“I Will Fight You Like I’m Straight”: Gay Gang- and Crime-Involved Men’s Participation in Violence
Despite extensive criminological literature on violence and victimization, the portrait of gay men’s involvement is unclear. Literature exists on gay men as victims of intimate partner violence and anti-gay bias crimes, but there is very little on gay perpetrators of violence. In this chapter, I seek to critically interrogate existing assumptions and address this lack of coverage. I utilize in-depth, semistructured interviews with 53 gay gang- and crime-involved men to discuss their participation in violence under a variety of contexts to provide a descriptive picture of their varied uses of violence. Although their uses of violence are largely consistent with the extant literature, their experiences as gay men are often central to their justifications for violence. I also explore the links between violent victimization and violence perpetration. My data suggest that negative experiences such as neighborhood violence, homophobic bullying in schools, and anti-gay harassment all play roles in respondents’ decisions to utilize violence; however, this violence did not always serve to prevent their future victimization.
KeywordsGay Gang Violence Crime Homophobic bullying Anti-gay harassment Agency Masculinity Stereotypes Victims Intimate partner violence Interviews
This study was supported in part by two awards from the University at Albany’s Initiatives for Women. I also thank Dana Peterson for her helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.
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