This study introduces a theoretical framework grounded in intersectionality to the study of identity-based groups in politics, raising and addressing the following questions: how within group marginalization develops, why within group marginalization occurs, and to what effect? By focusing on the construction of the LGBT group and through discourse analysis of three bodies of archival evidence from 1968 through 2001 – the institutional records of several national LGBT interest groups and social movements, a variety of LGBT publications, and transcripts of germane debates from the Congressional Record – this study shows how political actors framed the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities as a cohesive and unified coalition by presenting LGBT people as a minority group defined along a single axis of identity: sexuality. The unity of this new LGBT minority group – organized exclusively around sexuality – was achieved by foregrounding the political interests of gender-normative lesbians and gay men, particularly those who are white, middle-class, able bodied, and gender normative. Consequently, issues such as marriage and second-parent adoption were elevated as the predominant political interests on behalf of the LGBT group, while others, such as the passage of gender-inclusive employment anti-discrimination legislation or political mobilizations to end the documentation of sex on state documents, were deprioritized. Throughout this study, attention is drawn to the ways in which this projection of LGBT group unity obscured intersecting identifications, such as race, gender, class, nation, ability, and immigration status, with significant political and material consequences for the most marginalized members of the LGBT minority group: people of color, people who are transgender, lesbians, people who are gender nonconforming, people who are poor or homeless, people with disabilities, and people who are undocumented.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2016. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Dara Strolovitch. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 289 pages.
Brokering Identity: Exploring The Construction Of Lgbt Political Identity And Interests In U.S. Politics, 1968-2001.
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