Good Reads

James Joseph Dean – Changing Nature of Sexual Expression in America

James Joseph DeanJames Joseph Dean’s new book Straights: Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted Culture is an in-depth look at the changing nature of sexual expression in America.

Dean, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University, argues that “heterosexuals can neither assume the invisibility of gays and lesbians, nor count on the assumption that their own heterosexuality will go unchallenged. The presumption that we are all heterosexual, or that there is such a thing as ‘compulsory heterosexuality,’ he claims, has vanished.

Since the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the politics of sexual identity in America have drastically transformed. It’s almost old news that recent generations of Americans have grown up in a culture more accepting of out lesbians and gay men, seen the proliferation of LGBTQ media representation, and witnessed the attainment of a range of legal rights for same-sex couples.

But the changes wrought by a so-called “post-closeted culture” have not just impacted the queer community–heterosexuals are also in the midst of a sea change in how their sexuality plays out in everyday life, Dean says.

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