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From: Straights

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>> 269 Notes Notes to the Introduction 1. My brother and I identify as racially mixed due to the racial identities of our white father and Mexican American mother, but phenotypically, we appear white to others in social interactions due to our light-skinned complexions. 2. Of course, issues of sexualities, gender, and race are as salient for nonblack people of color (see, for example, the excellent collection of essays on Latina/o sexualities edited by Marysol Asencio [2010]; on Asian American sexualities, see Russell Leong’s [2011] edited volume). 3. It should be noted that the question was asking whether same-sex relations should be decriminalized, not whether same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry. 4. I thank Nancy Fischer for suggesting to me the phrase “strongly aversive.” 5. However, in order to maintain a sense of place, I have not changed the names of past cities mentioned by the interviewees in their quotes. As most of the interviewees grew up in cities throughout the Northeast, this maintains the study’s sense of location in this region without revealing the interviewees’ actual identities. Note to Chapter 1 1. Of course, focusing on gay marriage as the most highly esteemed arrangement for queers’ intimate relationships means devaluing nonmarried LGBT relationships . At the same time, it is important to sociologically study the shifts in the closet in the historical present to understand the alterations in the homo/heterosexual binary through the new and unprecedented patterns of a post-closeted culture, which should not be taken for granted or rhetorically dismissed as simply homonormative (see Barton 2012; Butler 2004, 5; and Lewin 2009, 7–9). Notes to Chapter 2 1. Although I use the term “masculinity,” I acknowledge the historian Gail Bederman ’s (1995) careful historicizing of this term and its emergence in the 1890s in efforts to shore up ideologies of men’s status. Bederman’s study provides an edifying discussion of the differences between definitions of manliness and masculinity and the sociohistorical reasons for the latter’s development in America at this time (see especially pp. 16–20). 270 > 271 behaviors and desires orientated to the other—as opposed to the same—gender. Femininities are gender practices that generally refer to women and female bodies but may include men and nonfemale bodies as well (Schippers 2007). 4. The queer theorist Steven Seidman (2009), though, does differentiate normative heterosexuality as more sociological in its theorizing of heterosexual domination and homosexual subordination, arguing that normative heterosexuality more clearly links the enforcement of heterosexuality in social institutions and relations than the term “heteronormativity.” For him, heteronormativity has been generally used in exclusively cultural critiques and textual analyses, as opposed to empirical analyses of the enforcement of normative heterosexuality . Also see Barry Adam’s (1998) discussion of the terms “heteronormativity,” “homophobia,” and “heterosexism” for a similar position to Seidman’s. Other sociologists, like Karin Martin (2009), have bypassed this debate over terminology and empirically embraced “heteronormativity,” aiming to spell out its sociological value through research. Seidman also views compulsory heterosexuality as theorizing an overly strong “gender structuralism,” one that is no longer sociohistorically accurate in describing many American women’s lives. I don’t disagree with his assessment of the relations between men and women, but I also don’t think we have to relegate compulsory heterosexuality to the decades of the 1970s and 1980s. My usage of “compulsory heterosexuality” embraces a weak notion of gender structure, one meant to understand its shifts historically. 5. Similarly, I think Connell’s notion of hegemonic masculinity, while perhaps it does emphasize more the gender order over the sexual order, allows the theorization of gender and sexualities more clearly than simply heteronormativity in understanding the social construction of straight masculinities. 6. The sociologist Patricia Hill Collins ([1990] 2000, 89–90) observes that black women’s beauty is devalued in a hierarchy where white features, as represented through lighter skin color, hair texture, and other phenotypical characteristics, are deemed more beautiful and desirable than black ones. Racial and racist discourses, moreover, generally construct black bodies and sexualities as hypersexual (Collins [1990] 2000, 2004; D’Emilio and Freedman 2012). This hypersexual discourse stigmatizes black women’s femininities as masculine. The stereotypical images of hypersexual welfare queens with several young children or hypersexed black women dancers in “strip hop” music videos reinforce this point, for example (Collins 2004; Hunter 2010). 7. The women interviewed identified as black or white heterosexual women with the exception of one of the black...


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