|dc.description.abstract||A feminist point of view is used in this study of gay men living in a small, collegiate community who use leisure travel as a negotiation strategy to achieve freedom of expression. Feminism is concerned with equality, empowerment, social change, the elimination of invisibility and the distortion of situated experiences. Feminist research is no more defined by the sex of the researcher than by the sex of the researched.
Several in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants who revealed the complex nature of how many gay men pursue leisure experiences that are affirming to their gay self-identities in "Soledad." While gay meeting places and people exist in this small community, they remain mostly covert and invisible. Leisure travel to larger cities was a major negotiation strategy used to escape the stifling, hetero-normative community in which they lived. Escaping perceived hostilities was essential for gay men to feel comfortable exploring their homosexuality in a positive, affirming manner.
Furthermore, the benefits of leisure travel bled into the daily lives of gay men after leisure travel was performed. For instance, leisure travel helped gay men make other gay friends who helped them cope with their homosexuality, and, in the process, they helped them "learn" how to be gay. The skills and experiences these gay men acquired while pursuing leisure in other places helped them transform their daily lives and home community into a more bearable place to live, thereby making home an easier place to negotiate. Gay men were able to discover a whole new set of possibilities of how to express themselves and discovered a new "gaze" by which to view the world.
This research adds to the literature on travel and tourism, while expanding the information we have concerning the gay subculture that is becoming more socially and politically efficacious and economically powerful. Likewise, some of the gaps in the literature concerning leisure constraints and negotiation are also filled by this research.||en