Monsters in the Closet: The Affective Spaces of (Not) Coming Out as a Violent Man

Keywords: affect, coming out, disclosure, space, masculinity, violence,


From its origins in the LGBTQ community, coming out has become a narrative genre describing the experiences of recognizing and disclosing a variety of other stigmatized positions, including that of male perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Drawing on interviews with forty-four partner-violent men in Sweden, this paper explores how closets and outcomes are both discursively and spatially produced. It analyses the affective spaces of men’s coming-out stories, particularly how and where they disclose their violence, and how friends and others respond to their abuse. Violent men’s coming-out stories have similarities with those of other stigmatized groups. Since they experience their violence as shameful, they find it difficult to share their experiences with others and are careful not to be seen when seeking therapeutic help. At times, rumours about their violence circulate in their workplaces and cities, which affects the men’s feelings and movement in urban space. Their narratives have some unique aspects. While disclosing their violence, the men distance themselves from being categorized as violent men and their coming-out stories are not narratives of embracing a fixed identity. In addition, their narratives obscure their abuse and oppression of their victims. 

Author Biography

Lucas Gottzén, Stockholm University
Associate Professor, Department of Child and Youth Studies
How to Cite
Gottzén, Lucas. 2017. “Monsters in the Closet: The Affective Spaces of (Not) Coming Out As a Violent Man”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 16 (3), 528-47.
Themed Section - Critical Geographical Queer Semiotics (Guest Eds. M. Zebracki and T. Milani)