Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Irene Froyland


Discrimination, persecution, violence and harassment of certain groups are not a new phenomenon. Legend has described the formation of groups who have been known to persecute others, such as Jews, blacks, religious orders, as a means of protecting the dominant views of society. Homosexually active men have been reported as being one such group that has been persecuted over time due exclusively to their sexual orientation. The purpose of this structured, descriptive study, was to describe the experience of what it feels like to be violated, harassed, persecuted or discriminated against due to sexual orientation, as well as to seek to explain homosexually active men's post-incident action. By adopting a phenomenological approach that focuses on the individual's lived experience, examining his thoughts, feelings, stresses and behaviours, this research moves beyond the findings of quantitative studies already reported. By offering a detailed description of the personal experiences of survivors, this study has identified the multidirectional and multi-leveled reactions experienced following any bias incident. The phenomenological approach has allowed for a more in-depth examination of the lived experience; identifying that survivors experience immediate emotional reaction, long term reactions and resulting behavioural practices as a result of the incident experienced. In noting the reactions reported in previous studies, this research has extended this knowledge and reports how these reactions are multifaceted and have different foci for different men. In addition to highlighting the dimensions and seriousness of the problem, this study provides information to those responsible for social, political and educational change.