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Street Harassment at the Intersections: The Experiences of Gay and Bisexual Men Open Access

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The aim of this research is to explore whether and how gay and bisexual men experience street harassment - those public interactions committed by strangers that are targeted at individuals with specific (perceived) identities because of those identities. Street harassment is unwelcome and intimidating and makes people feed scared, uncomfortable, and humiliated, and research up to this point has mainly focused on the harassment of women by men. This study was conducted using only online methods, using a survey to interact with 331 gay and bisexual men from at least 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and 22 countries, in addition to follow-up interviews with 24 of those survey-takers. Ninety percent of the survey respondents reported sometimes, often, or always feeling unwelcome in public because of their sexual orientation, and 71.3 percent said they constantly assess their surroundings when navigating public spaces. This is not the case for everyone, though. Some men don't report these feelings because they may view victimization as inconsistent with their male identity, or they may just not experience it at all. The results also suggest important differences between the harassment of women vs. the harassment of gay/bisexual men. They also show interesting variety in experiences across identity categories - including age and race - in addition to differences depending on how men view their own masculinity and legibility of sexual orientation. Much more research is required to fully understand the experiences of particular groups, including transpeople, but that degree of focus was unfortunately beyond the scope of this study.

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