What Gay Community?: Considering Queer Life/Communities Outside of the Middle Class

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Svenson, Eri
Gender and Sexuality; Sociology
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Research in sociological sexuality studies historically reflected the biases of dominant groups. If non-dominant groups were studied at all, the research was typically conducted by members of the dominant group and interpreted through “othering” frameworks. Often, these groups were excluded altogether as findings regarding the experiences of the dominant group were assumed to be universally applicable to all social categorizations of people. This research trajectory produced a body of problematic, incomplete work. However, in her 1989 analysis of violence against women of color, Kimberle Crenshaw first established intersectionality theory which considers a person’s various social positions (race, sexuality, gender, social class). Thus, a woman of color will not experience patriarchy in the same way as a white woman, nor will she experience racism in the same way as a man of color. Since then, sociologists have applied intersectionality to a number of different categorizations. However, to date there has been little research on the intersection of sexuality and social class. This gap is particularly problematic considering the influence social class has on the organization of the social world. My research examines the intersection of social class and sexuality in the lives of homeless queer youth in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.