Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kemesha Gabbidon, Ph.D., MPH

Committee Member

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vicky Phares, Ph.D.


Descriptive phenomenology, Emerging adulthood, Gender identity, Masculinity, Sexual orientation


Traditional masculine gender stereotypes often suggest that men should be strong, assertive, and athletic, and these stereotypes promote men’s dominance in society and gender inequality. Endorsement of masculine stereotypes may also contribute to heterosexual men being more prejudiced against queer men. Queer men experience unique difficulties in their quest to abide by social norms defining manhood. Research using the precarious manhood theory suggests that manhood is difficult to obtain and even more challenging to maintain. Given the emerging nature of precarious manhood studies, little is known about young men’s perceptions of the precarious nature of manhood and how this may differ across sexual orientation and gender identity. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with young men ages 18-24 and analyzed using thematic analysis rooted in descriptive phenomenology. Participants included four heterosexual-cisgender men and six queer (non-heterosexual and/or transgender) men. Three themes emerged from participants’ discussions: (a) manhood and masculine traits are non-synonymous, (b) selective endorsement of sociocultural values, and (c) salience of manhood. Within each theme, there are subthemes that demonstrate the similarities and differences between heterosexual-cisgender men and queer men. The findings from this study may demonstrate a generational shift in perceptions of manhood and have implications for clinicians with diverse male patients.

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