Jones, Lucy (under review) “I’m not proud, I’m just gay”: Lesbian and gay youths’ discursive negotiation of otherness. Journal of Sociolinguistics
This article outlines the shared identity construction of five gay and lesbian members of an LGBT youth group, situated in a conservative, working-class, Northern English town. It is shown that the young people’s identity work emerges in response to the homophobia and ‘othering’ they have experienced from those in their local community. Through ethnography and discourse analysis, and using theoretical frameworks from interactional sociolinguistics, the strategies that the young people employ to negotiate this othering are explored; they reject certain stereotypes of queer culture (such as Gay Pride or being ‘camp’), and reject the notion that their sexuality determines their social identity. It is argued that this reflects the stigma of their sexuality and their subsequent desire to ‘fit in’ and be ‘normal’. These findings contrast with previous sociolinguistic studies of sexual identities and those focused on older participants, providing evidence of the impact of homonormativity (Duggan 2002) on contemporary, Western gay identities.