Navigating ‘safe’ and ‘non-safe’ queer spaces: A study of style-shifting in Singapore

Jill Khoo (Lead Author), Christian Ilbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

It is well documented that gay individuals adopt behavioural strategies to navigate the heteronormative expectations and norms of social space. These practices are likely to be particularly pronounced in socially conservative countries which have seen less progress for LGBTQ+ rights. This study examines how two gay men (Rui and Kenni) stylistically negotiate their sexual identities in a socially conservative country – Singapore – by analyzing the variation in two phonetic variables that have been linked to gender and sexuality: Pitch and /s/. We show that both speakers style-shift across queer-friendly and heteronormative environments though the rate and degree of shifting is influenced both by the situated social meanings of the features and the interactional context. Concluding, we argue that research should consider how minoritised individuals are required to style-shift in order to adhere to the hegemonic norms and expectations of society
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Language and Sexuality
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Sept 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • sexuality
  • style
  • style shifting
  • Singapore
  • gayness
  • identity


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