Age and changing masculinities in gay-straight male workplace friendships

Nick Rumens

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    Drawing on interview data gathered from 35 gay men in the UK, this article explores how age influences the negotiation of masculinity within gay-straight male workplace friendships. Study findings show that gay-straight workplace friendships between younger men appear to be framed in terms of equality, not homophobia. Older gay men also report similar experiences, some suggesting how these friendships were not possible in their youth. Gay and straight men of a similar age are also united in friendship by their experiences of ageing and its implications for carrying out work. Interview data also reveals how gay-straight male friendships are constrained at work, thus limiting the opportunities for emotional openness and physical tactility. Overall, the study reveals how younger and older gay men, and their straight male friends, variously align themselves to inclusive masculinities within friendship. This article contributes to inclusive masculinity theory by extending the types of contexts currently studied, both relational and work-related, and adding further emphasis to the contextually contingent nature of inclusive masculinities. It also advances the limited literature on gay-straight friendships by highlighting how they might challenge and reshape the heteronormative contours of work contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)260-273
    JournalJournal of Gender Studies
    Issue number3
    Early online date20 Oct 2017
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018


    • age
    • gay-straight male friendship
    • inclusive masculinity
    • work
    • workplace friendships


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