chapter  9
18 Pages

Is there a Japanese Gay Identity?

In chapters 3 to 6, I was concerned with outlining and analysing the various representations of homosexual men and the gay male body as they are constructed in popular as well as specifically gay media. The common representations of gay men as ‘feminine,’ as ‘ideal lovers’ or as macho sex machines are the cultural myths I refer to in the title of the book. In chapter 7 where I presented my interview data, I was attempting to show how the social realities faced by real men in actual daily interactions with family and workmates challenge these popular stereotypes. Although some gay men may consume these fantasy figures, they do not identify with them. These popular representations tend to homogenise gay men and present them all as feminine or all as obsessed with sex; therefore, I do not want to contribute to this process by suggesting that there is a singular reality or even a narrow band of social realities which would similarly homogenise gay men and their experience. In this chapter, I want to expand this theme of diversity by challenging the notion that there is an homogenous ‘gay identity’ which is conditioned and circumscribed by the same social forces. Human sexuality and people’s responses to it are invariably multiple. There can be no ‘ideal types’ either homo-or heterosexual.