‘Like a piece of meat in a pack of wolves’: gay/bisexual men and sexual racialization

Ale Boussalem*, Cesare Di Feliciantonio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Human geographers have analyzed the co-constitutive relationship between race, gender and sexualities across different spaces and social contexts and have called for intersectional approaches in discussions of identities, power and space. This article applies an intersectional framework to the processes of sexualization, racialization and exoticization that shape the daily lives and erotic/romantic encounters experienced and narrated by participants to two different projects: gay and bisexual men from a North African background living in Belgium; Italian gay men living in England; non-White gay men living in Italy. By discussing qualitative data collected during interviews with these men, and through a continued dialogue about this data between the authors, the paper explores both the effects of these processes on the lives of participants, and the strategies they enact to navigate their social worlds. The focus is on two elements, central to participants’ narratives: the specificity of the intersectional experience of encountering men who expect a specifically gendered and racialized performance based on ‘roughness’ and ‘wildness’, and the capitalization on these exoticizing and racializing images to increase one’s desirability on the dating/hook-up scene and everyday social and work life. By highlighting these elements, this paper shows the importance of applying an intersectional approach to analyses of the entanglements of racialization and sexualization in order to complicate linear accounts of these processes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalGender, Place and Culture
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date17 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2023


  • Gay and bisexual men
  • Intersectionality
  • Racialization
  • Sexual racism
  • Sexualities


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