TitleGay men's experience of the future
NameCooper, Joseph Francis (author), Indart, Monica (chair), Peretz, Jonathan (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology,
Gay men—United States--Psychology,
Gay men--United States--Interviews,
DescriptionImagining the future, envisioning who one will become, is a process at the core of human development, but a process whose specific mechanics remain largely unexamined in the field of psychology. Research suggests that individuals use role models and socio-cultural conventions, milestones, and “scripts” or templates to formulate a vision of the future. However, groups outside the social “norm” may have different access to or attitudes toward these conventions and scripts. This exploratory, qualitative study sought to examine the experience of one such group—gay men in their twenties (emerging adults)—through interviewing them about their current visions of their futures and their insights into how this vision had evolved over the course of their development. Ten interviews were conducted with men ages 22-30 who identity as gay, and who were raised and currently live in the United States. The interview data were analyzed qualitatively, and several themes emerged. These included: (1) Participants’ sense of being “late to the game” or “behind the curve” when they imagined their progress toward the future; (2) Participants recalling points during development when they considered a “heterosexual” future, which was ultimately rejected; (3) Participants feeling at least partially excluded from certain milestones—such as marriage and having children—on the path into the future, yet also feeling liberated from conventions, free to pursue an “unconventional” path; (4) Participants grappling with stereotypes of “typical” gay adulthood and life course, which are sometimes bleak and shame-infused; and (5) Anxiety about “ending up alone.” These findings are discussed, and a stage model of future-thinking among gay men is proposed. The study suggests that developing an image of the future is a complex process for gay men, often complicated by their experiences as sexual minorities. Psychotherapists have the potential to play an important role in helping gay youth navigate this process.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Joseph Francis Cooper
CollectionGraduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.