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INTERSECTIONALITY, COGNITION, DISCLOSURE AND BLACK LGBT VIEWS ON CIVIL RIGHTS AND MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Is Gay the New Black?

  • C. Shawn McGuffey (a1)

Abstract

Intersectionality has contributed to the ongoing deconstruction of dichotomous and essentializing categories of identity and oppression. As some scholars have noted, however, intersectionality has debunked a sociobiological, single-node paradigm and unintentionally codified a deterministic form of social cognition. I suggest one mechanism for understanding how to untangle this intersectional dilemma: disclosure practices. Disclosure of stigmatized statuses can illuminate how macro level inequalities manifest in individual thought processes. This study adds to emerging research by showing how social actors rely on intersectional experiences to understand, think about, and frame complex social problems. I examine this topic via 197 interviews with 102 Black participants who identify as LGBT about their views on same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue before and after same-sex marriage was nationally legalized. Specifically, I argue that the Black LGBT participants’ experience with intersectional discrimination and their levels of sexual and gender identity disclosure account for their personal views on same-sex marriage and Black civil rights. Further, the majority of Black participants across disclosure practices viewed marriage equality as primarily benefitting the property interests of White gays and lesbians. Last, I discuss the implications of my findings for LGBT politics and the connections between self-interest and political perspectives.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Associate Professor C. Shawn McGuffey, Department of Sociology and Director of African & African Diaspora Studies, Boston College, 301D Lyons Hall, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. E-mail: mcguffey@bc.edu

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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
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