Who’s really normal? Language and sexuality in public space
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
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Despite recent claims that (public) gay spaces as we know them no longer need to exist (Aguirre-Livingston 2011), many queer scholars have shown that this is not historically the case (e.g. Manalansan 2003). In order to examine the issue of language and sexuality in public spaces, this paper uses ethnographic data collected among members of a university queer group in southern California to demonstrate role and regulation of ‘inclusive language’ — language that seeks to remain gender-neutral and non-exclusionary for personal identity labels — in the attempts to create what are known as safe spaces, both private and public. While a need for such spaces comes from a reaction to social privilege and normative expectations commonly found in public spaces, in many respects, the material reality of safe spaces would not be possible without regulating language used in this setting.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): normativity.; privilege; public spaces; queer identity; safe spaces
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