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Title: Policing and performing gay sexualities : how do gay men neg(oti)ate their sexual identities in the workplace and how does occupational setting frame these processes? : a comparative study into the working lives of gay male police officers and performers
Author: Broomfield, John S.
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explores the working realities of gay police officers and performers in relation to ‘gay-friendly’/‘gay-hostile’ worksites and embodied sexual identity, developing an understanding of the meanings gay workers attach to their working lives by mobilising conceptual resources primarily from sociology. Deep seated assumptions pervade current perceptions regarding gay male sexuality and certain occupations. The idea is that there are gay industries like fashion, nursing and the performing arts. In contrast, occupations such as the police and the armed forces are often seen as homophobic, yet a dearth of academic research investigates the lived experiences of gay men located within perceived ‘gay friendly’ or ‘gay hostile’ worksites. Acknowledging this as a missed opportunity for developing empirical insight, I bring to the fore the work realities of some of these overlooked people. Taking the performing arts as an example of a ‘gay-friendly’ occupation, the police as an example of a ‘gay-hostile’ occupation, and drawing on in-depth interview data with 20 gay performers/police officers, I show that the perspectives and experiences of these men allow us to nuance existing research on how LGB employees understand, value and experience ‘gay-friendly’ workplaces, an emerging construct in the organisation studies literature. Focusing on the significance of embodied, sexual identity for the performance of the occupational roles of interest allows this study to consider the relationship between gender and sexuality at work. Literature on the gendered nature of work along with the promising literature on (homo)sexuality in the workplace have proceeded relatively separately, with the exception of the literature on sexualized labour and the commodification of women's (assumed hetero)sexuality in sales-service work (Tyler, 1997). The effect is that the experience and performance of gender and/in/through sexuality at work has been neglected as a topic of empirical investigation. Although sociologists argue that sexuality cannot be understood without reference to gender, and vice versa, few organizational scholars explore the experiences of work with this in mind. This thesis addresses this gap in knowledge. It brings together the perspectives of gay performers and police officers and highlights the prevalence of a „gender imperative‟ throughout the day-to-day lives of these workers. In detailing the workplace experiences of my participants, this thesis also builds on existing studies that tend to focus solely on the general working lives of gay employees. Gay workers face important contextual issues relating to 'passing', 'coming out' and homophobia. Although these are key areas of interest to existing literature, studies so far fail to address these concepts in detail with reference to specific occupational settings. In other words, the research contributes to the area of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) disclosure and management at work. Stigma-based models (Goffman, 1963) are particularly useful here in framing some of the empirical insights of my research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman