Placemaking and Identity: An Examination of Men-Who-Have-Sex-With-Men in Public


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In the United States, public life is regulated and dominated by heteronormativity, which in turns pushes out and oppresses individuals that live non-heterosexual lives. One such marginalized group is Men-Who-Have-Sex-With-Men (MSM) who are, often, heterosexual men who engage in same-sex relations. MSM can engage in homosexual acts with one another without questioning their heterosexual identity. In this thesis, I explore this seeming contradiction by analyzing, a website utilized by MSM to find others with whom to engage in public sex. I offer possible explanations for these men's ability to engage non-heteronormative acts while also maintaining their position in the heterosexists public. I then show the ways MSM, through their use of public space, reframe logics passed to them through the heteronormative experience to create a counter public space. My hope is that by examining MSM's unique positionality, we may see the multitude of ways that groups and individuals reframe themselves in public places while also challenging heteronormative social spaces.