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Black Queer Identity Matrix

Towards An Integrated Queer of Color Framework


Sheena C. Howard

This volume launches the first sustained discussion of the need for a queer of color conceptual framework around Black, lesbian female identity. Specifically, this volume addresses the necessity for a more integrated framework within queer studies, in which the variables of race/ethnicity are taken into consideration. This book is unique in that it highlights a triple-jeopardy minority group that has been historically marginalized and concludes with the proposal of a much-needed framework for researchers to begin to create a baseline of knowledge/research under the umbrella of the Black Queer Identity Matrix.
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Chapter 4: Black Queer Identity Matrix: Theoretical Framework



Black Queer Identity Matrix: Theoretical Framework

As discussed throughout this volume, we are in desperate need of paradigmatic inquiry around the intersections of gender, sexual orientation, and race/ ethnicity. Current literature around queer studies does not adequately acknowledge the complexities of racial/ ethnic identity coupled with gender in expressing, negotiating, and constructing identity. Rather than an attempt to theorize the spectrum of racial minorities that also identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) and hence speak for and about experiences of which I am not fully familiar, I will restrict my theorizing to Black lesbian women with the expectation that this framework may be heuristically adequate in expanding across Black queer identities and other racial minorities within the LGBTQ community.

The development of the Black Queer Identity Matrix is grounded in the work of scholars in the fields of anthropology, rhetoric, sociology, and communication. Such an acknowledgment is important in encouraging the reader to identify and understand how the Black Queer Identity Matrix described in this book is found largely within existing work in critical and interpretive theory. This chapter describes three specific theoretical frameworks—Afrocentricity, standpoint theory, and matrix of domination—that facilitated the development of a paradigm that addresses the communicative experiences of Black lesbian women within the structures of dominant society.

Across the next several pages, tenets of Nancy C. M. Hartsock’s standpoint theory (1998), Molefi Asante’s Afrocentricity (1988), and Patricia Hill Collins’s (1986) matrix...

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