Masculinity and the Gay Games: A Consideration of Hegemonic and Queer Debates

  • Nigel Jarvis
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences book series (GSSS)


Travel to formal organised lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) sport networks and related events is a recent occurrence. This largely conceptual chapter focuses specifically on how alternative and lesser-known sport tourism events, such as the Gay Games, provide an opportunity to investigate masculinity. While much literature and research on sport and the Gay Games also relates to women’s participation, this chapter focuses on the implications of gay men taking part in this athletic event. The Gay Games potentially represent a significant transgressive and alternative space in the world of sport because they involve high levels of tourist and international mobility. The two theoretical frameworks that are used in this chapter to help understand masculinity debates related to the Gay Games are hegemony and queer theory. Hegemony theory is one of the most popular and fruitful strands of the neo-Marxist approach to the sociological study of sport, while the young roots and contested nature of queer theory offers a more contemporary consideration.


Sport Event Traditional Notion Hegemonic Masculinity Queer Theory Host City 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allain, K. A. (2008) ‘Real fast and tough: The construction of Canadian hockey masculinity’, Sociology of Sport Journal, 25(4): 462–81.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, E. (2009) Inclusive Masculinity: The Changing Nature of Masculinities. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, E. (2010) ‘Inclusive masculinity theory and the gendered politics of men’s rugby’, Journal of Gender Studies, 19(3): 249–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beasley, C. (2008) ‘Rethinking hegemonic masculinity in a globalizing world’, Men and Masculinities, 11(1): 86–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Casey, M. E. (2009) ‘Tourist gay(ze) or transnational sex: Australian gay men’s holiday desires’, Leisure Studies, 28(2): 157–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caudwell, J. (ed.) (2006) Sport, Sexualities and Queer/Theory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Caudwell, J. (2011) ‘Does your boyfriend know you’re here? The spatiality of homophobia in men’s football culture in the UK’, Leisure Studies, 30(2): 123–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Connell, R. W. (1990) ‘An iron man: The body and some contradictions of hegemonic masculinity’, in M. Messner and D. Sabo (eds) Sport, Men and the Gender Order. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, pp. 83–114.Google Scholar
  9. Connell, R. W. (1995) Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  10. Connell, R. (2008) ‘Masculinity construction and sports in boys’ education: A framework for thinking about the issue’, Sport, Education and Society, 13(2): 131–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davidson, J. (2006) ‘The necessity of queer shame for gay pride: The Gay Games and cultural events’, in J. Caudwell (ed.) Sport, Sexualities and Queer/Theory. London: Routledge, pp. 90–105.Google Scholar
  12. Davidson, J. (2012) ‘Racism against the abnormal? The twentieth-century Gay Games, biopower and the emergence of homonational sport’, Leisure Studies, 16(4): 1–22.Google Scholar
  13. Duggan, L. (2003) The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on American Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  14. Elling, A., Knoppers, A. and de Knop, P. (2001) ‘The social integrative meaning of sport: A critical and comparative analysis of policy and practice in the Netherlands’, Sociology of Sport Journal, 18(4): 414–34.Google Scholar
  15. Elling, A., Knoppers, A. and de Knop, P. (2003) ‘Gay/Lesbian sport clubs and events: Places of homo-social bonding and cultural resistance?’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 38: 441–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. FGG (2012a) Mission, vision and values, Online. Available at: (accessed 15 May 2012).Google Scholar
  17. FGG (2012b) History of the FGG and the Gay Games, Online. Available at: (accessed 15 May 2012).Google Scholar
  18. Hargreaves, J. A. (2000) Heroines of Sport: The Politics of Difference and Identity. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Higham, J. and Hinch, T. (2009) Sport and Tourism: Globalization, Mobility and Identity. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  20. Howson, R. (2008) ‘Hegemonic masculinity in the theory of hegemony, a brief response to Christine Beasley’s rethinking hegemonic masculinity in a globalizing world’, Men and Masculinities, 11(1): 109–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hughes, H. (2006) ‘Gay and lesbian festivals: Tourism in the change from politics to party’, in D. Picard and M. Robinson (eds) Festivals, Tourism and Social Change. Clevedon: Channel View Publications, pp. 238–54.Google Scholar
  22. Hughes, H. and Deutsche, R. (2010) ‘Holidays of older gay men: Age or sexual orientation as decisive factors?’, Tourism Management, 31(4): 454–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Irvine, J. (1998) ‘A place in the rainbow: Theorizing lesbian and gay culture’, in P. Nardi and B. Schneider (eds) Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader, London: Routledge, pp. 573–88.Google Scholar
  24. Jarvis N. (2006) ‘Ten men out: Gay sporting masculinities in softball’, in J. Caudwell (ed.) Sport, Sexualities and Queer/Theory. London: Routledge, pp. 62–75.Google Scholar
  25. Jones, L. and McCarthy, M. (2010) ‘Mapping the landscape of gay men’s football’, Leisure Studies, 29(2): 161–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. King, S. (2008) ‘What’s queer about (queer) sport sociology now? A review essay’, Sociology of Sport Journal, 25: 419–42.Google Scholar
  27. Maguire, J. (1999) Global Sport. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  28. Messner, M. (1992) Power at Play: Sports and the Problem of Masculinity. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  29. Pringle, R. (2005) ‘Masculinities, sport and power’, Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 29(3): 256–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pritchard, A., Morgan, N., Sedgley, D., Khan, E. and Jenkins, A. (2000) ‘Sexuality and holiday choices: Conversations with gay and lesbian tourists’, Leisure Studies, 19: 267–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pronger, B. (1990) The Arena of Masculinity. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  32. Pronger, B. (2000) ‘Homosexuality and sport: Who’s winning?’, in J. M. McKay, M. Messner and D. Sabo (eds) Masculinities, Gender Relations and Sport. London: Sage, pp. 222–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Robertson, S. (2003) ‘If I let a goal in, I’ll get beat up: Contradictions in masculinity, sport and health’, Health Education Research, 18: 706–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sykes, H. (2006) ‘Queering theories of sexuality in sport studies’, in J. Caudwell (ed.) Sport, Sexualities and Queer/Theory. London: Routledge, pp.13–32.Google Scholar
  35. Symons, C. (2010) The Gay Games: A History. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Theberge, N. (2000) ‘Gender and sport’, in J. Coakley and E. Dunning (eds) Handbook of Sports Studies. London: Sage, pp. 322–33.Google Scholar
  37. Urry, J. and Sheller, M. (2004) Tourism Mobilities: Places to Stay, Places in Play. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Visser, G. (2008) ‘The homonormalisation of white heterosexual leisure space in Bloemfontein, South Africa’, Geoforum, 39: 1344–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Waitt, G. (2003) ‘Gay games: Performing “community” out from the closet of the locker room’, Social & Cultural Geography, 4(2): 167–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wellard, I. (2006) ‘Exploring the limits of queer and sport: Gay men playing tennis’, in J. Caudwell (ed.) Sport, Sexualities and Queer/Theory. London: Routledge, pp. 76–89.Google Scholar
  41. Williams, R. (1961) The Long Revolution. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Nigel Jarvis 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nigel Jarvis

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations