In television shows such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and movies like Brokeback Mountain, as well as gay young adult novels and other media coverage of queer people--including the outing of several prominent Republicans--queer lives are becoming more visible in the media and in U.S. culture more generally. How does the increasing visibility of queer subjects within mainstream culture affect possibilities for radical and transformative queer activism? Provocative and challenging, W. C. Harris argues that rather than simply being a cause for celebration, this "mainstreaming" of queer lives may have as many negative effects as positive ones for contemporary gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Harris builds on the work of queer and political theorists such as Eve Sedgwick, David Halperin, Michael Warner, and Wendy Brown to examine the side effects that can be generated when queers assimilate, and argues for a reinvigorated queer essentialism in order to claim a separate and visible political and activist space within U.S. culture.
About the Author
W. C. Harris is Associate Professor of English at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and also author of E Pluribus Unum: Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Constitutional Paradox.