The complexities of friendship: Exploring how gay men make sense of their workplace friendships with straight women

Nick Rumens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the contemporary attention paid to the gay male–straight female friendship dyad within popular culture and a growing scholarly interest in male–female friendships, not enough is known about the friendship dynamics between gay men and straight women, particularly in the workplace. I draw upon qualitative findings from in-depth interviews with 28 gay men employed in a range of work roles in the UK to document their existence and shed light on how gay men understand, value and give meaning to workplace friendships with women. Study findings reveal the paucity of textual cues and practices to direct the development and maintenance of these friendships. Overcoming this, study participants are shown to be inventive in their approach to doing friendship. As problematic as some friendship ties are for understanding differences along the lines of sexuality and gender, the opportunities for challenging heteronormative ways of relating in workplace friendship are regarded as more promising.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1080/14759550701864918
Pages (from-to)79
Number of pages95
JournalCulture and Organization
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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