This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Quantitative Study of Within-Group Discrimination of Gay Men




Maki, Justin

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


The purpose of this study was to examine how the constructs of ageism, classism, culturalism, racism, sexism, and sizeism contribute to within-group discrimination experienced by gay men. Additionally, this study aimed to understand whether gay men perceive rejection from another gay man within the community as discrimination or as a result of another gay man’s preferences for romantic and sexual interest. Without a comprehensive understanding of within-group gay discrimination, the counseling profession is without a complete understanding of the needs of gay men. Participants for this study were a national and international sample of 2159 gay men at least 19-years-old. Participants reported their experiences of within-group discrimination on the constructs of ageism, classism, culturalism, racism, sexism, and sizeism, with culturalism reported at the highest level and sexism reported at the lowest level for the entire sample. Participants also reported perceptions of preference and discrimination for both romantic and sexual interest rejection. Results showed perceptions for preference being the reason for romantic and sexual interest rejection were more highly reported than perceptions of discrimination on all six constructs. Scores on sexual interest rejection for both preference and discrimination were higher than scores for romantic interest rejection on all constructs except for sizeism. Implications were developed for both the counseling profession, as well as for counselor educators and supervisors training counselors-in-training to work with gay men experiencing within-group discrimination.