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Gay Subculture Identification: Training Counselors to Work With Gay Men
Justin L. Maki
Providing counseling services to gay men is considered an ethical practice in
professional counseling. With the recent changes in the Defense of Marriage Act
and legalization of gay marriage nationwide, it is safe to say that many
Americans are more accepting of same-sex relationships than in the past.
However, although societal attitudes are shifting towards affirmation of gay
rights, division and discrimination, masculinity shaming, and within-group
labeling between gay men has become more prevalent. To this point, gay men
have been viewed as a homogeneous population, when the reality is that there are
a variety of gay subcultures and significant differences between them.
Knowledge of these subcultures benefits those in and out-of-group when they are
recognized and understood. With an increase in gay men identifying with a
subculture within the gay community, counselors need to be cognizant of these
subcultures in their efforts to help gay men self-identify. An explanation of
various gay male subcultures is provided for counselors, counseling supervisors,
and counselor educators.
Keywords: gay men, subculture, within-group discrimination, masculinity,