Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

8-2016

Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

Drawing from performance, affect, and queer theories, I explore how queer identity is storied, performed, and sensed in everyday life. I access performance and sensory ethnographic practices to examine how queer persons “do” their identities on a daily basis. I draw from data collected through ethnographic participation in a queer-friendly district of Columbus, Ohio in addition to in-depth interviews with fourteen self-identified queer persons I met through my fieldwork. My approach privileges observations and reflections of mundane moments of everyday life to position queer identity as a routine, repetitive, habitual, and otherwise performative practice. I question the emphasis on verbal disclosures of queer identity in both academic literature and lived experience by positing a distinction between “coming out” and “being out.” Working from this distinction, I investigate the purpose of queer identity stories, how queer identity is embodied, the affect generated by queer identity, and the way a cohesive queer community is challenged by differences in identity performances.

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