Adventures in Heteronormativity: The Straight Line from Liberace to Lawrence

24 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2012

See all articles by Joan W. Howarth

Joan W. Howarth

William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV; Michigan State University College of Law

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

The two particular adventures in heteronormativity inspected and juxtaposed here are sodomy statutes targeting homosexuals, the subject of a vast legal literature, and the hetero-sexualized popular culture of Las Vegas and Nevada, not previously a subject of legal scholarship. Anti-gay sodomy statutes and the hyper-sexualized culture of Las Vegas are not completely separate subjects: from 1977 to 1992, Nevada had a sodomy statute specifically targeting homosexual sex, one of just nine states to do so. Las Vegas may or may not represent the future of America, but it can certainly teach us something important about the cultural meanings of law and about the legal meanings of sexuality. Las Vegas is brash, loud and unabashedly about sex. The dominant culture of Las Vegas is an extreme commodification of sexuality. The city presents itself as a festival of pleasure for heterosexual men, with a stunning visual culture of commodified, sexualized images of available women. Las Vegas' image as the capital of extreme heteronormativity is part of the adventure.

Keywords: heteronormativity, LGBT, targeting homosexuals, sexualized culture, sex, Las Vegas, gay, lesbian, Liberace

Suggested Citation

Howarth, Joan W., Adventures in Heteronormativity: The Straight Line from Liberace to Lawrence (2004). Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 5, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2184885

Joan W. Howarth (Contact Author)

William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

Michigan State University College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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