Publication Details

Gorman-Murray, A. W. (2007). Reconciling self: gay men and lesbians using domestic materiality for identity management. In N. Stead & J. Prior (Eds.), Queer Spaces: Centres and Peripheries (pp. 1-7). Sydney: UTS.


This paper contributes to research on gay/lesbian experiences, meanings and uses of domestic environments by considering the role of domestic materiality in gay/lesbian identity management. Prior work shows that accumulating and arranging meaningful possessions in domestic space underwrites identity work. Drawing on in-depth interviews with gay/lesbian Australians, I apply this contention to gay/lesbian homemaking practices. In particular, conceptualising identity as fractured, I argue that maintaining domestic materiality reconciles diverse dimensions of multi-faceted selves. Different possessions embody different facets of self – sexuality, familial connections, cultural heritage, spiritual beliefs, inter alia. Juxtaposing these objects at home brings together the diverse fragments of self, materially embedding a holistic sense of self within domestic space. Domestic materiality thus (re)unites various dimensions of fractured selves, reconciling sexual identities with familial, ethnic and spiritual identities, inter alia. This reconciliatory function of material homemaking is a key way in which sexual identities are affirmed in the everyday lives of the gay/lesbian Australians.

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Queer Spaces: Centres and Peripheries Conference



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