Benevolent Heterosexism and the “Less-than-Queer” Citizen Subject

Langdridge, Darren (2018). Benevolent Heterosexism and the “Less-than-Queer” Citizen Subject. In: Hammack Jr., Phillip L. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Social Psychology and Social Justice. Oxford Library of Psychology. Oxford University Press, pp. 205–219.



This chapter explores the dangers of “benevolent heterosexism” through an analysis of the implicit assumptions underpinning research on sexual prejudice and “coming out.” Although there has been considerable progress in the West with regard to increasing rights for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer (LGBQ), this progress has been predicated on an individualistic liberal model of politics that is not without cost; namely, the danger of a gradual and pernicious assimilation and the growth of a “less-than-queer” citizen subject. This new sexual subject is being produced in psychological research that is ostensibly about advancing social justice for people who are LGBQ, as well as within the broader social world. All psychologists that are interested in social justice need to allow space—and indeed, embrace—the “anti-social” queer in order to realize the justifiable anger needed to effect radical social change for sexual minorities.

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