The wide adaptation of mobile communication is affecting social inclusion by providing greater accesses to cultural and social resources. Mobile applications are ubiquitous, therefore affecting the way we understand society by aiding negotiations of identity and culture. Little academic work, however, has been done on the relations between personal mobile communication practices and social inclusion of marginalized populations, such as immigrant gay men. This research aims to explore the way immigrant gay men use mobile applications in identity and cultural negotiation, what is colloquially termed ‘coming out’. The primary research question is: What role do smartphone applications, such as Grindr and Jack'D, play in supporting identity construction, community-inclusion, and cultural adaptation of gay male immigrants in Toronto?
Although support for queer populations is well established in Toronto, many immigrant gay males state that communities are inaccessible due to unfamiliar local cultures and social norms (Gosine, 2007). Various social media, such as online communities and chat-rooms, however, allow those who are not included to gain access to the communities and cultural codes that enable them to better negotiate their sexual identity (Gross, 2003). This research aims to explore diverse identity negotiations among immigrant gay men and how they use smartphone applications as a means for enabling their access to local cultures and social networks.
This research findings form a limited yet growing body of knowledge on immigrant gay men’s social inclusion process and their use of information communication technologies in Canadian society. Community support groups can benefit from empirical evidence of early gay immigrants’ inclusion experiences. The findings from this research can aid in designing and providing better access to social and cultural support for marginalized groups. It can also provide immigration policymakers a means for establishing legislative support for marginalized communities. In addition, this study can also contribute to the development of ubiquitous computing platforms, mobile technology, and telecommunication networks that better serve the diverse communities that use them.
- Gosine, A. (2007). Brown to Blonde at Gay.com: Passing White in Queer Cyberspace. In K. &. O'Riordan, Oueer Online: Media Technology & Sexuality (pp. 139-154). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
- Gross, L. (2003). The Gay Global Village in Cyberspace. In J. Curran & N. Couldry. (Eds.), Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World (pp. 259-272). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.