The lived experiences of obese gay men with weight stigma within the homosexual community: A phenomenological study
The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of obese gay men with weight stigma within the homosexual community. The research question for this study was, “What are the lived experiences of obese gay men regarding weight stigma within the homosexual community?” Due to the nature of the question, the phenomenological methodology was selected, and Moustakas’ (1994) transcendental phenomenological model was utilized as the blueprint for the study methodology. The target population for the study was men who met the following criteria: exclusively homosexual, at least 18 years of age, and met the established American Heart Association standards for being classified as obese. A sample of nine participants was utilized, and they were interviewed in face to face or telephone sessions. The interview sessions were conducted in an open ended format with guiding and probing questions, and these sessions were audio taped. The data from the interviews was analyzed, and the following themes emerged from the data: discriminatory treatment, reactions to discriminatory treatment, feelings of not belonging, and finding acceptance. The themes presented insight into the lived experience of the participants, and their journey from feelings as though they were an outcast to eventually finding acceptance. The themes also provided information that was crucial to the researcher in developing the homosexual subgroup creation theory. The intent of the study was to contribute to an under researched area within the academic literature. The findings of the study have provided information about the lives of obese gay men, and this may be useful to human service professionals who work with this population. Additionally, this information may also be useful to inform gay men about the challenges that their larger peers experience within the homosexual community.
0492: GLBT Studies