Previous Graduate Student News

Nathan Flaig MA Defence;
Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Dissertation Title:    
Straight Lines? Re-Reading the Discourse of Straight-Acting for Subversive Effect

Simon Fraser University, AQ 5119
August 8, 2017
2:00 pm                                 

Chair: 
Dr. Habiba Zaman, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Committee:                          
Dr. Jennifer Marchbank, Senior Supervisor, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
Dr. Peter Dickinson, Co-Supervisor, Department of English
Dr. Coleman Nye, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

SFU Examiner:                    
Dr. Dara Culhane, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract:

Engaging with a rich history of gay masculinities, this research analyzes the
contemporary discourse of straight-acting as a site of masculine identification for gay
men within the context of queer liberalism. Mapping the discourse from a
poststructuralist, queer perspective, straight-acting is on one hand theorized as a
continuation of a discourse that promotes a valorization of normative configurations of
masculinity, with an eye to its potential as a performative subversion of the ‘naturalness’
of heteromasculinity. Through an autoethnographic analysis of the geosocial gay hookup
app Grindr, the research argues that the contemporary discourse of straight-acting is
a reflection/function of particular neoliberal norms of self-discipline vis-à-vis the digital
app space. Conversely, the potentials for straight-acting to problematize the coherence
of a sexual binaristic logic points toward the destabilizing quality of straight-acting when
speculated upon beyond queer liberalist functions, turning to face the possibility of
resignification for subversive effect.

Keywords: Gay men; Straight-Acting; Masculinity; Queer; Discourse; Grindr