The Influence of Online Experiences: The Shaping of Gay Male Identities

Zachary Giano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Although research has documented that technological advances via online avenues have impacted the way LGBT individuals gain social capital, less is known about how these online experiences influence the coming out processes for gay men. Using a qualitative approach, this study seeks to understand how the online experiences of gay men either enhanced or inhibited the coming out process. Clustered themes revealed four insights: 1. Online experiences catalyzed the coming out process, 2. Early milestones about the realization of homosexuality came largely from online experiences, 3. Pornography was a tool often utilized for sexual knowledge, and 4. Online experiences helped affirm homosexual identity. Generally, data show that online experiences may manifest offline experiences (i.e., meeting up with another individual, talking about their sexual orientation with others), and that technological communication expedites the coming out process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-886
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Internet
  • Sexual
  • coming out
  • development
  • experiences
  • gay
  • identity
  • online


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