Sexual Straightjackets & Queer Escapes


The US has progressed to a time of sexual liberation—or so we are told. Gays can marry or join the military. Gay couples can establish nuclear families and rear children.  Isn’t that equality?

But what if “gay equality” is also a sort of sexual straightjacket that locks us into older notions of gender, family norms, the role of biology and patriotism? What if the only way to escape is through a feminist analysis of marriage, family, the military and a resurgence of biological explanations for everything from sexual orientation to shyness?

This symposium explores how institutions embedded in patriarchy and racial hierarchies- like marriage, the military and science—are not necessarily a path to freedom, but a kind of sexual straitjacket.  It also explores the possibility of queer solutions.

The events highlight the continued salience of queer studies and queer theories.  Rather than mourn the death of queer theory the symposium signals the important contributions this analytical framework can make to the liberal arts.



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