Queer Sociologist and Writer


My book, Boystown, is under contract with University of Chicago Press. Based on three years of ethnography in Chicago’s gay neighborhood, Boystown  examines the importance of sex to queer communities. Boystown is trading its radical sexual culture for normality, transforming into a “gay disneyland” through heritage commodification by business owners. The “sexy communities” that embody radical sexuality foster racial diversity by building sexual kinship through ritual moments of collective effervescence, what I call “naked intimacy.” Boystown is about the power of sex to connect across racial boundaries, the commodification of gay male culture, and the intertwined sexism and heterosexism that supports respectability. I wrote Boystown in a creative nonfiction style that allows sociologists, their students, and lay readers to learn from Boystown’s queer lessons.

I am also a qualitative methodologist and teacher. I am lead author on a co-authored textbook on qualitative methods, An Invitation to Qualitative Fieldwork, published next year from Routledge. Unlike many qualitative methods books, we bridge the “how-to” and “why-to” with exercises to actually show how to create key documents like interview guides and practice skills like participant observation. We focus on the interacting logics within projects: the voice of participants, the voice of the academic community, and the researcher’s voice. I’ve used these exercises and frameworks to consult on qualitative projects around University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As scholar of identity management, 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 

You can occasionally find me at my ethnography blog, Queer Metropolis.