Intimate Labor and the Blues Stage
Gender has been under-theorized within studies of people of African descent. This problem has led to the misunderstanding, suppression, and exclusion of transgendered and gender non-conforming people's experiences and identities within research on black sexuality, including black queer sexuality. This problem has been especially egregious in the burgeoning scholarship on black masculinity that has ignored black female and transmale masculinities that challenge the very ontological conceptions of black manhood upon which this scholarship is based. Black transgender and gender non-conforming people have created and continue to fashion a myriad of strategies to construct their identities in various positional relationships to binary gender and sexual categories. Performance has been a means through which these strategies are enacted. Bailey and Richardson interrogate African American gender common sense as demonstrated in dominant institutions of the black mega church and historically black colleges and universities, impact our understanding of trans- or non-conforming masculinities. They also examine how Ballroom and drag culture (and other gender queer communities) allow for and facilitate the construction of both hegemonic and alternative embodiments of masculinities.
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