Disabled Gay Men and Manchester's Gay Village: The Sociallly and Spatially Constituted Gay Body

C. Blyth

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


The aim of this study is to critically examine the experiences of disabled gay men who have accessed Manchester???s commercial gay space known locally as the ???Village???.The thesis provides an initial exploration of how, in recent years, there has been an increasing rejection of the dominant medical and deficit based conceptualisation of disability. Many academics researching in this area have proposed a model of ???thinking??? about disability that explicitly rejects the notion that it arises from any essentialist biological origin and have sought to highlight how it is society that disables people and not their bodies. This change of focus from the body to society has led to the development of the specific academic discipline that is today called ???Disability Studies???. Concentrating on this discipline, the thesis critically explores the dominant model for understanding disability; ???the social model of disability??? and suggests that, in relation to disabled gay men, this model may only provide limited conceptual usefulness. Following on from this, an alternative conceptualisation of disability is provided that seeks to ???propose an embodied, rather than disembodied, notion of disability??? (Hughes and Patterson 1997:326).Adopting such an approach, the research, through an interpretative analysis of narratives provided by 12 disabled gay men who have spent time in Manchester???s commercial gay space, explores how the participants have come to understand the space and their positions within in it. The findings of the research indicate that these men viewed the Village as a space that they are both explicitly and implicitly denied access to. The participants discuss what they see as the bodily attributes that men are required to possess in order to gain access to the space. They go on to describe how a form of ???gay obsession??? with bodily perfection, youthfulness, physical prowess and sexual imagery all act as regulatory agents enforcing what many perceived to be the unattainable ???entry requirements??? of the space.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Manchester
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Sexuality
  • Disability
  • Space


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