The Modern Gay Man – A History of His Resilience and Wellbeing

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Report Title: The Modern Gay Man – A History of His Resilience and Wellbeing

Authors: Alan Henry and Dr. Dee Gray

Date: March 2020

Series: grays Wellbeing Report Series

Summary: The wellbeing of Gay men has historically been impacted by fluctuating legislative reforms and social attitudes. This study is concerned with the resilience and wellbeing of Gay men when navigating these changes, and how Gay men may develop further, their sense of worth and belonging in society. Set in the British port city of Liverpool the research hinges on the Sexual Offences Act (1967) as a turning point in the campaign for the legitimacy of Gay men. The subsequent years and the changing political landscape have presented cyclical patterns of regressive and progressive legislation, which challenge not only the resilience of Gay men, but of the entire Queer community. The findings show that legislative reform and social attitudes drive each other and that over the designated study time period, positive reform has been unidirectional, which means that reform has been progressing in only one direction. The study employed a mixed methods (MM) approach, which utilised a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. These were held with participants drawn from both survey respondents and through purposive snowball sampling. The research conversations illuminated the survey by explaining how the participants experience resilience. The syndemic context for these enquiries inspired the salutogenic approach to the study, primarily because this would enable the authors to explore more fully the strengths and assets of the participants. This paradigmatic shift in enquiry from a pathogenic to a salutogenic focus, has gained tremendous ground, especially at community level in terms of more fully understanding the social determinants of health. Other findings demonstrated that participants did not recognise the context of Britain within the European model of social reform and Queer validity and were affected more by the current global phenomenon of right-wing Conservatism. Although right-wing Conservatism is viewed as a threat to wellbeing, resilience to these stressors is maintained through interpersonal relationships and community connectivity. While this study is an enquiry into the lives of Gay men, the findings have implications that the whole LGBT+ community can utilise, and which may contribute further to Queer activism, finding resilience and wellbeing in solidarity.

Key words: #resilience #wellbeing #queer activism #solidarity #salutogenesis