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LGBTQ street youth talk back: a meditation on resistance and witnessing

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In this ethnography of LGBTQ street youth, I argue that despite the regulation and containment of their bodies, queer street youth consistently create spaces of resistance that move them away from the tropes of infection, contamination, and deservedness that are inscripted onto the bodies of queer youth. Using the work of feminist philosopher Maria Lugones, this essay articulates a framework for resistance researchers – scholars who enact a “faithful witnessing” in solidarity with the communities they are describing, a movement away from the radical othering that often happens in social science research. It is in this positioning as a faithful witness that researchers can attend to the deconstruction of the discursive climates of deficit tropes that obscure the gestures and maneuvers of resistance. The tropes of contamination and irresponsibility intersect many of the experiences of LGBTQ street youth in ways that implicate not only LGBTQ street youth, but also other marginalized bodies.
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Keywords: LGBTQ youth; intersectionality; resistance; urban ethnography; witnessing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Education,University of California Santa Cruz, Santa CruzCA, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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