Building on Bourdieu’s conceptualization of the symbolic economy of class, I introduce a new concept to understand how having a visible gay identity can act as a form of privilege in inclusive, post-gay social fields: gay capital. Through shared knowledge of gay cultures, belonging to gay social networks, and having one’s gay identity recognized as a form of prestige, gay capital supplements cultural, social, and symbolic forms of capital. These findings trouble traditional generalizations of gay youth as victimized due to their sexual minority status. – Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Socially, being gay is seen as a privilege? My how the pendulum swings!
A Durham University psychological researcher named Max Morris has coined the term ‘gay capital’ to describe his findings from speaking with 40 gay male students at four different English universities.
Morris is drawing some big conclusions from just chatting with three and a half dozen men. He is claiming that gay men can utilize their homosexuality as a form of ‘social privilege’ when they are in non-exclusively gay spaces. Is ‘gay identity’ now a form of prestige? Is this so called idea of ‘gay capital’ a thing?
The researcher is building on a belief that we as LGBTers face less homophobia today and society as a whole is more accepting.
Rather than being ostracized or victimized due to their sexual-minority status, the young men in this study were accepted and celebrated for being gay, sometimes interpreting their sexuality as a form of social privilege.
In a conversation with metro.co.uk, Mr Morris added: ‘My research suggests that being gay should no longer be treated ubiquitously as a negative thing.' He also acknowledged that the lives of these 40 gay men at very LGBT friendly institutions are not the same for men all over the world, citing many occurrences, especially Chechnya.
Looking back on your own life, how has it changed since the closeted days to today?
Do you feel you have come from a negative position in society to be more accepted one?
Do you feel we are a part of the social elite or at least deemed a little higher on the social ladder than your straight friends, coworkers, etc?
Is this just 40 gay men being pretentious as f%$k?