Degree Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

Advisor(s)

Anuradha Dingwaney Needham

Committee Member(s)

Meredith Raimondo
Pablo Mitchell

Keywords

Queer, Feminist, Coming out, Identity, Narrative, LGBT, Lesbian, Gay, Queer theory

Abstract

This project employs a queer and feminist lens to critique the prominence of the coming-out narrative in discourses surrounding queer life experiences, and configures alternative ways of thinking about these experiences. I conducted on-campus interviews with queer-identifying women about their identities and experiences with visibility and disclosure. I investigate in this project both the role that the coming-out narrative plays in shaping these stories and the radical possibilities embedded within these stories for new types of narrative. Guided by queer theory's complicated relationship with the notion of identity, I define and employ the concept of "queer alignment" as an alternative way of understanding what it might mean to "be queer," and I lay out two alternative formulations to the coming-out narrative; queer temporality and queer visibility. This project is not a comprehensive solution to the problem of the coming-out monolith, but a gesture towards the vast array languages and concepts that might be developed in order to describe and value a more diverse array of narratives of queer experience.

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