There is a scarcity of literature examining gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ) men’s experiences of public displays of affection. An interview protocol informed by Emotion-Focused Therapy was used alongside narrative inquiry to conduct semi-structured interviews with 10 GBQ men about their experiences of holding hands with other men in public. Specifically, this research endeavoured to understand how GBQ men made meaning of their hand-holding experiences and how emotion was woven into these narratives. Analysis revealed that the GBQ men in this study made meaning of their hand-holding by comparing their experiences to dominant cultural meanings about hand-holding and GBQ identity. In particular, those whose experiences least matched dominant cultural meanings shared stories which were suffused with the most detail and emotionality. Counselling implications include the possible benefit of psychoeducation about emotions, helping couples increase mutuality, and exploring the effects of heterosexism in individuals’ and couples’ lives.
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Thesis advisor: Jordan, Sharalyn
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