Perceptions of physical and emotional safety and risks amongst gay men in the LBGT community of Edinburgh
Shepherd, K. (2014) Perceptions of physical and emotional safety and risks amongst gay men in the LBGT community of Edinburgh, no. 84.
This research project explores gay men's attitudes to, perceptions and experiences of community safety and risk amongst Edinburgh's LGBT places and spaces. Previous research focused on the experience of homophobic crime but did not explore the ideas of community safety that the gay men held and the impact that fear of abuse has on the men's sense of sexual citizenship. Previous research spoke of gay men self-policing in order to avoid any negative attention, that homosexual displays are more commonly seen in large cities (Johnson 2002), and the importance of family support after experiencing abuse (Rivers et al 2010). It also stated that abuse is more common at night and in public, particularly gay venues (Rivers et al 2010, Morrison and MacKay 2000). Although there is research on homosexuality and abuse, there has been very little focusing on Edinburgh. This research attempts to address this through the use of the Photovoice method. Photovoice asks participants to take photographs of things they feel are relevant to the topic of interest. In this instance it is two participants view of safety and risk in Edinburgh's gay community. To compensate for a small number of participants, a secondary data source is examined. The research found that the personal relationships the participants built had a positive impact on their feelings of safety and support. Also the places the participants used were important in order to maintain a sense of safety and sexual citizenship. There were also indications that there was a propensity to manage their identities in certain social settings so as to hide their sexuality from certain people, for fear of being subjected to physical or emotional abuse. The results revealed three key themes of support networks, places of safety and experiences of abuse. Keywords: Gay, safety, support, abuse, Photovoice