M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Sociology
This research investigation was directed at finding the reasons for attendance by fifty male homosexuals at two gay bars in a midwestern metropolitan community. Data was also gathered about preferences in sexual behavior, occupations and respondents' visitation in other gay bars. Two gay bars were studied. One bar caters to young male homosexuals (aged 21 - 30), and the other bar is frequented by older male homosexuals (aged 35 - 70). Twenty-five men were interviewed, randomly, in each of these gay bars, which were specifically chosen for investigation because a comparison was desired between the two different groups. Two techniques for data gathering were utilized. The researcher asked each respondent specific questions about his sexual behavior, occupation and preferences in bar visitation, and some general patterns of interaction in these bars were investigated by direct observation. Much attention was given by the researcher to techniques used by respondents to induce a person previously unknown to them to participate in sexual relations. The principal conclusions of this investigation are: 1. Male homosexuals In this study attended these gay bars in search of social and sexual relations. Also, male homosexuals were influenced in bar visitation by the reputation of a gay bar in their homosexual community. 2. In this sample of fifty male homosexuals, the most popular type of sexual interaction was fellatio and, of all respondents engaging in fellatio, mutual fellatio was the most commonly preferred interaction pattern. 3. This investigation indicates that male homosexuals have a definitive method for inducing a partner, while both are in the bar, to eventually depart for a sexual relation. This "cruising" system, which appears to consist of four distinct but interconnected stages of essentially silent, interactive behavior, is analyzed here. 4. In this study male homosexuals were found to hold many diverse occupations. Thus, popular stereotypes about exclusive participation of homosexuals only in certain occupations seems questionable. 5. The use of police decoys in gay bars is tentatively challenged by results of this investigation. The decoy typically cannot know a defendant's intent in the initial stages of the cruising operation. Yet it seems possible that the decoy may knowingly, with malice (mens rea), or unknowingly be engaged in inducing non-verbal interaction to solicit a proposition from a homosexual. The possibility of entrapment thus seems too great to continue justifiable use of decoys in gay bars. The principal conclusion of this investigation is that gay bars function almost as "private clubs" in meeting the social and sexual needs of homosexuals and thus, constitute a significant social institution for homosexual males.
Johnston, Robert Michael, "Social interaction in gay bars" (1972). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4951.
Northern Illinois University
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Includes bibliographical references (pages -140)