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Title: The production of (homo)sexuality at work: The role of co-workers in the sexual identity dynamics of gay and lesbian employees
Authors: VAN LAER, Koen 
Issue Date: 2016
Source: EqualDiv@Work Seminar, Leuven, Belgium, 08/09/2016
Abstract: Adopting a perspective which assumes that sexual identities are shaped through discourse and power, this study explores the role of co-workers and co-workers’ practices in the production of gay and lesbian employees’ sexuality and in the way they turn themselves into particular sexual subjects. Drawing on interviews with 31 employees who self-identify as gay or lesbian, this article makes three contributions to the literature on sexual minorities’ identities at work. First, it identifies co-workers’ sexualizing practices – the attribution, evocation and exposure of sexuality – which contribute to producing sexuality by steering gay and lesbian employees into the direction of a stable and intelligible sexual identity. Second, it shows that sexualizing practices shape the way the production of sexuality can be managed and can turn it into a process that is not only unmanageable but also unmanaged by gay and lesbian employees themselves. Third, this article shows that an important element in sexual minorities’ identity management is constructing the sexual identity they assume as positive in relation to their co-workers, which involves drawing in specific ways on discursive resources and dealing with potential challenges related to authenticity and to inclusion and discrimination.
Keywords: sexuality; identity; power; disclosure; gay and lesbian employees; diversity; sexual minorities
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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