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Am J Occup Ther. 1998 Jul-Aug;52(7):563-9.

"My secret life": the emergence of one gay man's authentic identity.

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  • 1Occupational Therapy Consultation and Rehabilitation Services, Lincolnville, Maine, USA.


This qualitative study explores the life history of Bruce, a gay man, from the perspective of homophobia. Homophobia is the fear and hatred expressed toward gay men, lesbians, and bisexual women or men as well as persons suspected of being gay, lesbian, and bisexual. Homophobia may become internalized, creating a form of self-hatred derived from the negative stereotypes associated with homosexuality. Bruce's life was shaped by the homophobia of others and his own self-hatred, leading to isolation and a lack of a projected authentic identity. This article focuses on the affective meanings related to significant events in Bruce's life history and how they contributed to transformation in his life from victimic to agentic themes. It is important for occupational therapy practitioners to recognize the influence that homophobia and internalized homophobia have on therapeutic interventions.

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