At the Borders of Queer Nation
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Culture is not the only thing cited as a unifying essence for social identities such as nationalisms, race and sexualities. A closely related claim is shared life experience, which feeds into shared worldviews. History, which may create the sense that the identity is primordial in some way, can be another way of "vertically" (through time) making a connection (see Anderson 1983; Friedman 1992; Grahn 1984; Handler 1988); and it is one of the common themes of lesbian and gay writing. For ethnic/racial and sometimes nationalist ideologies, identity is considered to be based in the physical, objective, biological "fact" of descent - blood. While the claim of blood is mainly irrelevant to lesbian and gay sexualities (and the issue of whether sexuality may be biologically rooted is the site of strongly ambivalent argument), there is a sense of an inherent gay essence which is part of a person's nature, apparent in narratives of honesty and self-discovery such as "coming out" stories, and the ubiquity of phrases like "what I really am," or "truth" versus "false conciousness," or hiding.
Treating sexuality as ethnicity requires a certain amount of essentialism. By this I mean that sexuality must come to seem as much a matter of "primordial affinities and attachments" as ethnicity does to most Americans... {Stability of behavior} should then be described as resting upon or resulting from a sexual identity, a persistent attribute beyond "behavior." This interpretation of sexuality in fact coincides with prevailing United States characterizations, in which people "really are" heterosexual or homosexual. (Phelan 1994:61).

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