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Class and Habitus in the Formation of Gay Identities, Masculinities, and Respectability in Turkey

This article examines how gay men engage with masculine respectability in urban Turkey. Our analysis of twenty-four in-depth interviews in Ankara shows that gay men's self-presentation generally conforms to the expectations of masculine appearance and behavior in their class-based social circles. Thus we argue that social class and habitus are important for the norms of masculine respectability with a marked difference between lower-class/traditional middle-class and professional middle-class milieus. While family-dependent gay men in the lower class and traditional middle class often conform to hegemonic masculinity through their "family guy" performances and limit their sexual desires, professional middle-class gay men mobilize their social, economic, and cultural capital to carve out a gay life where they can perform a "sophisticated" gay identity and participate in a gay community, albeit in certain permitted domains.