The incredible shrinking lesbian world and other queer conundra

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15 Scopus citations


This is a reflection on the state of lesbian identity politics, focusing on claims that lesbian subcultures are shrinking and even dying. Current fears focus on the increasingly permeable boundaries between butch lesbians and female-to-male transgender individuals, but its history is much longer. What we are seeing, quite possibly, is the exhaustion of a particular historical construction: a group of individuals who are defined primarily on the basis of their sexuality, and the rise of more specific identities which combine sexual preference, gender presentation and other modes of identification. This was the first annual Sally Miller Gearhart Lecture in Lesbian Studies, sponsored by the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon, in May 2009.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Anthropology


  • Identity politics
  • Lesbianism
  • Sexual boundaries
  • Specificity
  • Transgender

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