Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Cynthia Anderson


The lives of gay men and lesbians continue to be understudied in sociology. In addition, gay white men are uniquely positioned in society, at once belonging to the dominant culture by virtue of being both "white" and "male," and part of a minority group because of their sexual orientation. This distinction is important to acknowledge and study. Additionally, because sexual orientation can be hidden or made invisible, the ability to choose if and when one might divulge their orientation adds a unique dimension to how gay white men navigate their lives. This body of research specifically examines how gay white men navigate the workplace. In addition, the research has led to the development of a model for "doing outness," a practice whereby gay white men determine if, when, and how to divulge their sexual orientation.;The building blocks for "doing outness" include a specific interplay between degrees and dimensions of outness, identities and specific social situations in which gay white men find themselves. The practice of "doing outness" has specific implications for how, in this case, gay white men conduct their daily lives. The role of both race and gender are critical to this study of gay white men, and directly influence how these men "do outness.";Today gays and lesbians are making social progress at the same time they are facing growing backlash. This is a critical time for an in-depth study of one sub-group within the gay and lesbian communities to help us better understand the lives of this understudied minority group in America. This research specifically addresses the relationships gay white men have with other gay men, straight women, and straight men in an effort to better understand how these relationships influence the lives of gay men, as well as the dominant cultures attitudes toward gays and lesbians. This research has policy implications, as well as implications for the sociology discipline and long-held theoretical frameworks within the discipline.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Shaun Bryant Keister



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

175 pages