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Title: The dynamics of sexual identity work: Experiences of gay & lesbian employees in Belgian workplaces
Authors: Van Laer, Koen 
Issue Date: 2012
Source: Gender Work and Organisation 2012, 7th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference, Keele - UK, June 27-29th, 2012
Abstract: Drawing on theories understanding identity processes to take place at the interface between agency and structure, this article explores the sexual identity work of lesbian and gay employees in the workplace. Based on narratives of 18 lesbian and gay employees, I show that the sexual identity position individuals occupy in the workplace is the outcome of a process involving active positioning by the individual and the way they are positioned by others and discourses pushing them in particular directions. I show how individuals aim to position themselves in such a way that is productive of a positive sense of self in relation to others, while being influenced by discourses pushing for truth and honesty. I further show how the ability to freely choose the way they are perceived in terms of their sexuality is influenced and constrained by others, who, based on heteronormative discourses, steer them into the direction of either a heterosexual or a homosexual identity position through gossip, questions on their sexuality or by assigning a particular sexuality to them. Taken together, these discourses and practices make it hard for individuals to maintain an asexual identity position in the workplace.
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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