"Oi! Skins": Trans-Atlantic Gay Skinhead Discourse on the Internet

James Haines (1)
(1) Department of English University of Oulu 90571 Oulu Finland , Finland


For about a year and a half now I have been studying non-racist and anti-racist skinheads and their look-alike neo-nazi "bonehead" cousins, using skin websites, e-mail lists and newsgroups as my primary source of data. As I have had no face-to-face contact with my informants, my approach might be called discourse-centered ethnography. At a Cultural Studies conference in June 1998 I reported on an ether community of US and Canadian gay skins that I have been monitoring since November 1997, the Queer Skinhead Brotherhood [QSB]. That report had its origins in a longer ethnography which was based on data gleaned from the QSB website, a QSB e-mail list, the home pages of several QSB list subscribers, and e-mail interviews and personal correspondence with a little over a tenth of the QSB membership. This ethnography is available on the web and has been linked to from the QSB website, which suggests that QSB members find it a fairly accurate report.

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See James Haines, “Gay Skinheads, ‘Isn’t That a Contradiction?’: Fighting to Claim an Identity That Fits,” pp. 84-5 in Pekka Rantanen (ed.) Abstracts: Crossroads in Cultural Studies, June 28-July 1, 1998, Tampere, Finland (University of Tampere, Finland: Department of Sociology and Social Psychology. Series B:39, 1998).

Queer Skinhead Brotherhood, Homepage. http://www.io.com/~qsb/ Unless otherwise stated, all URL addresses are those current in mid May 1999.

James Haines, “’Skinning the Queer’: An Internet Ethnography of the Queer Skinhead Brotherhood, http://www.ekl.oulu.fi/staff/james/paper7.htm

The “Straightedge” movement, with which some skinheads are affiliated. Straightedgers do not use drugs or intoxicants and refrain from sex until marriage (or, in the case of gay sXe, entering a committed relationship).

While this paper was being revised the San Francisco QSB affiliated crew split because some members refused to back other members up in a parking lot fight following an Oi! show.

QSBay Area. Homepage. http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/6163/QSBay_area.html 8 April 1998. This page is no longer on the web.

See “Welcome to the gay-skinheads” at http://public.diversity.org.uk/guides/london/gay-skin.html

There is an introduction to the #GAY-SKINHEADS chat channel at http://public.diversity.org.uk/gay-skinheads/ In principle any topic may be discussed on this channel. In practice it appears quite frequently to serve as a cruising ground. Since those who are logged on can enter into private discussions, any language might be used. The most frequent language for initial posts (to the channel as a whole) is English, though posts in German and Dutch are not rare.

It might be added that the list owner of SKINS lives for the greater part of the year in New York and while there is an active member of QSB’s New York crew, as is the list owner of OI, who also keeps the QSB website.

"Welcome to gay-skinheads", http://public.diversity.org.uk/guides/london/gay-skin.html 11 May 1999.

SHARP (Skinheads against Racial Prejudice) and ARA (Anti-Racist Action) are skinhead organizations founded in the United States in 1986 to combat racism and wrestle the skinhead image away from the neo-nazi “boneheads”. RASH is Red and Anarchist Skinheads. There are SHARP and RASH affiliated skinheads in Sweden and several other European countries.

Many gay skinheads on both sides of the Atlantic are also members of the S/M community, though a good number of gay skins on both continents prefer "vanilla" sex. Both the existence of S/M identified males who dress as skinheads without taking part in other aspects of skinhead culture and of non-skinhead men who seek out gay skinheads for S/M sex are sources of irritation to the majority of gay skins on both sides of the Atlantic.

KweerSkinCanada, http://gay.sexhound.net/kweerskincanada/index.html 11 May 1999. I have not been monitoring this website, but gay skinheads from the United States who have visited events arranged by the group in Toronto have commented on the relaxed atmosphere.

Watersports refers to the use of urine in sexual play.

Gay Skinhead Group, home page: http://homepage.virgin.net/gsg.skins The GSG website is fairly “tame”. I am also basing my assessment on the group’s zine Skinhead Nation. About half of each issue might be called “one-hand reading” material.

Fenix Gay Skinhead Nation, http://www.ping.be/fenix/

European Gay Skinhead Association, “Bienvenue sur le site…” http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/4010/ This website appears no longer to be being updated.

Although it does devote space to sex, the Gay Skinhead Movement - Sektion Deutschland website (http:www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Heights/2618/index.html) is closer to the North American pattern in emphasizing skinhead history and music.

This is a coded in which the numbers stand for letters of the alphabet so that 1 = 2, 8 = H.


James Haines
Haines, J. (1999). "Oi! Skins": Trans-Atlantic Gay Skinhead Discourse on the Internet. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 1(1), 1–06. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v1i1.349

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