Title
The internet and sexual identity formation : comparing LGB internet uses before and after coming out
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
München ,
Subject
Sociology
Mass communications
Computer. Automation
Source (journal)
Communications : the European journal of communication research. - München, 1976, currens
Volume/pages
38(2013) :4 , p. 347-365
ISSN
0341-2059
1613-4087
ISI
000326879100002
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Even in its early years, the Internet was recognized as a medium with great potential for lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals (LGBs), especially for LGB youths struggling with their sexual identity. Yet, Internet research related to coming out tends to focus on particular cases or Internet use before and during coming out. Consequently, as such research emphasizes the opportunities and positive aspects of the Internet for LGBs, it may lead to an overestimation of the importance of sexual identity in terms of LGB Internet use. Therefore, in this paper we explore the LGB-specific Internet use of a broad cross-section of the LGB community both before or during and after coming out. Our quantitative online survey and in-depth interviews show that LGBs use the Internet for LGB-oriented purposes less after coming out than before or during it. The results suggest that sexual identity becomes a less salient topic in terms of everyday Internet use after coming out.
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