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Queer Intersectionality and the Failure of Lesbian and Gay 'Victories'

40 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2006  

Darren Rosenblum

Pace Law School


This article defines queer intersectionality and then uses this concept to examine certain lesbian and gay rights litigation. Queer identity fundamentally intersects with other marginal identities of individuals and communities, and queer communities' legal needs vary along the lines of various classes, races, gender and sexual identifications. The intersectionality of class, race, sexual practice and gender preference and an implicit interrogation of the value of law in social change inform this critique. My examination of these cases will reveal how they grant some rights to but-for queers, who, but-for their being lesbian or gay, would be perfect citizens. The intersectionality of queer identity is the key blind spot in the litigation model. The queer continuum, a re-conceptualization of Adrienne Rich's lesbian continuum, delineates the spectrum of queer identity. The marginalizing and essentializing tendencies of litigation reveal it to be a flawed technique for change for queer communities. Reliance on litigation for the direction of the movement is dangerous because these essentializing and marginalizing aspects of litigation have the potential to further divide and weaken queer political strength.

Keywords: queer, lesbian, gay, intersectionality, civil rights, critical theory

Suggested Citation

Rosenblum, Darren, Queer Intersectionality and the Failure of Lesbian and Gay 'Victories'. Law and Sexuality, Vol. 4, 1994. Available at SSRN:

Darren Rosenblum (Contact Author)

Pace Law School ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States
914 422 4663 (Phone)

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