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“Born This Way”: Queer Vernacular and the Politics of Origins

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This essay critically examines debates about the supposed inborn nature of sexual orientation. Although popular discourses suggest that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic, several scholars and activists have argued there is danger in postulating same-sex desire is innate. This analysis looks to another feature of the controversy, arguing that when queers themselves utilize “born this way” rhetoric, they frequently do so in surprising ways that rest outside dichotomist forms of reasoning. Exploring posts on the “Born This Way” blog, this essay argues that vernacular appropriations of the phrase are more fluid among LGBT publics than often imagined, allowing for a rethinking of the epistemology of the closet.
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Keywords: LGBT; Queer; Vernacular; “Born This Way”

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 3, 2014

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