Young Gay Men and Social Control in Modern Britain, 1967 - 2001
This thesis is an exploration of young gay identity and it argues for a varied experience over time and across place, which was also affected by methods of social control during the era of partial decriminalisation, between 1967 and 2001. These differing experiences have not previously been explored when looking specifically at gay men under the age of 21. It is therefore a much-needed addition to the dearth of historical scholarship on young gay men. The thesis has two focal points. Firstly, it explores the differing experiences of a hidden minority group, looking to uncover their different identities as gay teenagers. The scope is between 1967 and 2001 because it represents the legislative boundaries in place during changes to the age of consent for homosexual relationships. Secondly, it incorporates major mechanisms of social control within the analysis to determine that youth homosexual identity is affected by imposed social restrictions, including the age of consent, Section 28, the AIDS Crisis, and parental control. It argues against previous scholars who have determined that there is an absence of the young gay voice in the available evidence during this period. Using a varied source base, including public and private written documents, oral histories and personal written testimonies it explores young gay identity across three decades.
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