Honour beliefs and identity among British South Asian gay men




Journal Title

Journal ISSN


Volume Title




Book chapter

Peer reviewed



Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in the United Kingdom have made significant strides in gaining equality over the last fifty years. Homophobia appears to be decreasing in British society. Many now feel able to disclose their identities to others. LGBT people are now able, and many choose, to get married and to become parents. Yet, the experience of ethnic and religious minority individuals who identify as LGBT does not fit comfortably within this narrative of equality. Many experience difficulties in reconciling their ethnicity, religion and sexuality, in obtaining parental acceptance of their sexual identity, and in coming out to significant others. They may face significant social and psychological stressors, such as rejection and discrimination, that adversely impact their identity, wellbeing and relationships (Jaspal, Lopes & Rehman, 2019). In some collectivist cultures, there are coercive beliefs regarding ‘honour’, its role in the family’s continuity and wellbeing, and the way in which it should be assessed, regulated and safeguarded (Soni, 2013). In these cultures, homosexuality may be regarded as a threat to honour and, thus, rejected as a cultural anomaly. LGBT people from collectivist cultural groups with strong honour beliefs may experience threats to their identity and negative emotional experiences and, consequently, feel unable to disclose their sexual identity to others. Some are clearly at risk of honour-based violence and forced marriage. As a case study, this chapter focuses on honour beliefs in the British South Asian community and the impact for identity and wellbeing among British South Asian gay men. Through the lenses of social representations theory and identity process theory from social psychology, this chapter focuses on the social psychological underpinnings of parental reactions to coming out, which may culminate in honour abuse and forced marriage, and identity and experience among British South Asian who come out as gay.



Gay men, BAME, BME, honour, Izzat


Jaspal, R. (2020) Honour beliefs and identity among British South Asian gay men. In M.M. Idriss and T. Abbas (eds.), Men, Masculinities and Honour-Based Violence. London: Routledge.


Research Institute

Mary Seacole Research Centre