I am a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research focuses on the intersection between race and sexuality in queer populations. My current project is an ethnography of Chicago’s gay neighborhood Boystown, focused on how sexual assimilation of queer enclaves reinforces racial assimilation and gentrification. American LGBTQ communities are trading their unique sexual cultures for “normality.” I argue that sex—the act, not merely alternative identities—helps constitute communities. Alternative sexual cultures infuse spaces with a sexiness that fosters diversity, but, paradoxically, queer people protect these spaces in discriminatory ways. As Boystown adopts a more heterosexual sexual culture, Chicago’s LGBTQ communities perceive the area as whiter.
I am also a scholar of identity management theory. My theory of strategic outness–the continual contextual management of queer identity–is a sociological alternative to developmental coming out theories. The latest articulations can be found in Sexualities and The Sociological Quarterly. I use qualitative methods, including ethnographic participant observation, in-depth interviewing, and autoethnography. My book on qualitative methods Context is Everything, co-authored with Michael Bell, is currently under contract with Routledge. I received my M.S. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and my B.A in Sociology and Humanities with a focus on Queer Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
You can find me also at my ethnography blog, Queer Metropolis.
For a description of my current research in nontechnical language–using only the 1000 most common english words–see here.