Research

My academic work focuses on the intersection between race and sexuality, especially in queer cultures and communities. My current project examines sexual stratification and assimilation in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood. Previous projects focused on identity management of queer identities, commonly called ‘coming out.’ 

Peer Reviewed Publications:

Orne, Jason. 2013. “Queers in the Line of Fire: Goffman’s Stigma Revisited.” The Sociological Quarterly. 54(2): 229-253. (Link)

ABSTRACT: Using data from in-depth interviews with young queer people, this article proposes revisions for four areas of Goffman’s classic work, Stigma. Interviews reveal a situation between complete acceptance of queer identity and outright hostility, which I term “being in the line of fire,” and three strategies participants use to manage their identity in this situation. Unlike classical identity management, this project considers how their “double consciousness” allows them to respond to stigmatizing situations while remaining insulated from the negative appraisals of others. Instead, they orient toward educating the stigmatizer, minimizing interaction by tailoring their identity, or disengaging. I use these strategies to demonstrate that identity management theory does not properly consider possible responses to hostile reactions, the diversity of stigmatized groups, Goffman’s so-called sympathetic others, or different frames of reference on stigmatized attributes. Orienting to the point of view of the marginalized, this article demonstrates how one manages an accepted identity when one is in the line of fire.

Orne, Jason. 2011. “‘You will always have to ‘out’ yourself’: Reconsidering Coming Out through Strategic Outness.” Sexualities. 14(6). 681-703. (Link)

ABSTRACT: Increasingly, researchers casually use the concept of coming out. After tracing its conceptual inflation, this article shifts the lens from identity development to reconsider coming out as identity management. I develop the perspective of strategic outness – the contextual and continual management of identity – to emphasize the role of social context in sexual identity disclosure. Using data from open-ended essays, I explore three aspects of strategic outness: strategies, motivational discourses, and social relationships. My participants discuss using multiple strategies to manage who knows about their sexuality, cohesively describe multiple motivations for controlling that information, and emphasize the role of social relationships in their decision-making. Strategic outness reconsiders how coming out is used with sexuality research, providing researchers with an explicit perspective to consider the social context of sexual identity disclosure in their analyses.