How black men who have sex with men cope with homophobia and racism
Bryant, Lawrence Oliver
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The purpose of this study was to understand how Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) learn to cope with homophobia and racism. Research questions that guided this study are: 1. How have BMSM experienced homophobia and racism? 2. How have BMSM coped with issues such as homophobia and racism? 3. How have BMSM learned their coping strategies in dealing with homophobia and racism? A qualitative study was conducted with thirteen BMSM in Atlanta, Georgia using semi-structured interview protocols in one-on-one interviews. A purposeful sampling strategy was employed and participants were selected using the following criteria: 1) self-identify as Black or African American; 2) between 21 and 55 years, 3) self-identify as gay. Each interview was tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed employing constant comparative methods and yielded eight themes: BMSM face oppression within their own communities; BMSM experience real life racism; BMSM realization of same sex attraction; BMSM challenge homophobia and racism; BMSM use social networks as a coping strategy; BMSM learn to teach acceptance; BMSM learn to accept their sexual orientation, and BMSM learn to define masculinity on their own terms. Participant profiles were used as additional data to help provide a more personal perspective on the participants. Three conclusions were drawn from this study. They are (1) many of the coping strategies used by BMSM are achieved through nonformal channels of learning; (2) there is a substantial congruency between BMSM’s spirituality and their sexual orientation; and (3) BMSM incorporated emancipatory learning through consciousness raising regarding their sexual orientation and outlook on life.