De-Moralizing Gay Rights

  • Cyril GhoshEmail author


In this introductory chapter, I synopsize the argument of the book. In so doing, I begin by pointing out that this book is intended as a polemic. I then delineate the argument in what follows. This book critically interrogates three sets of distortions in twenty-first century public discourse on LGBT+ rights in the United States. The first relates to the critique of pinkwashing, often advanced by scholars who claim to be proponents of a radical politics. I suggest that this critique sometimes suffers from analytical overreach. The second concerns a recent US Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), a judgment that established marriage equality across the 50 states. I argue that this judgment mobilizes the Court’s own endorsement of two elements of homonormativity: amatonormativity and repronormativity. Instead of endorsing homonormativity, the Court should have instead employed an approach based on decisional minimalism. The third distortion occurs in Kenji Yoshino’s theorization of the concept of gay covering. Yoshino’s calls to dismantle cultural demands for gay covering turn out, I argue, to constitute an oppressive command to “gay-flaunt.”


Amatonormativity Covering Homonormativity Repronormativity Marriage equality Pinkwashing Queer theory 


  1. BBC Newsbeat. 2015. “We Know What LGBT Means but Here’s What LGBTQQIAAP Stands for.” BBC News. June 25.
  2. Bercovitch, Sacvan. 1978. The American Jeremiad. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  3. Berlant, Lauren, and Michael Warner. 1995. “What Does Queer Theory Teach Us About X?” PMLA 110: 343–349.Google Scholar
  4. Butler, Judith. 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2004. “Gender Regulations.” In Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Duggan, Lisa. 2001. “Making It Perfectly Queer.” In Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, edited by Anne C. Hermann and Abigail J. Stewart, 215–231. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  7. Edelman, Lee. 2004. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Foucault, Michel. 1990. History of Sexuality. Vol. 1: An Introduction. New York: Vintage/Random House.Google Scholar
  9. Fraser, Nancy. 1995. “From Redistribution to Recognition: Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Postsocialist’ Age.” New Left Review 1/212 (July–August): 68–93.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1997. Justice Interruptus: Critical Reflections on the “Postsocialist” Condition. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Fraser, Nancy, and Axel Honneth. 2003. Redistribution or Recognition: A Political-Philosophical Exchange. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  12. Fuss, Diana. 1991. “Inside/Out.” In Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, edited by Diana Fuss, 1–10. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Ghosh, Cyril. 2013. The Politics of the American Dream: Democratic Inclusion in Contemporary American Political Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Heyes, Cressida. 2016. “Identity Politics.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta (Summer). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
  15. Jagose, Annamarie. 1996. Queer Theory: An Introduction. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kenny, Michael. 2004. The Politics of Identity: Liberal Political Theory and the Dilemmas of Difference. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kymlicka, Will. 1995. Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Markell, Patchen. 2003. Bound by Recognition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Namaste, Ki. 1994. “The Politics of Inside/Out: Queer Theory, Poststructuralism, and a Sociological Approach to Sexuality.” Sociological Theory 12 (2): 220–231.Google Scholar
  20. Phillips, Anne. 1993. Democracy and Difference. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. 1990. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  22. Taylor, Charles. 1994. “The Politics of Recognition.” In Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, edited by Amy Gutmann. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Wolbrecht, Christina, and Rodney E. Hero. 2005. The Politics of Democratic Inclusion. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Young, Iris Marion. 1990. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wagner CollegeStaten IslandUSA

Personalised recommendations