CANCELLED | Whiteness, Masculinity, and the Remaking of Homosexual Sex

“It’s Not a Gay Thing; It’s a Guy Thing!”

Whiteness, Masculinity, and the Remaking of Homosexual Sex

Jane Ward


Co-sponsored by the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies

Thursday, October 20th, 2011 at 4 p.m.
Women and Gender Studies Institute lounge
2nd floor, Wilson Hall, 20 Willcocks Street


Although the U.S. media has recently been abuzz with commentary about heteroflexibility, most accounts have focused on “girls who kiss girls” for the pleasure of male spectators, or men of color “on the down low” who are presumed to be gay and in the closet.  But where do white men—the dominant culture’s most normalized and idealized figures—fit in to these narratives? In this talk, Ward traces straight white men’s homosexual encounters across multiple sites—including the United States military, online personal ads, the “college reality” genre of pornographic film, and the psychotherapeutic industry—illustrating the unique ways that white men leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men. Taking sex between straight white men as its point of departure, Ward’s project offers a new way to think about heterosexuality—not as the opposite or absence of homosexuality, but as its own unique mode of engaging homosexual sex, a mode characterized by pretense, disidentification and racialized, heteronormative investments.

Jane Ward is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of California Riverside. She is the author of Respectably Queer (Vanderbilt University Press, 2008), as well as several articles on queer politics, transgender relationships, heteroflexibility, the failure of diversity programs, and, most recently, queer motherhood. She teaches courses in feminist and queer studies.


Questions about this event? Contact Professor Judith Taylor: