Paper Title

“I Don’t Think of You as Gay:” Repositioning Lesbian Identity in Tolerant Places

Location

Evans Room, Third Floor, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

1-4-2016 12:00 AM

End Date

1-4-2016 12:00 AM

Keywords

lesbian, sexuality, intersectionality, tolerance

Abstract

In my role as teaching assistant and as a masculine of center lesbian that works in a heteronormative interpersonal violence prevention program designed to end rape culture on (our) campus, I see queer lives and experiences taken up and dismissed at the same time and find the embracement of not only lesbian identities but also queer politics to be contentious and precarious. Under a guise of false intersectionality, the campus and fellow academics make the claim of being inclusive and attentive allies, but continue to marginalize and other queer women. In exploring the ways that heterosexual “allies” take up issues of queer vulnerability to structural inequalities or social malice, I argue that they are exercising a pernicious form of entitlement that makes it difficult for queer women to have space to engage in LGBTQ topics and issues in “feminist” environments. Further, I examine the ways how misunderstood intersectional analyses recenters the heterosexual actor in a way that paints them as informed and enlightened. Finally, I delineate the ways that I have repositioned my lesbian identity in my teaching and research in response to a growing wave of heterosexual “allies” telling me about my experiences with the expectation of praise.

Comments

Also presenting in the "Identity and Fluidity in Gender Sexuality" panel. Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 2:00-3:15 pm.

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Apr 1st, 12:00 AM Apr 1st, 12:00 AM

“I Don’t Think of You as Gay:” Repositioning Lesbian Identity in Tolerant Places

Evans Room, Third Floor, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

In my role as teaching assistant and as a masculine of center lesbian that works in a heteronormative interpersonal violence prevention program designed to end rape culture on (our) campus, I see queer lives and experiences taken up and dismissed at the same time and find the embracement of not only lesbian identities but also queer politics to be contentious and precarious. Under a guise of false intersectionality, the campus and fellow academics make the claim of being inclusive and attentive allies, but continue to marginalize and other queer women. In exploring the ways that heterosexual “allies” take up issues of queer vulnerability to structural inequalities or social malice, I argue that they are exercising a pernicious form of entitlement that makes it difficult for queer women to have space to engage in LGBTQ topics and issues in “feminist” environments. Further, I examine the ways how misunderstood intersectional analyses recenters the heterosexual actor in a way that paints them as informed and enlightened. Finally, I delineate the ways that I have repositioned my lesbian identity in my teaching and research in response to a growing wave of heterosexual “allies” telling me about my experiences with the expectation of praise.