Item

The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life

title

The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life

author

Warner, Michael

publisher

Harvard University Press

pub year

2000

description

In this lively and surprising essay on the dangers of normalcy, Michael Warner sends a warning shot to the gay rights movement, which has cleaned up its image in order to blend in with the mainstream. By taking as its raison d'etre the fight for gay marriage, gay politics has abandoned its historic fight against the stigmatization of sex. But, as Warner shows, when gays agree to separate their 'sex' from their 'identity,' they are only rewarded with oppressive trends like stricter zoning of gay clubs and businesses, the 'Don't Ask/Don't Tell' policy in the military and, ironically, the 'Defense of Marriage' act. Warner presents a piercing and cogent analysis of the politics of shame and the stigma of sexual identity. He offers an alternative ethical vision that proclaims sex is as varied as the people who have it, and honesty and morality are not limited to those with a marriage license. His powerful indictment of all that's wrong with the trend to 'normalize' will spark heated debate among all readers; gay and straight, liberal and conservative.

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reviewer

Katie Arthur

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