Research shows that friendships are among the most important sources of support for gay men. Despite insights into how friends can be significant providers of emotional, practical and affirmational support, particularly when gay men ‘come out’ or experience discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, scholars have rarely considered the role of work friends in supporting gay men in the workplace. This is remarkable given that work organisations remain challenging arenas for sexual minority employees to fashion a meaningful sense of self. Drawing on in-depth interview data with twenty-eight gay men employed in the UK, this article argues that gay men can rely on work friends for different forms of support in helping them to negotiate and sustain a viable sense of self. The findings show how the gender and sexuality of organisation influences which men and women are available as work friends, and the types of support they might give. Also, the affirmational support received from work friends is important not only for validating participants' sexual identities, but also identities of class and parenthood. The study aims to complicate stereotypes of men's workplace friendships as sources of support used largely for advancing careers and personal gain.
|Translated title of the contribution||Firm friends: exploring the supportive components in gay men’s workplace friendships|
|Pages (from-to)||135 - 155|
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||The Sociological Review|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2010|