Straights

Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted Culture

James Joseph Dean

NYU Press (publisher)

Since
the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the politics of sexual identity in America have
drastically transformed. It’s almost old news that recent generations of
Americans have grown up in a culture more accepting of out lesbians and gay
men, seen the proliferation of LGBTQ media representation, and witnessed the
attainment of a range of legal rights for same-sex couples. But the changes
wrought by a so-called “post-closeted culture” have not just affected the queer
community—heterosexuals are also in the midst of a sea change in how their
sexuality plays out in everyday life. In Straights,
James Joseph Dean argues that heterosexuals can neither assume the invisibility
of gays and lesbians, nor count on the assumption that their own
heterosexuality will go unchallenged. The presumption that we are all
heterosexual, or that there is such a thing as ‘compulsory heterosexuality,’ he
claims, has vanished.

Based on 60 in-depth interviews with
a diverse group of straight men and women, Straights explores how straight Americans make sense of their sexual and gendered
selves in this new landscape, particularly with an understanding of how race
does and does not play a role in these conceptions. Dean provides a historical
understanding of heterosexuality and how it was first established, then moves
on to examine the changing nature of masculinity and femininity and, most
importantly, the emergence of a new kind of heterosexuality—notably, for men,
the metrosexual, and for women, the emergence of a more fluid sexuality. The
book also documents the way heterosexuals interact and form relationships with
their LGBTQ family members, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Although
homophobia persists among straight individuals, Dean shows that being
gay-friendly or against homophobic expressions is also increasingly common
among straight Americans. A fascinating study, Straights provides an in-depth look at the changing nature of
sexual expression in America. 

Instructors: PowerPoint slides for each chapter are available by clicking on the files below.
 Introduction

 Chapter 1

 Chapter 2

 Chapter 3

 Chapter 4

 Chapter 5

 Chapter 6

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