- Health and hygiene, Hegemony




This study was undertaken to better understand how gay men’s subjection to hegemonic masculinity relates to gay men’s health disparities. Statistically, gay men are subject to numerous health disparities, most notably regarding their sexual health, substance use, and mental health. Masculinities are a relevant framework to contextualize these disparities, as masculinities, and specifically hegemonic masculinity, affect how the gay man engages with himself and society. Employing a qualitative, cross-sectional design, this study utilized in-depth, semi-structured interviews with ten gay men residing in the Portland-metro area. Participants detailed a thematic sociocultural framework in which gay masculinity performance is ubiquitously graded on its conformity to the rigid criteria of hegemonic masculinity—criteria that frames gay masculinity as subordinate. These data find that despite awareness that hegemonic masculinity oppresses gayness, gay men reinforce hegemonic masculinity by desiring its manifestations. The gay masculinity dynamics of this data are evidence that hegemonic masculinity is successful in coercing gay men into consent of their own oppression. Lastly, this research demonstrates a meaningful relation between gay men’s detrimental health behaviors and gay culture’s integration of hegemonic masculinity, and harmful phenomena such as internalized heterosexism, hypermasculinity, and sex role enactment are intellectualized as both consequences of hegemonic masculinity and as contributors to gay men’s health disparities. This exploration emphasizes the importance that hegemonic masculinity, and the significant effect it has on gay masculinity dispositions, has within discussions of gay identity and gay health.


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