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How Places Make UsNovel LBQ Identities in Four Small Cities$
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Japonica Brown-Saracino

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226361116

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226361390.001.0001

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Portland: Hybrid and Hyphenated Identity Politics

Portland: Hybrid and Hyphenated Identity Politics

(p.103) Three Portland: Hybrid and Hyphenated Identity Politics
How Places Make Us

Japonica Brown-Saracino

University of Chicago Press

LBQ residents of Portland embrace identity politics; they regard sexual identity as innate and life defining, as well as generative of a common set of interests and concerns. However, most simultaneously conceive of the particularities of one’s sexual identity as idiosyncratic and adaptable, and embrace a hyphenated sense of self. In this sense, they embrace a queer identity politics; here, beyond recognition of the salience of shared sexual difference, embrace of flexibility and hybridity itself reinforces a sense of inimitable common ground. Complementing this, Portland residents participate in three tiers of community. These include communities predicated on microidentities, such as with other “gender queer” or “butch” individuals; an LBQ umbrella community spanning smaller microidentity communities; and “affinity communities” composed of sexually heterogeneous individuals who share a common belief or hobby. This approach to community and residents’ sexual identity culture emerge from a city ecology in which residents experience moderate hospitability and a constrained sense of safety. They also arise from a sense that the LBQ population is neither abundant nor too limited. Finally, a place narrative that celebrates Portland’s urbanity and creativity encourages intellectual debate and performativity.

Keywords:   queer, identity politics, micro-identities, ecology, urban, city, gender, community

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