Faculty Publications

Title

'At least I'm not gay': Heterosexual identity making among poor black teens

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Adolescence, Gender, Heterosexism, Identity, Sexuality

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Sexualities

Volume

10

Issue

5

First Page

603

Last Page

622

Abstract

This ethnographic study examines the ways in which a group of American low-income Black teenagers construct affirming identities through heterosexuality. The youth undertake a number of strategies to create and protect their heterosexual identities, including adopting heterosexist ideologies, conflating heterosexuality with gender nonconformity, disassociating from gay-coded behaviors, and threatening nonconformists. These strategies allow girls and boys to fashion themselves as moral, legitimate, and superior to others: benefits they otherwise lack. While previous research suggests that policing sexuality is a way to construct masculinities, this study finds that policing gender is a way to affirm heterosexuality. © 2007 SAGE Publications.

Original Publication Date

12-1-2007

DOI of published version

10.1177/1363460707083171

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