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Attitude’s Masculinity survey reveals 54% of gay men have changed their behaviour to ‘fit in’ at work

By Joshua Haigh

As we explore the relationship between gay men and masculinity in our landmark new issue – available to download and in shops now – an extensive survey conducted by Attitude has revealed some facts that might startle you.

A survey of more than 5,000 readers, conducted in October 2017, has revealed to us that a whopping 54% of gay men have found themselves actively changing their behaviour in order to appear “more masculine” at work so they “fit in”.

Despite changing attitudes towards homosexuality and huge steps forward in equality, the statistic shouldn’t come as a surprise. Earlier this year a survey found that one in nine LGBT+ people had been been subject to homophobic bullying at work.

However, it’s not just at work that gay men are seemingly uncomfortable with being their true selves. Our survey also revealed that 50% of gay men have changed their behaviour to appear less feminine around straight family members or friends.

The survey also revealed that 41% of bisexual, queer and gay men have considered themselves “less of a man” because of their sexuality.

In response to the shocking findings, Attitude’s Editor-in-Chief, Matt Cain, says: “Masculinity is in crisis. At least that’s the message that seems to emerge pretty much every day from the mainstream media.

“Broadsheets, Sunday supplements and radio and TV discussion programmes are full of straight men debating what it means to be a man, what constitutes modern masculinity, and whining about how difficult it is to respect themselves now that women are becoming more powerful and that male privilege is being eroded.

“But more importantly, what about gay men and our relationship with our masculinity? Because it strikes me that this is much more complicated, intense and potentially troubling. Yes, we enjoy the privilege of being male in a patriarchal society that for some reason values our genitals way above a woman’s.

But I’ve spent much of my life being made to feel as if I’m less of a man for being gay. And that any signs of femininity I may exhibit make me a less important or less valued member of society. And I know lots of other gay men who feel the same way. In this context, it can be bewildering to get our heads round what it means to be a man. That’s why the team here at Attitude wanted to do this special issue devoted to exploring the subject,” he adds.

The Attitude ‘Masculinity’ issue also features exclusive interviews with non-binary musician Shamir, camp comedian Stephen Bailey and queer performance artist David Hoyle, who share their views on maleness in the 21st century. Plus, editorials on masculinity and race, femme-shaming, and the results of our exclusive survey of over 5000 gay men to find out how our readers feel about their masculinity.

It’s available to download and in shops now.