Coming Out Conversations and Gay/Bisexual Men's Sexual Health: A Constitutive Metamodel Study
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This chapter explores the implications of family members and health care providers introducing topics of sexual health into coming out conversations. It is embedded in a constitutive model of coming out that generatively combines cognitive, relational, and cultural perspectives of coming out into an intelligible whole. Surveys were administered to and interviews conducted with 87 diverse gay and bisexual men who shared at least two narratives detailing a coming out conversation. The mutliadic data were analyzed using both taxonomic and contrapuntal analysis. These discourses suggest that sexual health is being introduced by family members as a central concern, which was reviewed as negative; as an added thought, which was reviewed as caring; and as an irrational sidebar, which was reviewed as negative and hopeless. With health care providers, it was presented as a routine question, which was reviewed as positive; as an act of suspicion, which was reviewed as negative; and as a nerve-wracking experience, which was reviewed as negative and incompetent. In family conversations, a salient tension between being seen as the family member they love and being seen as a stereotype permeated, whereas in health care conversations a salient tension between their individual identities as people and their deviancy as connected to minoritized sexual identity was articulated. Discussion includes the connections between the two discourses as well as practical implications.