Disrupting Cultural Selves: Constructing Gay and Lesbian Identities in Rural Locales

Emily Kazyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Research points to the increasing geographical diversity of gays and lesbians, in contrast to cultural narratives that link gay and lesbian sexualities to urban spaces. Examining the sexual identity constructions of rural gays and lesbians thus provides an opportunity to analyze the connection between cultural and personal levels of narrative identity. Drawing on data from thirty interviews with rural gays and lesbians, I address how this group negotiates cultural narratives about queerness and constructs sexual identities in rural locales. I find that their interpretations of geography make clear distinctions between urban/rural and draw on elements in rural culture. These interpretations provide resources to modify cultural understandings that narrate gay/lesbian identities in rural areas as closeted, hidden, and oppressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-581
Number of pages21
JournalQualitative Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Gay
  • Geography
  • Identity
  • Lesbian
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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