Complicating Out: The Case of Queer Femmes

In Kelby Harrison & Dennis Cooley (eds.), Passing/Out: Sexual Identity Veiled and Revealed. Ashgate. pp. 43-74 (2012)

Authors
Susanne Sreedhar
Boston University
Alice MacLachlan
York University
Abstract
We take up questions of passing/outing as they arise for those with queer femme identities. We argue that for persons with female-identified bodies and queer, feminine (‘femme’) gender identities, the possibilities above may not exist as distinct options: for example, what it means to ‘pass’ or ‘cover’ is not always distinguishable – conceptually or in practice – from living authentically and resisting heteronormative identification: i.e. the conditions of being ‘out’. In some ways, these conflations privilege queer femmes; in others, femmes find themselves implicated in a political double bind. We contend that this example problematizes the very concepts of passing and outing, and the political and ethical demands that are taken to arise from them. We conclude by exploring what it means to live queer femme identity responsibly and what this means for the ethics of sexual identity more generally.
Keywords Passing/Out  LGBTQ  Femme  Moral Responsibility
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