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J o d i e

T a y l o r

Playing it Queer

P o p u l a r M u s i c, Ident i t y and Q u e e r Wo r l d - m a k i n g

Peter Lang

J o d i e

T a y l o r

Playing it Queer

Po p u l a r Mu s i c, Id e n t i t y a n d Q u e e r Wo r l d - m a k in g

This is a limited preview provided with the consent of the publisher Peter Lang

Peter Lang



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Taylor, Jodie Playing it queer: popular music, Identity and queer world-making / Jodle Taylor. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and Index. ISBN 978-3-0343-0553-2 1. Popular musicSocial aspects. 2. Gender identity in music. I. Title. ML3918.P67J64 2012 781.64086'64dc23 2012019984

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ISBN (pb.) 9783-0343-0553-2 ISBN (ebook) 978-3-0351-0420-2

Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2012 Hochfeldstrasse 32, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland, All rights reserved. All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems. Printed in Switzerland


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS .......................................................................... ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................ xi INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................... 1

Part I: The Theoretical Landscape CHAPTER 1: QUEER IDENTITIES, THEORIES AND POLITICS ..................................................... 13 CHAPTER 2: MUSIC AND IDENTITY SELVES, SEXUALITIES AND SCENES........................................................ 41

Part II: Translocal Styles, Sensibilities and Local Representations CHAPTER 3: CAMP A QUEER SENSIBILITY ............................................................................ 67 CHAPTER 4: DOING DRAG, (UN)DOING GENDER GENDER SUBVERSION AND MUSICAL PERFORMANCE ........................... 83 CHAPTER 5: QUEER PUNK IDENTITY THROUGH A DISTORTION PEDAL .......................................... 117 CHAPTER 6: WOMYN, GRRRLS AND SISTAS QUEER AGENDAS IN FEMINIST MUSIC-MAKING ................................... 149 CHAPTER 7: MAKING A SCENE LOCALITY, STYLISTIC DISTINCTION AND UTOPIAN IMAGINATIONS .... 175 CHAPTER 8: CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ................................................. 215

BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................... 219 INDEX .................................................................................................... 243

This is a limited preview provided with the consent of the publisher Peter Lang.


Life is a cabaret, sang Liza Minnelli in her role as the mediocre but aspirational Kit Kat Club performer Sally Bowles a character written into existence by gay novelist Christopher Isherwood. Sometimes song, dance, comedy, drama, costume or literature can provide more suitable ways to proclaim to your onlookers (and to yourself) who you are in a moment or, perhaps more importantly, who you want to be. In my youth, lifes cabaret was so apparent to me, it was the beguiling worlds created in those musical moments that were most appealing and most accommodating, and perhaps this is why I loved to sing, dance and dress up so much. If queerness is, as I believe and as Jos Esteban Muoz so beautifully writes, the rejection of the here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world (2009, p. 1), then it is through music that I have staged my rejection and imagined such otherworldly possibilities. In the spirit of a queer and feminist approach to the critical ethnography and queer cultural research that I do herein, I begin this book with a story about myself. Self-indulgent? Perhaps. But I like to think of it as an upfront declaration of my epistemological and political baggage. So here goes: As a teenager growing up in the mid-1990s, identifying as a femme, bisexual, feminist goth was not so great a problem for me personally; I actually drew a lot of strength from these identities. They made me feel distinguishable and independent; they seemed to me a perfect set of traits for someone who romanticised notions of becoming a performer, a scholar and a political anarchist. Identifying as all these things did, however, raise a lot of suspicion and grief among friends at my all-girls high school and among the three twenty-something-year-old-boys with whom I played in a band. The problem most of my friends seemed to have with me was not whether I was gay or straight; it was my inability to choose. This choice was complicated not least by my sexual desires but also by the rigid gender stereotypes that (I thought) went hand in hand with declaring a particular sexual identity. I didnt look or act like a lesbian: I didnt know you could be a velvet skirt-, fishnet tights- and makeupwearing lesbian who ate meat and wanted to sing in the theatre. More-


over, I didnt act like the straight girls I knew: I didnt want to get married or have children; I didnt like any boys my own age; I chose to have hairy armpits and sleep with girls. Rather than spending Saturday afternoons shopping for clothes, I scoured secondhand bookstores for as much feminist literature as I could find, and I wrote songs about suffragettes and played in a hard-rock band with sweaty men one of them being my serious boyfriend. Eventually, the social pressure to fix my sexual identity and my inability to do so isolated me from the rest of my peers. I felt that the only way I could relate to people on my own terms was through music. It was in music, and only in music, that I could perform all the roles necessary to satisfy me. In music I could compose, perform and listen; I could play multiple instruments; I could perform and appreciate various styles. It was only as a musician and music lover that I was allowed to be fluid: to interpret and reinterpret, to create and recreate. As a weekday student of classical voice and a weekend singer in a hard-rock band, I found the freedom in music to explore my sexual desires. I was the diva one moment and a rock star the next. As an opera and musical theatre enthusiast, I discovered that the diva was often an object of desire just as I longed to be. Her femininity was robust and disciplined. It was captured in her costumes, in the roles that were written for her, in the curves of her body and in her voice, which gave a powerful blast and refused containment. In my eyes, her voice was the key to her sexual prowess, and thus she became a personal icon: she was a disciplined woman in control of her voice, a woman who regulated her own pleasure (often through her voice). In contrast, the masculinity encapsulated in playing the rock star afforded me the public expression of aggressive sexuality and a toppy femme-ininity. It made me feel like the object of female desire while also excusing my gaze upon other women. The rock star was a fugitive of definition and self-control. In this role, it became perfectly acceptable to flaunt my sexuality, to adorn my body in piercings and S/M-style couture, and to speak and act in whatever manner pleased me. While many people still found it unusual that I possessed an equally intense passion for the genres of opera, musical theatre, industrial rock and metal, it seemed that expressing conflicting tastes in music did not attract nearly as much scrutiny as expressing conflicting sexual desires. This is because, unlike the supposedly natural and thus normal expres-


sion of gender and sexuality, musical taste is not understood to be in any way natural, normal or innocent, but rather a self-determined and defining mechanism of cultural identity. Music allowed me to perform gender and express sexuality in multiple ways that were unavailable to me in daily life. Furthermore, it allowed me to do this under the radar to explore the spaces in-between masculine, feminine, gay and straight without fear of rejection. An expert in border crossing, I played it feminine with the men and boyish with the girls, and managed for quite some time to stay sexually vague to stay musical escaping detection and social punishment. Several years later, I started going to queer bars and clubs. These spaces were meaningful, not least because they allowed me to meet and socialise with like-minded people, but that socialising was almost always accompanied by music and dancing. Queer spaces were saturated with gender variation, sexual oddities, theatrical display, music and musical performance I thought Id found a queer kind of heaven. At this time in my late teens/early twenties, I could not have imagined the ethnographic project and cultural analysis involved in writing this book. However, this book is both the result of and partially an account of this time, these spaces, the people I met, the friends I made, their stories and most importantly their music. More broadly, this book is about some of the many ways in which queers have used, and continue to use, Western popular musics and extra-musical style to express their gender and sexual differences, empower and transform themselves, form queer social alliances and mobilise social protest. This book identifies and examines the kinds of decidedly queer aesthetics, sensibilities, musics, local and global styles that are the result of queer identificatory and disidentificatory processes. It is as much a book about popular music as it is a book about queer identities and cultures: a queer insurgency against the heterocentric canon of popular music and subcultural studies and a heartfelt reminder to queer studies that music matters. Borrowing from Sheila Whiteley and Jennifer Rycengas book Queering the Popular Pitch (2005), this book similarly embraces an understanding of popular music as a social force that constructs heteronormativity and resistant queer sexualities (p. xiii, emphasis in original). Thus, as Whiteley and Rycenga also point out, popular music has figured centrally in the fashioning of queer identities and self-consciousness, merg[ing] queer social relations with queer musical ones, thus demonstrating the transforming significance of musical discourses (p. xiii).


I have been overtly queer-identified, a zealous participant in queer culture, an advocate of radical queer politics, a music-lover and occasional performer/composer for over a decade now, but it wasnt until beginning a PhD in 2004 that I began to critically (re)imagine queer identities, subjectivities, cultures and music as a scholar. Since then, my aim has been to conduct a detailed qualitative inquiry into queer musical performance, identities and scenes to explore queer self-fashioning and world-making as it occurs in and through music. This begun with a comprehensive examination of the queer popular music histories, politics, styles and sensibilities of camp, drag and genderfuck, queer punk and queercore, as well as queer feminist music cultures and queer dance music and club spaces. This literature was synthesised to create a detailed picture of some of the key stylistic, musical and performance traditions of queerness, then built upon using a multi-method ethnographic approach, which included participant observation at hundreds of local and international queer events, twenty-five in-depth semi-structured interviews with queer musicians, performers, deejays and scene participants, hundreds of in situ ethnographic conversations, and interpretative textual analysis of queer performances and music. In keeping with the queer premise of this text, I approach my discussion of music queerly, evoking what Judith Halberstam (1998) might call a queer methodology that is a scavenger methodology (p. 13), which she avows necessitates interdisciplinarity in its betrayal of disciplinary conventions and boundaries, both methodological and theoretical. I make no apologies for borrowing from multiple sites of musicological, sociological, cultural and philosophical thought on music, or for combining textual analysis with ethnographic interviews and archival research into queer popular music histories and practices. All empirical interview data and participant observations referred to herein were collected between January 2004 and December 2010. Participant observations and ethnographic conversations in the field were recorded in field journals. On occasion, this was done on the sideline of the research site especially when trying to capture specific details of field conversations but usually the process of writing up an event or performance was at a spatial and temporal distance from it so as to not


stifle my immersion in these cultural moments. All interviews (with the exception of one, at the request of the respondent) were tape-recorded and transcribed at a later date. Where musicians and performers have given me express permission to use their real or stage names, I have done so when referring to their artistic practice. However, for ethical reasons, pseudonyms are used when quoting interview data and field conversations involving scene participants as well as some musicians and performers in Chapter 7. The reasons for using pseudonyms for some participants here and not elsewhere in the text is because some people expressed concern regarding the frankness of their commentary on local culture, fearing that it might be ill-received by other members of the community. In musical terms, analysis has focused primarily on extra-musical and para-musical elements such as the meaning of musical and visual style, lyrical content, performance, gesticulation and so forth. The sonic parameters such as rhythm, melody and timbre are of less concern, as this study is motivated by understanding popular music as a site of queer identity work and world-making rather than with sonic materials per se. The queer histories, politics, styles and sensibilities discussed and analysed in this book refer to multiple locales, including Australia, Britain, America, Canada and Germany; however, the three case studies presented at the end of Chapters 4, 5 and 6 focus in detail on queer music and performance taking Brisbane, Australia as my primary locus of investigation. That I studied Brisbane-based queer performers was not only determined by my access to this scene (living in Brisbane and participating heavily in its culture as I do), but also by the political history and vibrant DIY (do-it-yourself) culture of this city, which I discuss further in Chapter 7. In 2009, I extended the geographical scope of my fieldwork to include a translocal scene study of Berlin, Germany, which also features in Chapter 7. This book does not geographically bound its study of music and queerness, but rather aims to rethink queer culture through translocal styles, movements, networks and cultural knowledges that are inherited, appropriated and newly produced.

6 Critical Insider Research


I believe my way of being which I incorporate into and embody in my everyday life affords me a particularly queer kind of worldview. But I also acknowledge that my some would say radically queer way of viewing the world is never commensurate with the views of others who might also see themselves as incorporating and embodying queerness in their lives and cultural practices. As a queer researcher of queer culture, my critical insider status is both beneficial and challenging. It is at once a departure from and an acute reminder of alterity. To embrace the fractured and broadening landscape of the postmodern and escape the false dichotomies of object/subject, self/other, queer/non-queer and particularly in this case researcher/researched, it was necessary that I pay particular attention to the queer subjects who are often excluded from popular cultural research. Moreover, being a long-term participant in some of the queer scenes I was investigating had profound epistemological implications regarding how, as a researcher, I came to know and related to the culture and the people being studied. The interdisciplinary project that is this book, which straddles queer studies, popular music studies and cultural sociology, necessitates both methodological innovation and risk-taking, and doing this kind of work as a critical insider researcher has additional advantages and dilemmas. In the fields of popular music and subcultural studies, those researchers (like myself) with a degree of proximity to the people and culture under investigation have enthusiastically taken up this method. Paul Hodkinsons (2002) account of the meaning and style of goth, Ben Malbons (1999) project on dance club culture and Deena Weinsteins (2002) investigation into the culture and music of heavy metal are just some examples that exploit the researchers cultural affiliations, street credentials and subcultural capital (Thornton, 1995) in the process of doing ethnography. The advantages of conducting research from this position are well documented (e.g. see Adler & Adler, 1987; Bennett, 2003; Brewer, 2000; Edwards, 2002; Ellis & Bochner, 2000; Hodkinson, 2005; Merton, 1972; Platt, 1981; Sprague, 2005; Wolcott, 1999). Such advantages include deeper levels of understanding afforded by prior knowledge; knowing the lingo or native speak of field participants and thus being empirically literate (Roseneil, 1993); closer and more regular contact with the field; more detailed consideration of the social actors at


the centre of the cultural phenomenon making access to, and selection of, research participants easier and better informed; quicker establishment of rapport and trust between researcher and participants; and more open and readily accessible lines of communication between researchers and informants due to the researchers continuing contact with the field. However, insider research also has limitations, as one can never presume that, as an insider, one necessarily offers an absolute or correct way of seeing and/or reading ones culture. The deconstructive logics of postmodernism and poststructuralism have for decades now warned against privileging knowledge that is constructed within dichotomous rubrics such as insider/outsider. Moreover, scholars have long warned that as a researcher, and indeed as a cultural participant, one can never assume totality in a position as either an insider or as an outsider, given that the boundaries of such positions are always permeable (Merton, 1972; Oakley, 1981; Song & Parker, 1995). Some have cautioned against privileging this position, noting that as an insider one does not automatically escape the problem of knowledge distortion, as insider views will always be multiple and contestable, generating their own epistemological problems due to subject/object relationality (Bennett, 2003; Hodkinson, 2005; Sprague, 2005; Wolcott, 1999). There is no monolithic insider view, argues Harry Wolcott, every view is a way of seeing, not the way of seeing (1999, p. 137, emphasis in original). While I duly acknowledge these concerns and agree that I have been afforded certain benefits in undertaking this work given my insider status, there is another matter of methodological significance that I wish to discuss before proceeding. In Halberstams work on queer subcultural lives, she argues that where alliances exist between minority academic fields and minority cultural production, queer academics can and some should participate in the ongoing project of recording and interpreting queer culture and circulating a sense of its multiplicity and sophistication (2005, p. 159), intentionally blurring the presumed boundaries between expert or archivist and the object of study. In fact, queer cultures routinely problematise straightforward distinctions in terms of who is documenting or theorising and who is producing culture (Dahl, 2010; Halberstam, 1998, 2005; Kennedy & Davis, 1993; Taylor, 2011; Volcano & Dahl, 2008) a kind of queer phenomenon in and of itself that is symptomatic of this project. In Ulrika Dahls work on queer femme-inist ethnography, she states that there is always something aca-


demically queer about the desire to be with and write about ones own, even if it is not a territorialized, localized or even always visibly recognizable stable community (2010, p. 144). The something queer or askew here is that any notion of objectivity is blatantly transgressed in this action, which by its very nature makes scholarship appear more vulnerable to emotional contamination. As Dahl goes on to argue, despite decades of feminist epistemological discussions, anxieties around issues of objectivity still loom within the academy. This work, then, is queer not only in terms of the objects and subjects at the centre of its study, but also in its way of approach, which brings to bear the allied and sympathetic relationship between those subjects, objects and myself.

Outlining the Book As the autoethnographic section of this introductory chapter suggests, music, gender and sexuality are both intensely personal and social. 1 Music and its attendant realms of (sub)cultural style provide meaningful ways to make, articulate and situate the self. Music does not merely reflect gendered and sexual realities, but contributes to the production of gender and sexual subjectivities. Queer music cultures are by no means separate from queer theories and theorisation; rather, they emerge as part of and always in dialogue with this labour. The chapters to follow explore a range of musico-sexual dialogues and aim to account for some of the ways in which music has contributed to the production and maintenance of queerness. Presented in two sections, this book discusses queerness and music in both theoretical and practical terms. The first section is primarily theoretical, and provides the reader with a necessary background to social and intellectual debates. The second section explores the broader cultural milieu in which queer musical work occurs, and provides a comprehensive study of queer popular music practices that is historical, translocal and ethnographic. Beginning with an overview of sexual deviance and the emergence of homosexual identity, Chapter 1 unpacks what we have come to call
1 In an attempt to distinguish between subcultural theory and subcultures as referred to in a vernacular sense, I use (sub)culture as suggestive of the latter. A detailed discussion of subcultural theory is presented in Chapter 2.


queer theory and establishes an understanding of the theoretical and political arguments that underpin queerness and queer cultural production. Contextualised within contemporary literatures that establish musics value as a tool for undertaking identity work, Chapter 2 examines musics role in self-aestheticisation and self-articulation, and connects music to the project of queer world-making. In particular, the chapter advocates for a revised conception of the music scenes perspective so that we may better understand musics role in structuring queer social relations. Chapter 3 establishes a general understanding of queer style and sensibilities in terms of camp. It traces the emergence of camp, its value as an aestheticised form of political praxis and its relationship to music performance. Chapter 4 introduces the reader to the history of drag performance and provides an overview of contemporary drag roles, which leads into a focused discussion surrounding the lesser known roles and identities of female drag kings and bio queens. Notions of genderfuck, the musicality of drag and the significance of lip-synching are also prominently featured in this chapter. A case study of an Australian drag king and bio queen troupe, the Twang Gang, is presented at the end of this chapter, and is used to exemplify the ways in which women engage with drag traditions, perform gender and make use of camp in a musical context. Contextualised within a history of punk rock style, ideology and queer counter-publics, Chapter 5 maps the emergence of queer punk with particular reference to the musicality, politics, narrative qualities and sensibilities of queercore. An understanding of queer punk sensibilities is then elucidated through a case study of Australian queer punk band Anal Traffic at the end of the chapter. Chapter 6 chronicles feminist music-making. It begins with a discussion of the lesbian feminist traditions of womyns music, followed by an account of riot grrrl and riot dyke ideologies, and proceeds to argue that in recent times we have seen the emergence of new queer agendas in feminist popular music production. A case study of Australian queer feminist funk/reggae/ska band Bertha Control is used to illustrate the chapters central claims. Focusing on the ways in which queers collectively organise around certain musics, Chapter 7 examines queer scenes locally and translocally. It identifies what we might call mainstream gay aesthetics and queer logics of musico-stylistic distinction in Brisbane, Australia and Berlin, Germany. It also examines the way music, style and place resource queer worlds and utopian imaginings. Finally, returning to broader questions of popu-



lar musics role in queer self-making and world-making, Chapter 8 muses on the idea of queer musical ancestry and provides a concluding summary of the main points discussed throughout, underscoring the wider theoretical implications of this work.

Part I

The Theoretical Landscape


QUEER Identities, Theories and Politics

Queer is a slippery term. In the history of all that is and has ever been queer, it would seem that queer is and has always been at odds with normal and supposedly natural behaviour. Even the etymology of queer poetically evokes the ambiguity queerness has come to signify in modern times. Queer, as the Oxford English Dictionary says, is of doubtful origin (Queer, 1989). According to pre-eminent queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1993), queer originates from the Indo-European root twerkw (across), which also relates to the German quer (transverse), the Latin torquere (to twist) and the English athwart. The literal English definition of the word itself implies odd or perverse behaviour or abnormal conditions. Yet there is a record of the Scottish queir, from 1508, which describes strange, peculiar or eccentric characteristics. The early English word crew, meaning crooked or not straight, bears further similarity to queer as we understand it today, and provides another etymological link to the contemporary meaning of queer. In essence, queer bespeaks a displeasing oddity, perversity and twistedness. Queer was not used colloquially to describe sexual behaviour until the end of the nineteenth century. Initially, men who distinctly identified themselves as part of a homosexual subculture vis--vis the dominant norms of heterosexuality used queer as a self-descriptor (Chauncey, 1994). However, it soon became a pejorative term of reference to homosexuals and gender deviants, and this meaning endured for much of the twentieth century. The reappropriation of queer as a positive epithet for gender and sexual non-normativities began again in the 1990s, with the 1 emergence of activist groups such as Queer Nation. In recent times,
1 Queer Nation was formed in New York in 1990 in the wake of escalating violence towards queers and the heterosexist prejudices of mainstream society. Queer Nation was a decentralised militant organisation that favoured large-scale direct public actions and protests, which were often staged in public commercial spaces.


CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics

queer has come to be used in two quite distinct ways. First, and most commonly, it is a catch-all term for communities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) folk. This particular use of queer is rather problematic. As Nikki Sullivan argues, using queer as an umbrella term does little if anything to deconstruct the humanist understanding of the subject. It fails to acknowledge differences of gender, race, ethnicity, class and age, for example, positioning sexuality as a unified and unifying factor (2003, p. 44). The second use of queer, which informs this study, is as a term of resistance imbued with anti-assimilationist and deconstructionist rhetoric that aggressively opposes hegemonic identificatory and behavioural norms, including liberal lesbian and gay identity politics. When used in this second sense, queer is destabilising, liminal, unfixed and contingent, and quite possibly above all else, it is highly contested. Within the academy, it is often argued that queer refers to nothing specific, but is defined precisely by what it is not, acquiring meaning only from its oppositional relation to the norm (Halperin, 1995, p. 62). Since the purpose of queer is to oppose norms through disturbing definitions and legitimisations, queer perpetually refuses to be defined or legitimised, and attempting to do so would be a decidedly un-queer thing to do (Sullivan, 2003, p. 43). Queer is not a single theory, argument or positivity, for it has neither a fundamental logic, nor a consistent set of characteristics (Jagose, 1996, p. 96). Queerness is sustained through its perpetual challenge to normalising mandates, thus it can never define an identity; it can only ever disturb one (Edelman, 2004, p. 17). Yet I know many people including myself who identify as queer in an effort to keep ourselves, our desires and our positionalities mobile. To complicate the matter further, queer whatever that might be, or not be can function in a number or ways: as a noun (naming something/someone), an adjective (describing something/someone), a verb (queering something or someone) or an adverb (to do something queerly). Queer can be a political or ethical approach, an aesthetic

Although Queer Nation was a relatively short-lived movement, it was instrumental in the reclamation of the pejorative term queer and had a lasting impact on sexual identity politics in the United States (for a detailed discussion of Queer Nation, see Berlant & Freeman, 1993).

CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics


quality, a mode of interpretation or way of seeing, a perspective or orientation, or a way of desiring, identifying or disidentifying. This may be a confusing start to a chapter for a reader new to queer theory, while the theoretically advanced reader is likely to be very familiar with such abstrusity and attest to its greyness. Queer theory is a minefield of contested conversations, disputed perspectives, unsettled epistemologies and multidisciplinary approaches, and in light of this confusion I write this chapter specifically for the reader new to queer theory. Because queer thinking is at the core of this book, I wish to give new readers a chance to acquaint themselves with queer ideas, but I also acknowledge that the more theoretically advanced reader will be familiar with the discussions in this chapter. The following pages seek to clarify how we come to know ourselves as gendered and sexual subjects through discourses, institutions and practices that are historically contingent and socially constructed. I begin this chapter with a genealogical account of homosexuality and homosexual rights movements in Western culture, enabling us to understand how we have arrived at queer. I acknowledge that this account is partial, as it is meant only to introduce key theories and is by no means offered as a 2 complete historical picture of the discursive development of sexuality. 3 Grounded in the deconstructive logics of poststructuralism, queer theory draws on a range of arguments across a number of disciplines including philosophy, second-wave and postmodern feminisms, lesbian and gay studies. Throughout the course of this chapter, I unpack some of these arguments as necessary so that we may clarify the messiness of queer theory to which I have alluded in these introductory paragraphs. Highlighting key literatures from the corpus of queer theory, this chapter
2 For more complete accounts, see the following key texts: The History of Sexuality (Foucault, 1979), Sex, Politics, and Society (Weeks, 1981); Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities (DEmilio, 1983) and Epistemologies of the Closet (Sedgwick, 1990). Poststructuralism interrogates the constitution of subjects through symbolic structures, arguing that an autonomous subject does not exist prior to the structures that we use in order to understand it for example, binary opposition is the relationship between mutually exclusive terms such as mind/body, man/woman, masculine/feminine, heterosexual/homosexual, rational/emotional, public/private or natural/unnatural. This system of language and knowledge suggests that we come to understand each term only in relation to its opposite. Moreover, these symbolic structures perpetuate unequal power relationships between the primary terms such as mind, man and masculinity, and the secondary terms such as body, woman and femininity.


CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics

identifies the theoretical arguments and political debates that underpin the queer identities, cultural practices, aesthetic sensibilities, (sub)cultures, styles, performers and music-makers that are the focus of this book.

Sexual Deviance: A Brief Introduction

The act of sex has no history says David Halperin: It is a natural fact, grounded in the functioning of the body, and, as such, it lies outside of history and culture (1993, p. 416). While sex as an activity much like eating or sleeping may have no history, sexuality is historical. In a landmark text entitled The History of Sexuality (1979), French historian and poststructuralist philosopher Michael Foucault traces the emergence of sexuality in Western societies. According to Foucault, prior to the midnineteenth century, a sex act was not understood as an expression of a persons psyche and did not characterise an innate identity. Instead, sex acts were either considered to be natural and thus moral and legal or unnatural and thus sinful and criminal. Sinful sex acts were those that denied the reproductive destiny of fluids omitted during ejaculation. Therefore, any sex act that was not in the interest of procreation, such as anal sex, oral sex, masturbation, sex with non-humans or sex involving the use of contraception or the withdrawal method, was an abomination, but 4 an abominable act that potentially anyone was capable of committing. According to Foucault, during the latter part of the nineteenth century, sex became a growing concern for a number of social institutions. Sex was suddenly a topic of discussion, and the medical profession in particular became preoccupied with the nature and treatment of sexual activity. Psychiatrists identified, named and thus discursively constructed a plethora of new sexualities at this time zoophiles, auto-monosexualists, mixoscopophiles, gynecomasts, presbyophiles, sexoesthetic inversts and dyspareunist women and among these was the homosexual. The first sig4 Christianity was paramount in purporting the sinfulness of such sexual acts because the Christian church believed that the male sperm was the seed of human life, and to ejaculate without the intention of procreation was wasting the seed and therefore wasting a potential human life.

CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics


nificant publication on homosexuality was by Karl Westphal, a German neurologist and psychiatrist who published an article in 1870 entitled Contrary Sexual Sensations. According to Foucault, this article marked the conception of the homosexual as a subject of psychological and physiological inquiry: the homosexual had become a new species and homosexuality was born:
The nineteenth century homosexual became a personage, a past, a case history, and a childhood in addition to being a type of life, a life form, and a morphology, with an indiscreet anatomy and possibly a mysterious physiology. Nothing that went into his total composition was unaffected by his sexuality. It was everywhere present in him: at the root of all his actions because it was their insidious and indefinitely active principle; written immodestly on his face and body because it was a secret that always gave itself away. It was consubstantial with him, less as a habitual sin than as a singular nature. (Foucault, 1979, p. 43)

The reconfiguration of the habitual sinner into the homosexual as a type of person raised questions surrounding the legalities of homosexual activity. In the mid-1860s, German lawyer Karl Heinrich Ulrich began arguing that homosexual acts should not be punished because they were a fact of nature (albeit an uncommon one). Ulrich suggested that homosexuality was congenital, occurring during inter-uterine development: some males are born with a strong feminine element or psyche [and] some females are born with a strong masculine drive, he argued (cited in Sullivan, 2003, p. 4). In other words, homosexuals were considered to be inverts: a theory that argued male homosexuals were women trapped in mens bodies and female homosexuals were men trapped in womens bodies. Notable sexologists such as Westphal and his German contemporary Richard von Krafft-Ebing skewed Ulrichs assertions of naturally occurring homosexuality. Instead, they maintained that it was a disease of the mind, or psychological illness, advocating that homosexuals were degenerate human beings and, while they should not be criminalised, they should be treated. The work of British doctor and sexual psychologist Havelock Ellis marks an adjustment in thinking about sexuality in exclusively biological terms. While he did not wholly dismiss the notion of congenital homosexuality, he rather controversially rejected the notion that it was a disease. Notably, he also advocated for an understanding of sexual inversion that, while still grounded in ones physiology, was also influ-


CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics

enced by cultural factors. In a study from 1896 entitled Sexual Inversion (1940), Ellis puts forward an argument that suggests ones disposition towards inversion can be encouraged by certain social and cultural circumstances that might trigger ones homosexuality, awaking it from its slumber; thus it followed that if such circumstances could be controlled, then the risk of homosexual arousal could be diminished. In Sexual Inversion, Ellis gives three examples of possible cultural triggers for homosexuality: sex-segregation in schools, which he argues plays a role in developing sexual inversion; the seduction of a younger person by an older person whose inversion is already developed; and for a congenital invert to be disappointed with normal meaning heterosexual love. In 1897, doctor Magnus Hirschfeld founded the Wissenschaftlichhumanitre Komitee (Scientific-humanitarian Committee) in Berlin. His agenda was to educate the public about homosexuality in order to reduce unnecessary suffering and persecution. Hirschfeld understood same-sex attraction somewhat differently from Krafft-Ebing and Westphal. Initially, Hirschfeld built upon Ulrichs argument suggesting that homosexuality was a congenital condition and the homosexual was a kind of third sex: an amalgamation of both masculinity and femininity. As his studies progressed, however, he radicalised his thinking and came to acknowledge a form of sexual pluralism that preposed multiple forms of human sexuality in contrast to the rigid polarity of other nineteenthcentury paradigms. Sullivan states that Hirschfeld positioned a notion of infinite sexual variability that he compared to the distinctiveness of fingerprints [and he] totally undermined the distinction between normal and abnormal forms of sexuality and challenged the popular theory of constitutional degeneracy (2003, p. 12). Attempts to cure homosexuality were erroneous under Hirschfelds model: instead, he advocated for legal and moral acceptance of sexual difference, and thus became a leading figure in the early homosexual rights movement. Almost a decade before Hirschfeld, another man had similarly spoken out against the growing illegality of homosexuality in Germany. Given that homosexuals were degenerates who were perceived to be suffering from a sickness of the mind, many questioned the degree to which they should be held legally accountable for such actions. In 1869, Austrian-born journalist Karoly Maria Benkert is said to have coined the term homosexual in an open letter he wrote to German legislators calling for the emancipation of homosexuals, suggesting that people who

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partook in these activities should not be punishable by law because homosexuality was inborn. Benkerts actions marked the beginning of, and partially set the agenda for, the homosexual rights movement that would follow (Jagose, 1996). The work of German writer and anarchist Adolf Brand offers a momentary reprieve from scientifically grounded theories of sexuality and represents a radical shift in thinking. Brands ideas, which he published between 1896 and 1932 in his journal Der Eigene (meaning The Peculiar or Ones Own, depending on translation), argued against the medicalisation of homosexuality and the popular notion of inversion, specifically male homosexuality being associated with the feminine. Although his notions were overtly masculinist, Brand based his argument on Max Stirners theory of self-ownership and the sovereignty of 5 the individual, suggesting that sexual desire was a personal choice and each person had the exclusive right to control his own body and sexual conduct (Kennedy, 2005; Stirner, 1974). Der Eigene was not a journal of sexual behaviour, but rather the first ever literary, art and cultural journal dedicated to male homosexual culture in the world. According to historian Harry Oosterhuis most authors of Der Eigene were of the opinion that their feelings and experiences could not be understood in scientific categories and that art and literature provided the better means of expression (Oosterhuis, cited in Kennedy, 2005, para. 6). Brands journal gave rise to the foundation of the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (Community of the Peculiar or Community of Ones Own) in 1903. Bringing together writers and artists who expressed individualistic and anarchistic ideas about homosexuality, Gemeinschaft der Eigenen is understood to have been the second homosexual movement in Germany (Hirschfelds being the first). Returning now to scientifically grounded theory, in 1905 Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud rejected all claims of congenial sexuality, suggesting instead that sexuality (including heterosexuality) was not predetermined but rather continuously constructed through human social development. In other words, Freud radically proposed that heterosexuality, while a necessity for the continuance of humanity, was not natural. According to Freudian scholar
5 Stirner originally published The Ego and His Own in 1844, from which Brand drew upon the theory of self-ownership.


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Juliet Mitchell: Freuds achievement was to transform the biological theory of instincts into the notion of the human drive, then to trace its possible expressions and to regulate them to their place within the persons history and subjectivity (2000, p. 27). Freud theorised that hu6 mans are born polymorphously perverse, and it is only through social instruction that they learn heterosexuality. Thus, in the event of incorrect instruction or social development, a person may exhibit sexual deviance. Another radical scientific thinker about sexuality was American biologist Alfred Kinsey, whose research caused enormous controversy, outraging academic, medical and social institutions alike. During the 1940s and 1950s, Kinsey (with the support of the National Institute of Mental Health) conducted extensive surveys collecting data on the sexual identity and practices of individuals. From this he contributed to the publication of two landmark texts, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (Kinsey, Pomeroy & Martin, 1948) and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female (Institute for Sex Research, 1953). In this work, Kinsey derived a seven-point scale with exclusive heterosexuality marked at one end, exclusive homosexuality at the other and bisexuality (or equally heterosexual and homosexual, as Kinsey termed it) as its midpoint. Kinseys extensive statistical data showed that most people regarded as heterosexual have at some time in their life experienced varying degrees of sexual interaction with members of the same sex. Thus the majority of people are not exclusively heterosexual, and instead can be located somewhere along a sexuality continuum. The social propagation of the homosexual as a kind of deviant served to segregate and control homosexual identity by drawing clear boundaries between the normal and abnormal, while at the same time perpetuating a homosexual character stereotype. In 1968 (pre-dating the work of Foucault), British sociologist Mary McIntosh published The Homosexual Role, proposing that homosexuality was not a medical or psychiatric condition, or human deviance; instead, it was a social role a socially constructed identity. Using cross-cultural examples, McIntosh argues that behaviours labelled homosexual vary across time and cul-

Polymorphous perversity suggests that sexual desire can be directed towards any object, and sexuality can be satisfied in many ways that lie outside of socially normative sexual behaviours. According to Freud, it is a condition of childhood, and is considered to be abnormal in adults.

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tures, defying categorisation and thus suggesting that there are homosexual behaviours but not innate homosexuals. McIntosh explains that this role refers not only to a cultural conception or a set of ideas but also to a complex set of institutional arrangements which depend on and reinforce these ideas (1968, p. 189). By labelling and persecuting homosexuals, society created for them an identity and a way to identify each 7 other, forcing homosexuals into the closet, and ultimately giving rise to homosexual cultures. For much of the twentieth century, the homosexual adult generally was depicted as a sick and loathsome character stigmatised by his or her illness and condemned to an ignominious existence. While some did not believe that homosexuality could or should be cured, a variety of therapies and treatments continued to plague the lives of people who exhibited signs of homosexuality. These included subjecting people to emotional abuse and physical tortures ranging from drug therapies to electric shock treatment, lobotomies and the surgical removal of reproductive organs (DEmilio, 1983). In was not until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association agreed to remove the classification of disease from the condition of homosexuality. In response to such torture and persecution, in the time following the Second World War, civil rights groups emerged across Britain, Europe, the United States and Australia calling for the humane treatment of homosexuals.

Homophiles, Liberationists and Lesbian Feminists While many of the earlier efforts to advance the rights and the treatment of homosexuals had occurred in Europe particularly Germany the war years and the rise of Nazism extinguished a lot of these advancements. Beginning again around the 1950s, a number of civil rights groups which can be referred to collectively as the Homophile Movement reignited these efforts. Organisations such as the US-based groups One Inc., The Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis, the
7 In very simple terms, the closet is a metaphorical space that indicates secrecy regarding ones non-normative sexual desires. Being in the closet suggests that feelings or activities relating to non-normative sexual desire are undisclosed, while coming out or being out of the closet suggests that one publicly acknowledges these feelings, actions and desires.


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British Homosexual Law Reform Society and the Australian-based organisation known as CAMP (Campaign Against Moral Persecution), lobbied to transform public attitudes towards homosexuality. The agenda of the homophile movement was largely based on the politics of assimilation (see Altman, 1972; DEmilio, 1983; Jagose, 1996). Such organisations tended to stress the biological innateness of homosexuality. While they opposed the inhumane treatment of homosexuals, they argued that sexuality was private and should therefore not be a matter of concern to the church, state or medical profession. Moreover, homophile groups tended towards conservative representations of homosexuality, arguing that homosexuals were just like everyone else while disavowing the less respectable elements of homosexual (sub)cultures such as drag queens, butches and transsexuals. In 1969, exactly a hundred years after Benkert first called for the emancipation of homosexuals, the gay liberation movement was ignited when, on 28 June, police raided a New York gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in Christopher Street, Greenwich Village that was frequented by the so-called disreputable elements of gay culture. A glorified and now somewhat mythologised moment in the annals of gay history (see Altman, 1972; Duberman, 1993; Carter, 2010), the Stonewall riots are said to have provoked a new movement of collective resistance against sexual oppression, signifying a refusal to stay respectably closeted any longer. Homosexual identity was being dramatically reconfigured and an unapologetic and distinctly gay identity constructed in its place one based on pride in being gay (Altman, 1972, p. 109). The counter-cultural politics of the 1960s were sweeping the Western world, and while Stonewall did not single-handedly launch a movement, it symbolically marks a shift in the assimilationist agendas of the homophile politics and towards a revolutionary counter-cultural logic akin to other political demonstrations of the era. For many lesbians and gays in the post-Stonewall era, collective pride became a platform upon which liberationist efforts were mobilised and a new and publicly visible identity was constructed. Annamarie Jagose explains that gay was mobilised as a specifically political counter to that binarised and hierarchised sexual categorisation which classifies homosexuality as a deviation from a privileged and naturalised heterosexuality (1996, p. 72). An international collection of groups (originating in New York in 1969 and London in 1970) known as the

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Gay Liberation Front began publicly protesting against the persecution of lesbians and gays in a far more disruptive fashion than their homophile allies. The Gay Liberation Front rejected the biological model of homosexuality, instead opting to assert a notion of choice. As Sullivan suggests, in response to the image of homosexuality as a [shameful] biological anomaly liberationists claimed that ones identity needs no excuses, that, in fact, it is something to celebrate (2003, p. 30). Lesbians and gays began openly celebrating their identity, and various cultural products are testament to this. Pride songs began circulating through gay communities and musicals such as Let My People Come (1974) and films such as La Cage Aux Folles (1979) explored deviant gender and sexual identities on public stages and screens. Scholarly discourse surrounding the history, culture and politics of non-heterosexual gender and sexual identity also started to appear. Australian Dennis Altman contributed significantly to this with his publication of Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation (1972), as did Karla Jay and Allen Youngs edited volume, Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation (1992), which first appeared in 1972. Akin to the logics of what we now call postmodernism, liberation politics radically suggested, among other things, the dispensation of sexuality from the repressive mutual exclusivity of heterosexuality and homosexuality; the transformation of gender relationships and roles; the rejection of institutionalised marriage and monogamy; and a reconfiguration of the family unit. According to Steven Seidman, liberation theory presupposed a notion of an innate polymorphous, androgynous human nature [and] aimed at freeing individuals from the constraints of the sex/gender 8 system (1993, p. 110). Basing its politics loosely upon what Robert Reynolds calls a utopian vision of liberated bodies and unrepressed psychic drives (2002, p. 70), gay liberation sought a new and radical approach to the way gender and sexual identity were conceptualised for all human beings. The liberationist project critiqued not only the power structures of gender and sexuality, but also those of race, class and nationalism.

Feminist theorist Gayle Rubin (1975) coined the phrase sex/gender system to delineate the separation of gender from sex. In effect, Rubin suggests that women and men are taught how to behave in masculine or feminine ways; moreover, they are taught that they are only allowed to act according to their biology.


CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics

Strong critics of capitalism, liberationists advocated for developing world freedoms, and aligned themselves with radical anti-war movements and black power counter-cultures. However, conflicting identity politics stifled such attempts, and factions within the movement began to destroy the hope of achieving a unified state of resistance. As white, middle-class lesbians and gays gained greater mainstream acceptance during the 1970s, the liberationist model (to which contemporary queer radical politics are considerably indebted) was outmoded in favour of an ethnic (and at times essentialist) model of minority identity politics. The legitimation of lesbian and gay sexuality, and the mobilisation of lesbian and gay lobby groups throughout the Western world, consequently resulted in a return to assimilation (Reynolds, 2002; Wotherspoon, 1991). Jagose efficiently summarises the contrasts between the two models:
According to the liberationist model, the established social order is fundamentally corrupt, and therefore the success of any political action is to be measured by the extent to which it smashes that system. The ethnic model, by contrast, was committed to establishing gay identity as a legitimate minority group, whose official recognition would secure citizenship rights for lesbian and gay subjects. (1996, p. 61)

The notions of erotic freedom, the challenges to traditional gender roles and the right to choose ones sexuality that underpinned liberationist ideals were discarded as the ethnic model necessitated visible, stable and commodified sexual identity communities, as this was crucial to the struggle for civil rights such as the right to marry, the right to raise a family and inclusion within the military. Rather than attempting to destroy normalising and oppressive systems, the goal became inclusion within existing heterosexist structures and the hegemonic social order. Furthermore, during the 1970s and 1980s, liberation efforts increasingly became gender separatist as many lesbians grew disillusioned with the political position of women in what they saw as the increasing supremacy of the misogynistic and anti-feminist agendas of gay liberation. Similarly, many lesbian women were also angered by the marginal position of lesbians in feminist movements at the time, with certain heterosexual feminists believing that lesbianism hindered their struggle for womens rights, referring to lesbians as the lavender menace. Consequently, lesbian feminism a distinct and more radical faction of second-wave feminism attempted to reconstruct the category of lesbian,

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shifting it from a category of sexuality to a political position one that all women who rejected men could assume, regardless of whether they has sex with other women or not. This was a call to the woman-identified woman (see Radicalesbians, 1992). In this sense, lesbianism was regarded as a kind of consciousness. One means by which this consciousness could be achieved was through the rejection of compulsory heterosexuality (Rich, 1980). Compulsory heterosexuality is the assumption that heterosexuality is the natural and universal form of sexual desire. It suggests that men and women are innately attracted to each other, and leads to an institutionalised inequality of power between women and men, as well as between heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals. Adrienne Rich (1980) suggested that heterosexuality is not natural but rather a condition into which we are coerced by the patriarchy in order for men to maintain social, economic and physical power over women. In other words, through denaturalising heterosexuality, Rich set out to expose it as an institution grounded in unequal power relationships; however, she did this (as did some other feminists) but naturalising gender in its place. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, representational struggles over gender and sexual identification, and in particular lesbian sexuality, were debated and constructed in a number of often contradictory ways that I cannot unpack adequately here. However, it is important to understand that gay and lesbian liberation efforts were multiple and divergent. Some returned to assimilationist attitudes, opting for an end to discrimination and systematic mainstream recognition on the grounds that they were respectable citizens whose sexuality was a private concern. Others, such as sadomasochists, transgender people, butch/femme lesbians, sexworkers or pornographers, challenged hegemony though public sexual dissent and consequently were regarded by some lesbian feminists and other feminists as obscene (see Duggan & Hunter, 1996). Some womenidentified women avoided replicating the oppressive politics of heterosexual hegemony through a rejection of all men, masculinity and even certain kinds of sex between women, such as sex with a dildo (a phallicshaped object), which they saw as male-supremacist and anti-feminist. Still other women-identified women believed as did liberationists that gender role rigidity was grounded in male supremacy and oppressing to all people, and thus a deconstruction of these roles would lead to erotic freedom for everyone.


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Importantly, as Jagose notes, lesbian feminism productively informed queer theory in three crucial ways: its attention to the specificity of gender, its framing of sexuality as institutional rather than personal, and its critique of compulsory heterosexuality (1996, p. 57). Indeed, many of the insights and aspirations of lesbian feminism and the gay liberation movement have concomitantly inspired much queer thinking about gender, sexuality, power, difference and utopian visions. However, as we will now see, a major difference between the liberationist agendas and what we might call a queer agenda is that queer dispenses with the universalising goals and grand narratives of sexual freedom, which encapsulates the liberationist ideals, in favour of a politics of difference.

Queer Theory
The term queer theory was coined by Teresa de Lauretis (1991). She initially used it to examine the implicit differences that are less apparent when we speak of lesbian and gay. For de Lauretis, Queer Theory conveys a double emphasis on the conceptual and speculative work involved in discourse production, and on the necessary critical work of deconstructing our own discourses and their constructed silences (p. iv). Grounded in the deconstructive and denaturalising logics of poststructuralism, queer theory takes up the critique, as set out by Jean-Franois Lyotard (1984) and others, of truth, knowledge, objectivity and authenticity, and argues that there is no universal human subject especially not one that can be understood as stable and unified. Instead, as we have seen in Foucaults (1979) work on sexuality, queer theory proposes that identities are generated by discourses, regimes of disciplinary knowledge, and as such they are contingent, grounded in historically and culturally specific concepts. As Joshua Gamson suggests, queer studies is largely a deconstructive enterprise, taking apart the view of a self defined by something at its core, be it sexual desire, race, gender, nation or class (2000, p. 348). While queer theory has made a significant contribution to contemporary

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discourse on race and class, this book is concerned predominantly with issues of gender and sexual identity, yet it is careful not to completely ignore other facets of identity. Queer is not a monolithic category in itself: queerness manifests in many different ways, and may be done and/or read differently according to an almost endless combination of feelings, experiences, contexts and contestations. According to Moe Meyer, queer indicates an ontological challenge to dominant labelling philosophies, especially the medicalisation of the subject implied by the word homosexual, as well as a challenge to the discrete gender categories embedded in the divided phrase gay and lesbian (1994, pp. 12). While queer theory does not dismiss the lived reality of being male, female, heterosexual, lesbian or gay, it rejects the didactic power relationships that structure these categories, and encourages an analysis that embeds the self in institutional and cultural practices (Seidman, 1993, p. 137) rather than a preoccupation with identity politics and the assertion of a natural or coherent lesbian or gay perspective. In the remainder of this chapter, I will unpack queer thinking in relation to the way discursive systems of power/ knowledge construct identities and review central arguments within queer theory concerning heteronormativity, performativity, identity and emergent homonormativities.

Power, Discourse and Heteronormativity Power, as Foucault (1979) explains it, is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation within a particular society (p. 93), which organises, institutionalises, moralises and makes lawful certain ways of living and desiring. Networks of knowledge and power dictate the behaviours, values, identities and desires deemed normal, acceptable and advantageous; thus it is within a matrix of power that normativities are constructed. Yet normativity cannot be challenged effectively by simply opposing it; power cannot be so easily argued in terms of a majority vis-

For further information on queer theory, race and class, see Muozs Dissidentifications (1999), Sulllivans chapter, Queer Race, in her Critical Introduction to Queer Theory (2003); Ian Barnards Queer Race (2004); and Max Kirschs Queer Theory and Social Change (2000).


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-vis minority logic in other words, who does or does not have power, and who should or should not have access to power. Gay and lesbian liberationists attempted to fight repressive knowledge/power systems by opposing what they believed were the false truths of dominant society, arguing for a different set of truths in place of the dominant logic. However, as Foucault argues, power is not a duality, something held by a ruling class or an opposition between who is ruling and who is ruled. Where there is power, Foucault maintains, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power. Rather, power and resistance are not in opposition but are entangled, and within this system there is always a multiplicity of points of resistance (p. 95). Both power and resistance circulate through knowledge, and it is in discourse that power and knowledge are joined together (p. 100). In the same way that the hierarchy of power/powerless is a false construct, so too is it dangerous to consider discourses in terms of what is acceptable and what is excluded. Instead, Foucault insists that there is a multiplicity of discursive elements that can come into play in various strategies (p. 100). Discourse transmits and produces power; it reinforces it, but also undermines and exposes it, render it fragile and make is possible to thwart it (p. 101). Thus to claim unitary minority status in the face of an oppressive power structure is to ignore the other discourses or power operations that are circulating within the supposedly cohesive minority itself. Through the medicalisation of homosexual behaviour, introducing homosexuality into public consciousness, hegemonic institutions (law and medicine) inevitably gave rise to discourses on homosexuals as a distinct group of people. However, it also made it possible for this distinct group of people to speak for themselves. Foucault argues that attempts to demand legitimisation or naturalisation by this group using the same institutional discourses are problematic because, while it might be in opposition to oppression, it is still a form of opposition that exists within the same oppressive strategy. What is needed instead is strategic change:
We must not expect the discourses on sex to tell us, above all, what strategy they derive from, or what moral division they accompany, or what ideology dominant or dominated they represent; rather we must question them on the two levels of their tactical productivity and their strategical integration. (Foucault, 1979, p. 102)

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In this sense, following Foucault, queer is not a singular oppositional position, but rather evokes a broad range of radical critical responses, which are constantly questioning the dominant discourses that produce ever-shifting logics of social and cultural normativity and non-normativity. The mutual exclusivity of heterosexuality/homosexuality, for example, places the unnatural or deviant category of homosexuality in binary opposition to the normalised and thus natural category of heterosexuality, and it is the discourse of normativity the natural/unnatural, normal/abnormal binary logic that produces oppressive knowledges and power relations. Queer instigates its challenge around the structuration of any action or identity as natural or normal. As Sullivan reiterates:
The punishment or stigmatisation of so-called unnatural actions and identities is everywhere apparent in our society, and functions to reaffirm or naturalise that which is held to be normal. And we are all both agents and effects of disciplinary regimes. (2003, p. 84)

Where liberationists attempted to argue that homosexual sex is just as natural as heterosexual sex, queer theory and politics argue that while the act of having sex might be an historical fact, there is indeed no such thing as a natural or normal way to have it. This institutionalisation of heterosexuality is called heteronormativity, and it is a valuable conceptual addition to sexual discourse on the part of queer theory. According to Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner, heteronormativity is the institutions, structures of understanding, and practical orientations that make heterosexuality not only coherent that is organised as a sexuality but also privileged (1998, p. 565). These structuring norms organise homosexuality as its binary opposite. Thus, within heteronormativity, the category of homosexuality works to maintain heterosexuality as the primary, correct or normal sexual identity. It is important to note that heterosexuality and heteronormativity are not interchangeable terms. Furthermore, heterosexual sex is not necessarily heteronormative, as heteronormativity is constituted in the regulation of normative desires and practices favouring monogamy and other natural sexual relationships and institutions such as marriage and kinship families. The impetus of queer theory is to confuse these sexual binaries and deconstruct fixed categories on the grounds that fixed identity categories are both the basis for oppression and the basis for political power


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(Gamson, cited in Gamson & Moon, 2004, p. 50). Fixed categories assign power to the majority by organising society into central and marginal groups. Those who construct the ideal centre of mainstream Western society what Audre Lorde (1990) calls a mythical norm can aptly be described as white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian and financially secure (p. 282). And those who reside in the margins are scrutinised for their deviation from the social, moral and political codes purported by the centre. Queer theory seeks to expose the false truths that have constructed boundaries of centrality and marginality, and have normalised the centre by revealing the performative nature of gender and sexuality and the fluidity of identity. As Shane Phelan proposes, by challenging the boundary lines as well as the content of the territories they mark, queer work calls each of us to attend to the uncertainties and incompletion in our identity (1997, p. 3). In conclusion, queer theory does not call for a secure space within the margins for the articulation of deviant gender or sexuality; instead, it seeks to disrupt or trouble all boundaries and identities as part of a large-scale egalitarian project.

Sex, Gender, Sexuality and Performativity In 1990, poststructuralist philosopher Judith Butler published what was to become a highly influential book entitled Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, considered by many as one of queer theorys foundation texts. In Gender Trouble Butler proposes that gender is in no way natural or stable, but rather is constructed by a series of repeated gestures understood as performative acts. She says:
Such acts, gestures, enactments, generally constructed, are performative in the sense that the essence or identity that they otherwise purport to express are fabrications manufactured and sustained through corporeal signs and other discursive means. That the gendered body is performative suggests that it has no ontological status apart from the various acts which constitute its reality words, acts and gestures, articulated and enacted desires create the illusion of an interior and organizing gender core, an illusion discursively maintained for the purpose of the regulation of sexuality within the obligatory frame of reproductive heterosexuality. (1990, p. 136, emphasis in original)

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According to Butler, gender is discursively produced by social institutions of knowledge that shape our understanding of gender as an outward sign of biological sex. Gender discourse the ways in which we describe masculinity and femininity and the repetitive bodily enactments that we associate with lexicons of gender are, in fact, all that gender is. Gender essence is an illusion, and it is only through discursive re-enforcement and repetitive performance that gender appears innate. Ontologies of gender are fictions created by disciplinary regimes for the purpose of normalising and limiting gender performance to benefit the appearance of heterosexuality and gender polarity as natural:
Gender is, thus, a construction that regularly conceals its genesis: the tacit collective agreement to perform, produce, and sustain discrete and polar genders as cultural fictions is obscured by the credibility of those productions and the punishments that attend not agreeing to believe in them; the construction compels our belief in its necessity and naturalness. The historical possibilities materialized through various corporeal styles are nothing other than those punitively regulated cultural fictions alternately embodied and deflected under duress. (Butler, 1990, p. 140)

In simpler terms, the two distinct gender categories of masculinity and femininity that we have come to accept as reality are nothing more than fictions that, albeit unwittingly, we are coerced into performing on our bodies. Those who do not perform as they should risk punishment for appearing to have an unnatural gender identity that is, a gender identity that conflicts with or hyperbolises the sexed body. Furthermore, it is a culturally and historically specific performance of gender that informs natural gender identities and ways of being and knowing our gendered selves. The cultural and historic specificity of gender suggests that the ways in which we do gender are variable, thus what constitutes proper masculinity and femininity will vary according to social, cultural and temporal contexts. There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender, says Butler. Identity is performatively constituted by the very expressions that are said to be its results (1990, p. 25). Butler contends that we have no essential gender identity that informs how we behave; instead, how we behave (our performance of gender) is all that our gender identity is. Therefore, gender does not express a biological essence, but instead is an effect of power. Sexuality, too, is performatively constructed, argues Butler:


CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics If sexuality is culturally constructed within existing power relations, then the postulation of a normative sexuality that is before, outside, or beyond power is a cultural impossibility The replication of heterosexual constructs in non-heterosexual frames brings into relief the utterly constructed status of the so-called heterosexual original. Thus, gay is to straight not as copy is to original, but, rather, as copy is to copy. The parodic repetition of the original reveals the original to be nothing other than a parody of the idea of the natural and the original. (Butler, 1990, pp. 3031, emphasis in original)

Here, Butler is arguing that any notion of an original thus natural or normal gender or sexual identity is a fiction because there is no original. Instead, these concepts are made intelligible via a matrix of power: the heterosexual matrix (Butler, 1990, 1997). The logic purported by the heterosexual matrix suggests that our biologically categorised body determines the expression of gender and, in turn, gender determines the bodies/objects we are normatively permitted to desire. In other words: man = masculine = attracted to women/femininity; and woman = feminine = attracted to men/masculinity. Gender norms fundamentally stabilise and maintain heterosexuality. Thus homosexuality is often attributed to failed or misconstrued gender roles. Heteronormativity positions the gay male as feminine because his gender non-normativity is generative of his sexual non-normativity and thus essentialises the heterosexual males masculinity. Similarly, the lesbian female is often perceived as masculine because she too normalises societys construction of the heterosexual woman as feminine. While biological sex most commonly is understood as either male or female, Butler also questions the organisation of people into sexed categories, suggesting that like gender the sexed body is also a cultural construct, the consequence being that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all (1990, p. 7). As Chris Beasley clarifies this with reference to Butlers (1990) work:
Gender is typically interpreted as derived from the body. Bodily (anatomical) sex is seen as pre-dating culture, as eternal sex, the eternal male female binary. However, in Butlers analysis, the body is also a gendered performance which is socially constituted as the essence of gender, and its an intact, untouched foundation, and is all the more culturally powerful for this interpretation as being outside culture. Indeed, in her view, socially constituted gender creates anatomical sex, rather than the other way around, in the sense that the former makes the latter relevant in social practice. And if gender does not follow automatically from anatomical sex,

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then it is not axiomatic that gender refers only to the two categories designated in the binary men/women distinction. (2005, p. 101)

The existence of ambiguously sexed or intersex bodies points to another category of body that contests the supposedly stable binary of sex itself. Moreover, since gender is not fixed to the sexed body, we are able to perform our gender in multiple and conflicting ways that challenge the distinction of man/woman. To do gender in contrary ways, suggests Butler (1990), is to cause gender trouble. The power of Butlers theory of gender performativity is its ability to reveal that, as individuals, we are not locked into gender roles; there is no natural way to desire, and there is no natural way to perform identity upon our bodies. In following chapters, I discuss in detail some of the performancebased methods employed by queers that attempt to reveal gender as performance. Drag performance, being the primary example of this, is offered by Butler as testimony that all gender identities are a mlange of concealed norms and performed acts. However, one must be careful not conflate these types of conscious performance with performativity. As Butler herself argues: Performativity is neither free play nor theatrical self-presentation; nor can it be simply equated with performance (1993, p. 95). Rather, performativity is a precondition of the subject, a forced and repetitious performance of norms sustained by the constraints society applies to those norms that effectively endorse some sexual and gender practices and outlaw others. In contrast, performance is a condition of the subject, a chosen enactment that we put on at will:
In no sense can it be concluded that the part of gender that is performed is therefore the truth of gender; performance as bounded act is distinguished from performativity insofar as the latter consists in a reiteration of norms which precede, constrain, and exceed the performer and in that sense cannot be taken as the fabrication of the performers will or choice; further, what is performed works to conceal, if not to disavow, what remains opaque, unconscious, unperformable. The reduction of performativity to performance would be a mistake. (Butler, 1993, p. 234)

Thus performativity is not a voluntary act, while performance (for the most part) is voluntary. According to Sullivan, the distinction between voluntarism and anti-voluntarism is often understood by commentators as the difference between performance and performativity respectively (2003, p. 89).


CHAPTER 1: Queer Identities, Theories and Politics

While the constitutions of performance are clearly defined by the will to act, interpreting a performance or the intent of the performer remains highly contestable. As Sullivan suggests, all performances and all attempts at subversion will be ambiguous and open to multiple meanings (2003, p. 92). The potential for a performance to subvert or expose the rigidity and unnaturalness of gender and sexuality will be a fundamental measurement of its success at queering normativity. However, the multiple potential of meanings suggests that the measurement of its success will always remain ambiguous, thus the political and subversive potential of performance is always contextual.

Queer Identities and Homonormativities Queer theory undermines the binary logic that constructs identities as oppositional and exclusionary, and seeks as its primary strategy the denaturalisation of identity categories. As Phelan notes:
Queer theory [has] pointed to the fundamental indeterminacy of identities of inside/outside communities, of masculine/feminine, of homo/hetero/bi, of male/female, and of racial and ethnic categories. Ultimately queer theorys target is identity itself the assumption of unity or harmony or transparency within persons or groups. (1997, p. 2)

Queer theory says we do not have to confine our identificatory practices to the limited patterns of behaviour like those insisted upon when the fixed labelling of a sexual identity is heterosexual, lesbian or gay, and when a gender identity is labelled either feminine or masculine. In fact, queer manifests in opposition to such bourgeois models of identity, refuting definition based upon material sexual practices. In this space of refusal, queer sexualities then emerge as a series of improvised performances whose threat lies in the denial of any social identity derived from participation in those performances (Meyer, 1994, p. 3). Queer displaces the notion of self as exclusive, abiding and continuous in favour of a concept of self as performative, improvisational and discontinuous, constructed through the repetition of stylised acts. It understands identity as constructed categories of self-knowledge, capable of shifting over time. Borrowing the Deleuzian idea of becoming, queer theory explores the dynamism of desire and mutability of life itself. So if queer is improvised, unfixed, processional, troubling and, as

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some have argued, implicitly unknowable, what does it mean to call oneself queer? Many of the people I interviewed as part of this project employ the term queer as a way to describe themselves, while others choose to mix up terminology, switching between queer, lesbian and/or gay (among others). Therefore, when I talk about queers in a collective sense I am not naming and describing a cohesive group of people. The usefulness of queer is that it marks a flexible space of expression and signification, and those who occupy this space will not necessarily understand themselves to be queer in the same way that others who also occupy this space. As Sedgwick points out, queer can be understood as:
[T]he open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyones gender, of anyones sexuality arent made (or cant be made) to signify monolithically Anyones use of the word queer about themselves means differently from their use of it about someone else gay and lesbian still present themselves (however delusively) as objective, empirical categories governed by empirical rules of evidence Queer seems to hinge much more radically and explicitly on a persons undertaking particular, performative acts of experimental self-perception and filiation. (1993, pp. 89)

By calling oneself queer, one is not signifying a specifically inclusive or exclusive identity, but rather calling attention to identity as non-essential and provisional, moving away from the totalising effects of categories such as woman or lesbian. When identifying as a queer woman, for example, it is perhaps better to think of this as signifying a certain way of doing the identity of woman and/or lesbian rather than something that is a specific or bounded identity itself. Thus Halperin (1995) suggests that instead of thinking of queer strictly as an identity, it might be better to think of it as a positionality that is available to anyone who aims to subvert hegemony, one that can be taken up by those who have been marginalised owing to their desires and/or because of their inability to locate themselves within a specific fixed identity category. Noreen Giffney explains queer as signifying the messiness of identity a resistance to identity categories or easy categorisation, marking 10 a disidentification from the rigidity with which identity categories con10 Disidentification can be thought of as a performative mode of resistance to normalising discourses and dominant logics of identification (see Muoz, 1999).


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tinue to be enforced and from beliefs that such categories are immovable (2009, pp. 23). Queer is a politicised rubric that asserts gender and sexual multiplicity and fluidity, and is thus available to signify a range of non-normative gender and sexual subjectivities, practices and relationships of desire that defy the moral codes and normalising regimes imposed by the dominant society. Such subjectivities, practices and relationships that queer may signify include lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, asexual, butch, femme, androgyne, genderqueer, intersex, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, fetishist, polyamory, nonmonogamy, sex work, practices of bondage, discipline, sadism or masochism (BDSM), or other radical sexual practitioners such as leathermen or dyke daddies among other things. As Alexander Doty (1993) has argued, queer can be conceptualised as something different, something more than lesbian and gay: the intersecting or combining of more than one specific form of nonstraight sexuality (1993, p. xvi). Of course, it is important to note that the deconstructive tendencies of queer are not wholly celebrated. While unpacking the numerous contestations to queer theory is not something I have either the space or inclination to do here, I feel that it is only fair to signal this and offer readers the opportunity to engage with critical literatures. A number of scholars have waged critical assaults on queer theory, arguing that it is jargon laden and hierarchical, dominated by North American (and to a lesser extent British) theories and thinkers who fail to consider the contextual specificities of other locales. Some have suggested that queer theory has failed (Bawer, 1996), or that the time has come to move into a transdisciplinary post-queer critique (Ruffolo, 2009). Others contend that it does little to change social inequalities and debases collective political action by destabilising the subject and undermining sexual discourse (Edwards, 1998; Weeks, 2000; Taylor, Y., 2010). Moreover, it is said to sometimes deny the lived reality of women, lesbians and trans people (Jeffreys, 1993; Richardson et al., 2006; Stryker, 2006), and offers little in the way of thinking about identity beyond textual analysis (Escoffier, 1990; Plummer, 1998). I am mindful of such criticism and I agree with those scholars who stress the necessity and importance of empirical work on queerness. The cultural styles and artefacts that I examine in this book say a great deal about the lives of the people who make and produce them, and as such this research pays equally close attention to the lived realities of makers, producers and consumers of queer culture and

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their negotiation of gender and sexual difference in and through cultural participation. A final distinctive point of queerness to which I attend in this chapter has to do with its contestation of the mainstreaming of lesbian and gay culture and identity politics. In relation to music, extended discussions of the distinctions between mainstream gay culture and alternative queer cultures are presented in Chapters 5, 6 and 7. However, for now let us considered the concept of homonormativity. In the wake of assimilationist agenda, many queer activists argue that the call for civil rights and legislative gains gay marriage, child adoption, military service, welfare and pension benefits has forced the mainstreaming of gay and lesbian identity. In other words, in order to gain equal standing within these social institutions, lesbian and gay identities have been normalised. The gay mainstream, argues Eric Rofes, present[s] a sanitized vision of our people and replace[s] butch/femme dykes with Heather and her two mommies, and kinky gay men with domestic partner wedding cakes (1998, p. 204). Instead of advocating for a pluralistic queer culture, certain forms of sexual non-normativity become privileged at the expense of others. Those that are most privileged and gain the most status are the ones that most closely replicate heteronormative ideals: wealthy, monogamous, same-sex couples. For example, Warner argues that marriage is a vehicle for a great load of privileges, and because it confers status that has a great deals of normative force, it is an inherently discriminatory system. Warner goes on to say that he finds the position of gay marriage advocates to be highly problematic, as they still pretend that marriage is just a private choice, or a personal right, as though participating in this institution has no consequence for others (cited in Jagose, 2000, para. 8). These new individualistic and bourgeois neoliberal sexual politics that privilege certain kinds of same-sex relations are termed homonormativity. In Lisa Duggans critique of neoliberalism, The Twilight of Equality? (2003), she outlines homonormativity as:
a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions, but upholds and sustains them, while promising the possibility of a semimobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticised gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption (p. 50).


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Radical queer activists argue against the homogenisation of gay identity and the acceptance of liberal gains within the private, consumer sphere. Queers must remain resistant to such normalising effects, argues gay shame activist Mattilda (aka Matt Bernstein Sycamore), because assimilation is leading to the increasing marginalisation of queers and potentially may result in the erasure of certain forms of queer culture:
A ravenous gay mainstream seeks control of the very ways we represent our own identities. The radical potential of queer identity lies in remaining outside in challenging and seeking to dismantle the sickening culture that surrounds us. (Bernstein Sycamore, 2004, p. 5, emphasis in original)

Writing queer social theory and textual analysis, and partaking in direct political action are useful ways to challenge assumptions, dismantle cultural norms and instigate radical transgression. However, performance and certainly music-related performances also generates radical contestations to normalisation and enables the transformative politics of queer possibilities. In his study of Latina performance, Muoz (1999) argues that minoritarian performance labors to make worlds more than simply views or perspectives; [queer performances] are oppositional ideologies that function as critiques of oppressive regimes of truth that subjugate minoritarian people (p. 195). Queer world-making performances are disidentificatory in that they not only seek to dismantle majoritarian cultures; rather, argues Muoz, they also use majoritarian culture as raw material to make a new world (p. 196). By using performance as a performative strategy to tear down and then queerly rebuild the world, Muoz suggests that these disidentificatory performances generate ideological transformation and map space for the emergence of oppositional counter-publics. This is an important idea to which I return in detail in the next chapter. In summary, queer as it is employed herein signifies a twisting, lampooning and dismantling of hegemonic culture. Resistant to both heteronormativity and neoliberal liberal sexual politics, queer executes its critique of normalising logics from the social and cultural margins. Of course, what counts as, or can be read as, queer identity, action or object is dependent not only on history and culture, but also on personal experience, and as such queerness is always mutable, contentious and quite often contradictory. The potentiality of the queer project is signified by its intensely personal, partial and perverse qualities, where identities

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become not so much categories to be occupied, owned, protected or rejected, but spaces to be navigated, revisited, revised and elided on a moment-to-moment basis (Giffney, 2009, pp. 67). Queer navigations, challenges, troubling actions and disidentificatory performances take many forms and pervade multiple genres of cultural expression. Looking through the lens of music and performance, this will become increasingly evident in the second part of this book, where we will explore queer cultural histories, practices and people who are in conflict with and attempt to calve an existence beyond both straight and gay social norms and mainstream cultural conventions. In the next chapter, however, we shall turn to thinking about music production and consumption as a resource for doing queer identity work and as a catalyst for queer scenebuilding and world-making.


MUSIC AND IDENTITY Selves, Sexualities and Scenes

The task of defining music and delimiting its constituent characteristics has been problematic for musicians, audiences and scholars for centuries. Definitions of what constitutes music are both culturally and historically variable and subject to logics of taste and value. Music, understood in its most basic form as organised sound, is located in cultures worldwide, and manifests itself in multiple styles and genres, each with characteristics that extend far beyond what is simply heard. In fact, for many people, and as it is situated in this study, music constitutes something far greater than sound objects. As sociologist Tia DeNora suggests, music may serve as a resource for utopian imaginations, for alternative worlds and institutions, and it may be used strategically to presage new worlds (2000, p. 159). DeNoras idea foregrounds the notion of queer world-making to which I will return later. Much more than a static object or product, music is a collection of interconnected activities and texts employed as strategic resources in the production and transmission of self-narrative and collective belonging. As Nicholas Cook so succinctly states:
In todays world, deciding what music to listen to is a significant part of deciding and announcing to people not just who you want to be but who you are. Music is a very small word to encompass something that takes as many forms as there are cultural or subcultural identities. And like all small words, it brings a danger with it. When we speak of music, we are easily lead to believe that there is something that corresponds to that word But when we speak of music we are really talking about a multiplicity of activities and experiences (1998, p. 6, emphasis in original)

Popular musics in particular are intricate systems of social practice and process usually accompanied by lyrics, dance, fashion, video and other media texts, and thus popular music necessarily incorporates all of these and acknowledges that it is not only sonic, but also visual, kinetic and


CHAPTER 2: Music and Identity Selves, Sexualities and Scenes

verbal modes of signification that make it such an appealing and complex social phenomenon. Popular musics, argues Lawrence Grossberg, cannot be studied in isolation, either from other forms and practices of popular culture or from the structures and practices of everyday life (2002, p. 27). The idea of music as it is employed throughout this book thus extends beyond the sound object itself. I am concerned specifically with how music functions as a strategic resource in the reflexive derivation and performance of queer identities a practice and process that necessarily are examined in relation to both the spectacular and the quotidian as a multi-textual site for meaning-making. Popular music and its associated subcultural and scenic sites have long operated as critical modalities of symbolic resistance to cultural hegemonies (Hall & Jefferson, 1976; Hebdige, 1991; Willis, 1978). As a common site of rebellion, popular music meanings and styles frequently emerge as a polemic against dominant notions of morality or in tension with stylistic commodification and mainstream sensibilities. Providing a framework for self-making and social action, popular music remains a contested realm in which multiple and often contradictory meanings circulate, and to study it is to gain insight into the way people construct their identities, enact their political and social values, and live their lives in particular times and places. Concomitantly, to understand both the musics of queer subjects and how queers have coalesced around particular musics can tell us much about sexual agency, advocacy and the stylistic modes of queer resistance and survival. The purpose of this chapter, then, is to establish a conceptual framework for understanding musics significance to queer identity work. To begin, I discuss music in relation to the ways in which it provides a context for the formation and elaboration of self-identity. I go on to establish musics significance to the project of queer world-making by reflecting on some of the ways in which music has been theorised as a queer pursuit, not only connecting music to gender and sexual identity and desire, but specifically locating its historical significance as a resource in queer identity-formation. With specific reference to subcultures and scenes, I then review notable attempts at theorising ways in which music and extra-musical style are used to organise and distinguish social groupings. Finally, I discuss the need to rethink musics role in structuring queer social relations and propose some theoretical possibilities for how we might do this.

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Making Selves and Mapping Sexualities

In modern society, music is ever present, used for entertainment, for ritual, to influence consumer behaviour, to pacify angry crowds and to incite armies to war. While music serves these and many other purposes, my primary interest here is in musics ability to assist individuals to establish, develop and negotiate a sense of identity. Music is a dynamic cultural practice that can be individually or collectively made, performed and consumed. Regardless of whether a person is a maker, performer or consumer of music, music contributes significantly to our identity work. According to DeNora, a sense of self is locatable in music. Musical materials provide terms and templates for elaborating self-identity for identitys identification (2000, p. 68). Similarly, social psychologists David Hargreaves, Dorothy Miell and Raymond MacDonald (2002) acknowledge that music is a particularly important communication device for self-expression and development, allowing us to construct new identities, and express and transform existing ones. We use music to regulate our moods and behaviours, and to produce a desirable image of ourselves both for ourselves and for others: Our musical tastes and preferences can form an important statement of our values and attitudes, and composers and performers use their music to express their own distinctive views of the world (p. 1). The production and consumption of music are performative in that they constitute an assemblage of identity-markers, and it is at the site of performance where Butlers thinking about sex, gender and sexuality intersects most poignantly with theories of music and identity. As Susan Cusick explains, performances of a gendered and sexed self are partly, but certainly not entirely, performances of and through the body; like these, music too is partly (but not entirely) the culturally intelligible performance of bodies Musical performances, then, are often the accompaniment of ideas performed through bodies by the performance of bodies (1999, p. 27, emphasis in original). Music is a way for us to translate, perform and intensify through our bodies, intimate thoughts, feelings and desires of the body. The act of creating and performing music whether creating or performing it ourselves or listening to it, and thus performing musical meaning-making operations for ourselves


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(Frith, 1996) results not only in the creation and performance of sounds but also in the creation and performance of subjectivities. Acknowledging musics role in self-structuration is, in Foucaudian terms, to make sense of music as a technology of the self. According to Foucault (1997a), such technologies permit individuals to effect by their own means, or with the help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and ways of being (p. 225). These operations transform subjects, assisting us in the attainment of desirable states of being while also providing us with a means to position ourselves in relation to the constitutions of power and truth as they operate within disciplinary and discursive systems. As Judith Peraino points out, technologies of the self are both ascetic and ethical, entailing exercise[s] of the self on the self and tak[ing] into account positive or negative feedback accorded by the moral codes or acceptable ranges of conduct produced in the given matrix of truth and power (2003, p. 435). Thus, for Foucault, subjectivity is mutable: a product of institutionalised domination and the potential for one to exert resistance towards domination, striving towards an aesthetic goal of life as a work of art. In his words: From the idea that the self is not given to us, I think that there is only one practical consequence: we have to create ourselves as a work of art (1997b, p. 262). According to Peraino, Foucaults integration of ethics and aesthetics:
holds promise for an account of music as a self-practice that cuts across yet engages symbolic systems, and instigates ethical questions of individual conduct vis--vis discipline and desire within or against in-place social and symbolic structures (2006, p. 12).

Just as I illustrated in my autoethnographic introduction, music is one way in which we, as aesthetic agents, can facilitate exercises of self(re)creation upon ourselves while negotiating the self we are creating in relation to normative codes of conduct. While musics affect works potently at the level of self-identification, the social function of music is inextricable from this. Simon Frith argues that the interplay between personal absorption into music and the sense that it is, nevertheless, something out there, something public, is what makes music so important in the cultural placing of the individual in the social (1987, p. 139). Popular music especially has been an important resource in forging collective identities for working-class

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youth in a post-war Western context (Willis, 1978). Racial and ethnic minorities, too, collectively express their differences in and through musical practices and consumption (Bennett, 2000). Music, says Frith:
can stand for, symbolize and offer the immediate experience of collective identity. Other cultural forms painting, literature, design can articulate and show off shared values and pride, but only music can make you feel them. (1987, p. 140, emphasis in original)

It is the premise of this book that gender and sexual identities also collectively articulate subjectivities in and through music. Moreover, musics ability to locate the individual in the social has the potential to provide marginalised people such as queers with a means of transgressing the public/private dichotomy that has long operated as a means of sexual repression. Music is used extensively in queer identity work to contest gender and sexual norms, and as I demonstrate in Chapters 4, 5 and 6, this particular function of music is especially important to queers because it accommodates emotional, physical and sexual expressions that may be unavailable to them in other expressive forms or in other aspects of daily life.

Music and Queerness Music can be queer. It can speak of that which is beyond the normal and signify that which is often invisible. In her introduction to Feminine Endings, Susan McClary asserts that music is very often concerned with the arousing and channelling of desire, with mapping patterns though the medium of sound that resemble those of sexuality (1991, p. 8). In other words, music allows us to explore and circulate emotions and pleasures, to immerse ourselves in the ecstatic, to let go, to speed up, to slow down, to be overcome and to climax. Moreover, music may be considered particularly accommodating to queer expressions of gender and sexuality because of its theatrical and fanciful qualities, its mystery and miasma (Koestenbaum, 2001, pp. 189190). Reaffirming this notion in his comparison between music and films accommodation of queerness, Boze Hadleigh points out that popular music forms indulge all manner of gestures, get-ups, accessories, poses and public announcements. Sex and reputations are a lot more fluid on the musical


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scale than on thin, potentially jagged celluloid (1991, p. 8). In music, you can get away with exaggerated and artificial effect; you can try on different modes of self-presentation; you can come out and reveal yourself in music, lessening (but not eliminating) the risk of exposing yourself to and being punished by those who would destroy queer possibility. These possibilities are available because music is a somewhat mysterious and implicit cultural form (Brett, 1994b; Koestenbaum, 2001; Peraino, 2006). It is for this reason, argue Sophie Fuller and Lloyd Whitesell, that music has provided the accompaniment for confrontations between disparate conventions of social propriety in general, and in particular, for encounters between diverse idiolects of sexual identity (2002, p. 12). Beyond music being a conduit for the performance of identity, there are some striking parallels between the experiences of queerness and music. Like queerness, music is often constructed as dangerous, subversive and deviant those who make it, play it and intensely participate in its gratification and circulation of pleasure are often accused, again like queers, of being weak in moral fortitude, for they pose a potential threat to regimes of the normal. As the pioneering gay musicologist Philip Brett once said: All musicians, we must remember, are faggots in the parlance of the male locker room (1994a, p. 371, emphasis in original). While certain popular music genres and subcultures have, over time, established their own regulatory regimes of hetero-patriarchy (as I discuss in Chapters 5 and 6), there is certainly truth to his claim. Twentieth century euphemisms that interconnect musicality and queerness, such as a friend of Dorothy or hes a little bit musical were once commonly used to describe a persons (usually a males) suspect homosexuality. A friend of Dorothy makes reference to Judy Garlands character in the 1939 film musical The Wizard of Oz, and plays on the established knowledge of Garlands iconic position within homosexual culture during the mid- to late twentieth century. More abstractly, the term musical in the phrase hes a little bit musical is intended to replace the term queer; thus musicality colloquially insinuates a recognisable performance of queer male identity. The equation of music and queerness has longer historical roots. For example, in the English novel Despised and Rejected (1988), by lesbian writer Rose Allatini (who first published the book in 1918 under the name A.T. Fitzroy), the term musical is used as a coded implication of her characters homosexuality. Similarly, Bretts

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(2002) work on the history of musicology and sexuality shows how, during the first half of the twentieth century, Tchaikovskys sexual nervousness (his homosexuality) was theorised in relation to his musical disposition. Musics capacity to construct, express, stimulate and channel sexual urges and desires especially queer desires renders it both a dynamic mode of sexual signification and, for the puritanical, a threatening agent of moral corruption: From Plato to Artusi to Hanslick, anxieties about musics power have been elaborated through metaphors of gender, sexual difference, and sexual allure, claims Susan Cusick (1999, p. 478). Brett, too, argues that music has often been considered a dangerous substance, an agent of moral ambiguity always in danger of bestowing deviant status upon its practitioner (1994b, p. 11). Since the eighteenth century, music has been conflated with woman, and the hysteria and weakness she symbolises within the patriarchal order; thus to fear music constituted what Richard Leppert calls a fear of feminine eruption (1993, p. 69) of irrational, unbridled and uninhibited desire. There has long existed in the West at least a degree of anxiety regarding the effect of music upon ones sexuality, as music potentially encourages one to overstep the bounds of modesty and deference (1993, p. 69). Remnants of musically mediated sexual anxieties are littered throughout the history of Western popular musics too. Jazz, for example, induced moral panic due to its supposed primitive sexuality, jungle passions and provocation of interracial sex and immorality (Starr & Waterman, 2010). Since its beginnings in the 1950s, rock music and its stars have regularly inspired moral outrage, making it a target of moral reformists vigorously opposed to the blatant sexuality and phallocentrism performed on stage by musicians such as Elvis Presley and Mick Jagger (Frith & McRobbie, 1990). Moreover, one only has to consider the phrase sex, drugs and rocknroll, which insinuates that rock music propels its subjects towards hedonism, immoral and illegal acts. Add to this the fact that the term, rocknroll was originally a euphemism for sex and it becomes easier to understand how embedded sexuality is in this form. Panic and moral opposition to popular music icons are still evident today. Consider, for example, the neoconservative gnashing of teeth that surrounds the likes of metal performer Marilyn Manson and his androgynous gender-distorting costumes and supposed incitation of violence, drug use and sexual obscenities. Or consider the more recent


CHAPTER 2: Music and Identity Selves, Sexualities and Scenes

pop sensation Lady Gaga and her presentation as hyper-femme, hypersexual and a rumoured hermaphrodite. Indeed, spectacular musicalised manifestations of peculiar, strange, queer embodied obscenities like Manson or Gaga are considered especially dangerous, disturbing and subversive because they pre-empt, perform and circulate a range of new identificatory and disidentificatory possibilities that lie outside of the given codes of gender and sexual identity and pleasure codes upon which society relies for the maintenance of order and power. And they do so spectacularly and on a grand scale in the most popular and populist forms of music culture: the pop charts. Indeed, according to Jacques Attali, musicians threaten the social order with their visions and practices because music is prophecy (1985, p. 11). Music heralds the future; it is a harbinger of change and speaks to new realities. If this is so, then it is entirely possible that queer musics anticipate new queer futures. In other words, the ways in which individuals and communities structure and imbue meaning in music provides a way of understanding how people and communities also structure themselves. Thinking about queer music, and by extension queer coalescence around particular musics, offers an insight into queer organisations of subjectivity, agency, community and activism. Through musical contestations of the majoritarian public sphere, we can read the potentialities of queer world-making, where music instigates a transgression of the limitations placed upon queerness in what Muoz calls the prison house of the here and now, and allows us to imagine collectively and anticipate the possibilities of queer futures. In his writings on queer utopia and futurity, Muoz asserts:
We must strive, in the face of the here and nows totalizing rendering of reality, to think and feel a then and there. Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds Often we can glimpse the worlds proposed and promised by queerness in the realm of the aesthetic. The aesthetic, especially the queer aesthetic, frequently contains blueprints and schemata of a forward-dawning futurity. Both the ornamental and the quotidian can contain a map of the utopia that is queerness. (2009, p. 1, emphasis in original)

Music, whether we are making it, performing it or listening to it, assists subjects to transcend the regularity of the everyday. As a temporal art form, music literally propels us through time and alters our experience of

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ourselves across time and space. If we think of music as something that exists only in the continual present of its unfolding (Malbon, 1999, p. 76), then perhaps it is easier to understand how music may provoke a dynamic, forward-dawning, unfixed and timeless idea of selfhood: a self that exists outside what Halberstam terms the heteronormative temporal frames of bourgeois reproduction and family, longevity, risk/safety, and inheritance (2005, p. 6). This is a self that can be (re)imagined, assembled and presented to the world via a meaning-making and signifying system music which, like queerness, is already outside of normative sexuality and sexual restraint. In other words, both music and queerness bring forth new organisations of the self and our world. And to think about queerness through music and to think about music through queerness theoretically enables one to enlighten the other in ways that have not yet been explored. More than any other form, argues Aaron Lecklider, music particularly popular musics from the twentieth century onwards has provided an arena where marginalized voices can be heard and sexual identities shaped, challenged, and renegotiated (2006, p. 117). Indeed, popular musics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been a dynamic site of gender and sexual oddity, and a productive site of queerness, providing numerous opportunities for people to explore alternative forms of self-presentation and to seek definition. With these parallels between queerness and music in mind, I want to argue further that music has played a crucial role in the fashioning of queer identities, the theatre of queer memory and the maintenance of queer culture more broadly. Moreover, music is a queer tactic of survival. Through music, queer bodies, subjectivities, desires and social relations are frequently constructed, affected and performed, and queer coalescence around particular musics has made space for, and temporally mapped otherness in, aggressively heteronormative cultural landscapes. Through music, queers have made and remade worlds. Perhaps, to non-queer ears and eyes, these worlds are barely recognisable as scenes and perhaps unrecognisable as anything as coherent as a subcultural genre or form like, for example, metal, hip hop or punk. But while we dont flick through catalogues in record stores or scroll iTunes browsing the queer section, it can also be said that there is no style or genre that does not contain elements of queerness. The musical aspects of queer world-making are often overlooked by popular music scholars, subcultural theorists and


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even though to a lesser extent queer theorists themselves. Instead, what we more commonly find are one-off accounts of the more spectacular renditions of queerness for example, David Bowies genderbending style of glam rock (Hawkins, 2009) or k.d. langs queer presence in country music (Bruzzi, 1997) or Deep Dickollectives affirmation of black queer identity through hip hop (Halberstam, 2005; Dunning, 2009). Moreover, because queerness lacks stylistic continuity and genre parameters, subcultural theory has tended to collapse examinations of music and sexuality into pre-existing and cohesive logics of cultural style, creating overly simplified queer versions of pre-existing, otherwise straight forms: merely placing the queer as an interjection or episode in otherwise heterocentric subcultural groupings. In popular music and subcultural studies in particular, there is little recognition of the stylistically and musically promiscuous histories of queerness and minimal attempts to understand how, collectively, these constitute significant acts of queer world-making. While, as I established earlier, music is a productive conveyer of sexual expression, particularly queer expression, I will now argue that we are yet to see the application of a useful theoretical model that explains the social significance of popular music in queer terms, and appropriately deals with the histories and logics of queer sexual style in both local and translocal contexts. In what follows, I suggest that a major reason for a lack of suitably nuanced understanding of queer music and subcultural activity directly relates to the limitations of subcultural theory itself. That is to say that subcultural theory has thus far been unable to deal with queerness as a subjectivity, a stylistic modality and as a form of resistance at the foundation of stylistic interpretation. Instead of placing sexual differences, queer self-fashioning and world-making at the centre of collective musical organisations, subcultural theory has tended to relegate queerness to the periphery. As Halberstam suggests in her work on queer subcultures, they need to be reckoned with on [their] own terms (2005, p. 154).

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Popular Music, Subcultures and Queer Scenes

As I outlined in the introduction, this book is concerned with tracing queer musical and stylistic histories, and with examining how queer identities are fashioned and expressed through music. It is also concerned with understanding how popular music is used to mark and regulate queer scenes, and with how queer world-making occurs in and through music and style. In order to put these aims in further context, I now turn my attention to subcultural theory and its relationship to sexual style and queer musics. Here, I offer a critique of relative theories relating to the social significance of popular music and extra-musical style, and argue for a more nuanced understanding of sexualities and their role in shaping relationships between popular music and (sub)cultural counter-publics. In the early 1970s, cultural theorists based at the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) borrowed and reworked the notion of subculture, shifting the application of the term from studies of juvenile delinquency, local gangs, crime and deviance originally employed by sociologists from the Chicago School (e.g. see Whyte, 1943) to youth cultural styles of the British post-Second World War period. The CCCS subcultural model, most famously developed in Stuart Hall and Tony Jeffersons landmark text Resistance Through Rituals (1976), sought to explain the behaviours of style-based youth cultures such as teddy boys, mods, rockers, skinheads, bikers and punks which had been developing rapidly in Britain since the 1950s. Imbued with both neo-Marxist structuralism and labelling theory, and tied specifically to the social conditions of young, white, working-class males, subcultures were theorised by the CCCS as sites of resistance that emerged as symbolic and aestheticised articulations of disdain for a monolithic parent culture and in contestation to Britains socio-economic and political post-war structures. While conceptualised in a number of different ways in Resistance Through Rituals, subcultural theory can be summarised broadly as a conceptual framework for reasoning a groups collective style-based responses to social exclusion, ambiguity, social conditions or limited potential, allowing for deviant behaviours to be read as markers of differentiation, opposition and struggle, and thus le-


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gitimising or normalising these behaviours in relation to oppressive social circumstances. Developing this model in his landmark text on punk, Subculture: The Meaning of Style (originally published in 1979), Dick Hebdige demonstrates how forbidden subcultural identities are signified through a limited array of stylistic artefacts; those who do not take part in these differentiating forms of semiotic guerrilla warfare (1991, p. 105) are implicitly incorporated into this paradigm as complacent unnamed straights. According to Hebdige, subculture provides a framework for understanding how cultural objects such as fashion, dance, music, film, literature and language can collectively be appropriated and inscribed with a range of new meanings detached from commodified culture, generating symbolic resistance and dissent. Thus, locating subculturalists outside of the majoritarian sphere. Consequently, when subcultural styles become commercialised by the cultural industries through incorporation back into the mainstream, they lose their critical potential for symbolic resistance. Thus, according to this theoretical model, subcultures are active, innovative, authentic and substantive sites that exist outside of mass culture in contrast to the passive uncritical consumption practices of an essentially homogenised mass cultural mainstream. The CCCS subcultural model is of importance here because it represents one of the first attempts to consider how marginalised and discontented groups of people generate connectedness and collective distinction via the meaning they imbue within popular music forms and associated extra-musical texts. Yet subcultural theory is problematic, and for a number of reasons one must approach the naming of distinct groups of people as subcultures with caution. There are numerous well-cited critiques of the Birmingham Schools approach, the most significant of which (at least to my argument) I will touch upon briefly. Since the 1990s, subcultural theory has taken an anti-essentialist turn, resulting in what we might generally refer to as post-subcultural studies. Subcultural critiques, reworkings and debates have exhaustingly been played out across a variety of cultural forms and contexts in a range of scholarly volumes such as Club Cultures (Thornton, 1995), The Clubcultures Reader (Redhead, Wynne & OConnor, 1997), The Post-subcultures Reader (Muggleton & Weinzierl, 2003), After Subculture (Bennett & Kahn-Harris, 2004), Music Scenes (Bennett & Peterson, 2004) and Youth Cultures (Hodkinson &

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Deicke, 2007). The majority of this work argues that the CCCS notion of subculture both exaggerated the differences between and underscored the internal homogeneity of those who fell within its groupings, thus presenting an overly simplistic duality between authentic subcultural production and mainstream media and commerce. Grounded in structuralist and oppositional logics of us versus them and minority versus majority, such an uncritical acceptance of subculturalists as authentic, outside of and Other to a relatively untheorised and monolithic mainstream fails to acknowledge that subcultural spheres are not hermeneutically sealed from one another. In a postmodern landscape characterised by cultural fragmentation and the proliferation of consumable products in late capitalism such as music, fashion or film, our contemporary understanding of a coherent individual subject with discrete ties to culture is unravelling. As argued in Chapter 1, the stable subject has now been replaced by a subject whose identity is understood to be fluid, or at least less fixed and reflexively derived from a multiplicity of sources ad sites whose boundaries are mutable and permeable (Jameson, 1992). Predicated on the knowledge that collective identification rooted in traditional social categories such as class, race, ethnicity and gender has shifted towards a freedom to choose ones identity and lifestyle, which may be derived from all manner of consumer goods, images and texts, the internal coherency of and boundaries between subcultures is decaying. While the meaning of stylistic commodities lay at the heart of subcultural theory, a number of scholars have raised concerns regarding the limited attention that the CCCS approach paid to popular music (e.g. see Bennett, 2000; Brown, 2003; Redhead, 1990). In his study of pop art and glitter rock, Van M. Cagle points to this noting that while the CCCS theorists view music as integral to the homology of the subculture, very little is said about how and why the music plays a significant role in the identity-making process of the subculture (1995, p. 39). Instead, what we more commonly find in CCCS work is a fixation on visual display at the expense of musical meaning. As Dave Laing (1985) demonstrates in his critique of Hebdiges (1991) analysis of punk, given the limited attention Hebdige gave to music, it thus seemed to be a less important part of the stylistic ensemble called punk (1985, p. x), the most significant part being the visual display or look of punk. Furthermore, Laings study is of significance because it demonstrates that musical


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taste is not necessarily a modality of class-consciousness but a form of oppositionality available to a range of social classes, and may in fact be read as a way to circumvent class rigidity. Indeed, when examining the social meaning of music in queer terms, the class-based interpretations of musical style put forward by the CCCS hold no credence. Moreover, in a queer context it is not only those supposedly counter-hegemonic forms like punk or rock that are employed politically, but a number of supposedly mainstream forms (such as pop) also acquire political meaning and provide a context for oppositional social critique. Although it could be said that the CCCS never claimed its work to be totalising and transferable, the centres approach also dealt rather haphazardly with the significance of locality. Emphasising the uniformity of style in white metropolitan contexts, the CCCS consequently overlooked translocal exchanges and cultural hybridisation, as well as locally specific meanings and variations of style in smaller urban, regional or rural settings. Moreover, in a globalising world, the local increasingly is influenced by transnational and disaporic peoples whose cultures impact upon existing localised forms and subsequently become incorporated into global mainstreams. Countering the limitations of a global and essentially white approach to subcultures, a considerable number of scholars have since demonstrated the embeddedness of musical expression in place, leading to a number of locally specific ethnographic studies of popular music and identity from both music-making and audience perspectives (e.g. see Bennett, 2000; Cohen, 1991; Harris, 2000; Shank, 1994). This has led to an understanding of musicalised identities as necessarily engaged in a dialectical relationship with the social organisations of the local contexts in which identities are lived out. In relation to the ethnographic work on queer music-making and scene formations in this study, we will see how musicalised articulations of queer approaches to gender and sexuality reflect both the global mobility of cultural forms and local structures of feeling. Youth possibly the most steadfast determinant of subcultural membership to date has also become a contested category within the post-subcultural debate. The original subcultures identified in the CCCS work are themselves ageing, and thus it follows that some of those people who came of age as part of a particular subculture are themselves growing old with that subculture. As recent British studies into punk (Bennett, 2006), goth (Hodkinson, 2011) and northern soul

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scenes (Smith, 2009) have demonstrated, these days it is far less common for people to resist the music and subcultural investments of their youth completely. Increasingly, early adult and middle-aged subjects are finding ways to incorporate traditionally youthful activities into their ageing lifestyles, and to locate their sense of self in music either through continuing musical and stylistic investments carried over from their youth or through new investments that they make in the years beyond their youth. As both Halberstam (2005) and I (see Taylor, J., 2010, 2012) have previously argued, queer subcultures, which exist largely outside traditional kinship notions of family and community, are hotbeds of post-adolescent music and style-making activity. Indeed, the people I interviewed in this study represent a diverse range of ages, from late teens to late forties, and thus fall outside the definition of youth. Another point of criticism levelled at subcultural theory that warrants attention relates to issues of gender and sexuality. Preoccupied with the more spectacular of leisure pursuits and grand public displays of stylised deviance visible at a street level, subcultural theory effectively precluded certain forms of participation from mattering. Overlooking those participants whose commitment was modulated, or whose alliances were less public, compromised an understanding of the functions that subcultural style assumes in more mundane and everyday ways such as within domestic settings, or bedroom cultures (McRobbie & Garber, 1976). Since the leisure-time and cultural practices of young women often occurred in the home and thus less visible, girl-centred teeny bopper culture was relegated to being interpreted as part of the passive mainstream, and girls were disregarded as private consumers. According to Angela McRobbie (1980), in the absence of empirical data to tell us how style produces meaning in quotidian lives, we are left with an uncritically masculinist bias of what subcultural style means, a bias that reflects both subcultural machismo and the selective tendencies of subcultural researchers themselves. However, as Susan Driver (2007, p. 205) notes, in attempting to respond to subcultural theorys sexist orientations, feminist youth culture approaches have often reified gender parameters in their attempts to promote female alternatives, structuring girls musical tastes in binary gender terms. Such an approach, Driver argues, leaves little room to consider girls who defy heterosexual expectations and feminine norms, excluding those girls who take up masculinity as a site of identification. Remarkably, among the numerous criticisms of


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the CCCS approach to subcultures, there has been little concern about its failure to account for the styles of sexually deviant subcultures. Queer subcultures illustrate vividly the limits of subcultural theories that omit consideration of sexuality and sexual styles, argues Halberstam (2005, p. 161). Queer subcultural members routinely problematise straightforward distinctions in relation to established socio-economic and cultural indicators such as sexual identity, gender, age, locality, race, ethnicity and class. They share a tenuous relationship with the mass media and because they espouse a form of sexual desire that is still so abject to the norm, they are far less likely to be absorbed into the mainstream intact, but rather are poached for their style like pop cultures appropriation of camp while the significant political work that occurs at the site of style is discarded. This is not to say that queer subcultures are beyond media influence or do not interact with it in interesting ways. Queer cultural forms such as drag, for example, regularly poach aspects of commercial culture pop star identities, songs, dance moves, style and put them to use in ways that do not neatly occupy either a space within subcultural semiotic rebellion or the commodified cultural mainstream, for they can often operate within both simultaneously. Further demonstrating the invalidity of a CCCS approach in relation to theorising sexual minority cultures, Halberstam goes on to argue that:
Queer subcultures cannot be placed in relation to a parent culture, and they tend to form in relation to place as much as in relation to a genre of cultural expression, and ultimately, they oppose not only the hegemony of dominant culture but also the mainstreaming of lesbian and gay culture. (2005, p. 161)

Therefore, theorising the ways in which music functions as a critical stylistic resource in queer social lives necessitates the establishment of a theoretical framework that accommodates these parameters. For this purpose, I turn to critical work on scenes.

Scenes Many post-CCCS reworkings of subculture, such as Paul Hodkinsons (2002) study of goth, have proffered sophisticated theoretical alternatives while maintaining the usefulness of subculture as a term that differ-

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entiates those groupings which are predominantly ephemeral from those which entail far greater levels of commitments, continuity, distinctiveness, or, to put it in general terms, substance (p. 24). Indeed, in the context of goth subculture, stylistic substance and continuity are more easily identifiable than in the context of queer subcultures, which I will come to argue are far more ephemeral and stylistically promiscuous. Others, however, have disavowed the term subculture altogether. Two of the prominent alternatives to subculture offered by scholars with a popular music focus on youth cultural formations include clubcultures (Redhead, Wynne & OConnor, 1997; Thornton, 1995) and neo-tribes (Bennett, 1999, 2000). The former can be employed substantively to refer to localised youth cultures centred around dance music who construct their own hierarchies of authenticity in term of taste and for whom dance clubs and their eighties offshoots, raves, are the symbolic axis and working social hub (Thornton, 1995, p. 3). Meanwhile, the latter, grounded in Michel Maffesolis Time of the Tribes (1996) and developed by Andy Bennett (1999, 2000) in relation to urban dance music, is characterised by temporal gatherings, superficial affiliations and the fluid stylistic boundaries of contemporary youth music taste cultures. Again, both terms offer a useful framework for thinking through the social practices, sensibilities and collective identities of young people in relation to music consumption. However, neither is suitable in the context of this study as neither can account adequately for music performance, production and consumption beyond the clubbing experience. Thinking about cultural identity and musical production and consumption with the concept of scenes is one of the more recent endeavours in the post-subcultural debate. In contrast to the approaches mentioned above, the scenes perspective offers much greater scope to account for queer experience, and I argue that it is the most suitable theoretical alternative for examining queer music practice and musicorientated collective formations, and for thinking about sexuality and sexual style. Influenced by work in the fields of cultural studies and cultural geography, scene has transpired out of the reductiveness and inflexibility of subcultural theory and the necessity to be able to theorise beyond the spectacular leisure pursuits of youth, thus situating it as a useful alternative to subculture for some popular music studies scholars. Scene constitutes a theoretical and empirical critique of the relationship that music and associated forms of cultural style assume in everyday


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contexts and, in contrast to subculture, allows for a greater range of styles, sensibilities, practices and forms of participation to be counted as meaningful. According to Bennett (2004), thinking in terms of scenes suggests that membership is not necessarily restricted according to class, gender, or ethnicity, but may cut across all of these (2004, p. 225). But as is evident in Bennetts statement and in the work of the majority of subcultural and post-subcultural researchers upon which Bennett draws he too fails to consider sexuality, and through exclusion one only serves to reinforce and naturalise heterosexuality as a default category, the presumption being that it is internally coherent within a scene. To counter this normative critical approach, in the remainder of this chapter I pay particular attention to the way in which a scenes perspective can indeed accommodate sexual non-normativity and queer style, an assertion that I test in my empirical research in Chapter 7. The scenes perspective has its roots in two prominent texts: Barry Shanks book Dissonant Identities: The RocknRoll Scene in Austin, Texas (1994) and Will Straws article Systems of Articulation, Logics of Change: Communities and Scenes in Popular Music (1991). In Shanks study, he advocates for an understanding of a scene that is rooted in localised communities of music-making and spectatorships where a plurality of styles that are often contradictory all circulate within the same networks, drawing on the same localised knowledges; thus all achieve recognition as authentic within a local context. Grounded in an understanding of musics significance to the local, Shank suggests that a scene is an overproductive signifying community (1994, p. 122), which, through music and extra-musical style, interrogates and exchanges a discourse around local politics and identity in parallel yet incongruous terms. By way of example, Shank points to the multiple and conflicting ways in which Texan masculinity is expressed within the same local context (Austin) via the contrasting genres of cowboy songs and punk rock. Borrowing from Shanks earlier work in a suggestive conference paper, Straw (1991) offers a different perspective though a complementary one on the conceptualisation of scenes. He formulates an understanding of scenes as distinct from a community or subculture where particular social differences are articulated within the building of audiences around particular coalitions of musical form (p. 384). Within these cultural spaces, a large range of musical practices coexist, interacting with each other within a variety of processes of differenti-

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ation, and according to widely varying trajectories of change and crossfertilization (p. 373). Straws argument centres primarily on the interplay between local and global music communities and the degrees of cosmopolitanism evident in locally specific systems of articulation. In other words, Straw offers a way to theorise stylistic forms of differentiation that occur within a given cultural space (such as a musical form) beyond fixed boundaries of locality that is, translocally. Drawing on Straws (1991) theoretical approach, Keith Harriss (2000) study of extreme metal scenes is a useful example of the way that thinking with scenes can help illuminate the practices of music-making and consumption in particular generic, temporal and spatial contexts. Harris emphasises the terms flexible application to musical spaces and practices, and offers a way to examine local/global relationships beyond logics of homology and stylistic symmetry. For Harris, scenes include everything, from tight-knit local musical communities to isolated musicians and occasional fans, since all contribute to and feed off a larger space(s) of musical practice. It follows, then, that everything within a scene, and indeed scenes themselves, may exist within a number of other scenes (2000, p. 25). While both Straws and Shanks original arguments are grounded in different logics of locality, what we can deduce from their work is that a scene produces an array of signifiers that filter through local sites, dynamically mediate and synergise local and global aesthetics and, in a given cultural context, contest homologous cultural structures and coherent narratives of identification. Such scenes may either be local, occurring in a specific geographical location, or translocal, thus orientated around stylistic and/or musicalised associations across geographical boarders. It is also necessary to mention here that there is a third dimension to the scenes argument put forward in Andy Bennett and Richard A. Petersons edited volume, Music Scenes (2004), which examines scenic formations not only in the local and translocal contexts, but also in virtual contexts. In summary, they define these three types of scene as follows. The local refers to clusters of people in a delimited space who share common musical tastes and collectively [distinguish] themselves from others by using music and cultural signs often appropriated from other places, but recombined and developed in ways that come to represent the local scene (Peterson & Bennett, 2004, p. 8). The translocal refers to the ways in which music and styles produce affective


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communities that, while situated within the local, interact and connect with groups of kindred spirits many miles away (Peterson & Bennett, 2004, pp. 89) who exhibit parallel expressions of musical taste, cultural identity and style. Like translocal scene participants, those in virtual scenes are widely separated geographically, but unlike them, virtual scenes participants around the world come together in a single scenemaking conversation via the Internet (Peterson & Bennett, 2004, p. 10). This could include online chat-room groups and fanzines that share common stylistic sensibilities, and trade music and images online (e.g. see Lee & Peterson, 2004). By Peterson and Bennetts definition, virtual scenes are controlled primarily by fans rather than cultural producers. However, in the advent of collaborative audio and video performance software that allows people to generate and perform audio and video over the internet in real time, it would be remiss to presume that virtual scenes are exclusively discussion based. These three ways of interpreting scenes are not discrete, but necessarily overlap, as one type of scene will inform another, which in turn will inform another across the categories of style and spatial contexts.

Queer Scenes: Translocality, Sexual Distinction and World-making The emphasis on locality that preoccupied many of the early ethnographic studies of music scenes and associated lifestyles has since been challenged for over-emphasising the separation between the local and the global. Shared tastes cut across geographical boarders, making localised cultural networks difficult to contain within delimited space. As illustrated in this quote from Simon Reynolds, a noise band in Manchester can have more in common with a peer group in Austin, Texas than one of its neighbours two blocks away (1990, p. 174). Indeed, with regard to the local queer performers who inform the case studies in this book, it is evident that they identify and interact with queer histories, musics and styles that cannot be confined narrowly to their home town of Brisbane or even contained within national borders. While all the local artists I interviewed responded to various localised social circumstances and national political debates, their sense of what is stylistically appropriate is as much informed by a desire to express their gender and sexual subjectivities and their queer world-views. Moreover, in doing

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this, they draw on the queer and political histories of a wide range of cultural forms and styles, thus connecting them to and locating them within existing scenes and forms of culture-making that are neither discretely local nor discretely style-based. Rather, their scenic connections hinge more radically on their identification as queer and on their desire to affect queer social critique by musically and stylistically traversing conceptual boundaries around gender and sexual norms both hetero and homo age, race and class-based norms and, in some instances, the stylistic norms that have come to signify mainstream lesbian and gay culture. Ultimately, their experiences of gender and sexual Otherness imbue their cultural production with personal, social and political meaning in multiple and unique ways that defy spatial limitations and stylistic coherence. To account for the interplay among the global communities of taste on which queers draw, contribute to and redefine, as well as their weighty political histories and local vernaculars of style, the approach to queer scenes that I advocate here is grounded in translocality. However, the notion of a translocal scene needs some adjustment to account for queerness. As we will see in the localised case studies of queer musicians and performers presented at the end of Chapters 4, 5 and 6, these people who are all from the same local scene draw on an excessive array of styles, sensibilities and aesthetics that collectively contribute to an understanding of a queer scene as musically and stylistically promiscuous. In an article entitled Queer Aesthetics, Daniel Williford (2009) examines queer aesthetics in visual arts conjuring the notion of a promiscuous image, where queerness is something that embodies excessive aesthetic enunciations. He writes: the political force of queer aesthetics lies not in a specific announcement but in an effort that keeps ambiguity at play in relation to social subjectivity (p. 7). Queerness, he goes on to argue, reminds us that aesthetic ambiguity is possible; that queer politics see the ordering logics of normativity as a sign that there is always the possibility of reordering meaning and that meaning is always in excess: excess is the language of queer logic (p. 13). Style such as that associated with being a bear, a leatherman, a queen, a dandy, a twink, a butch


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or a femme, for example is a way for queer individuals to distinguish themselves, to signal their sexual desires and criminal intimacies (Berlant & Warner, 1998, p. 558), and to locate themselves within queer communities of desire and social resistance. The signification of queer desires through style has a long history, one that surpasses any of the post-war subcultural formations, and as Williford would have it, queer culture-makers see the possibilities of reinterpreting and reordering the meaning of style in endless ways. Just as there are multiple ways of being queer and signifying ones sexual desire or gender identity through cultural symbols, the stylistic modalities of queer scenes are also multiple. For the cultural histories and meanings of a range of styles that can all be called queer are radically different in character. Queer scenes, then, are not typified by stylistic continuity or substance; rather, their distinctiveness is evidenced by their stylistic excess. At the beginning of this chapter, I pointed to DeNoras (2000) ideas on music as a resource for utopian imaginations and a means for creating alternative worlds and institutions, and I would argue that a lack of scenic coherence and stylistic excess bespeaks alternative worlds that are queerly imagined: amorphous, ambiguous and adaptable. Because heteronormativity dictates public culture, the sites of queer world-making are often marginal, ephemeral and subterranean, constructed in the counterpublic sphere through embodied social practices such as music, dancing and performance. The covert transmission of queerness and the nebulous points of entry that make queer worlds ephemeral and difficult to recognise have everything to do with the fact that leaving too much of a trace has often meant that the queer subject has left herself open for attack (Muoz, 1996, p. 6). The queer world is not made clear for us; rather, we come to feel it, find it and know it as selves that have already been shaped by other aspects of culture, style and taste, and we bring these with us into our queer worlds. The routes that we take to find queerness are often varied and unconventional, requiring us to traverse the cultural spaces that might otherwise contain us if we were not, as queers, seeking to inhabit a queer world.

These are vernacular terms commonly used to describe certain somatotypes, fashions, taste cultures and gender presentations. These terms are defined in the relevant chapters that follow.

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In their article Sex in Public, Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner (1998) argue that a queer world is a space of entrances, exits, unsystematized lines of acquaintance, projected horizons, typifying examples, alternate routes, blockages, incommensurate geographies (p. 558). Queer scenes structure and make public a common language of selfcultivation, shared knowledge, and the exchange of inwardness through mobile sites of drag, youth culture, music, dance, parades, flaunting, and cruising (p. 561). The tactics of queer world-making involve transformation of the self and the social in a way that makes queer pleasures possible and desirable. Queer scenes are attempts to make worlds within which queerness is legible. Music is a strategic resource that both aids self-fashioning and sustains world-making attempts. What music, style and performance can offer in terms of world-making is the promise of transformative agency, grounded in everyday life practices and locations (Jagose, 2000, para. 37). For Warner, the idea of queer world-making is centred around:
the activity we undertake with each other, in a kind of agonistic performance in which what we become depends on the perspectives and interactions of others, brings into being the space of our world, which is then the background against which we understand ourselves and our belonging. I find this a compelling account because it stresses historical activity and human creativity, but without falling into a naive view of individual agency or intentionality. The world made in public action is not an intended or designed world, but one disclosed in practice. It is a background for self-understanding, and therefore something not purely individual. It is also immanent to history and practice, unlike ideas of community or identity, which tend to be naturalized as stable or originary. And it is a language of performativity that is necessarily contextual and multi-perspectival, rather than the somewhat decontextualized picture of performativity that we often find in queer theory, where the only scene of enunciation is the relation between the subject and a norm. (Warner cited in Jagose, 2000, para. 38)

In the next section of this book, I chart the emergence of a select range of queer sensibilities, styles and musical cultures by first outlining the translocal histories of these styles and then examining the ways in which they are taken up in the everyday local context of Brisbane, Australia. This study is by no means an exhaustive endeavour, and it is not intended to be one. The purpose of the case studies in Chapters 4, 5 and 6 is to provide rich insights into musical modalities of queer gender and sexual self-making; to provide a snapshot of the kinds of activities that


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are occurring in one particular and localised site of queer world-making; and to illustrate how these local sites draw upon translocal histories of queer style. Then, in Chapter 7, I return specifically to this scenes approach and make sense of how, in practical terms, queer scenes generate meaningful order out of musical and stylistic excess.

Coda It would be remiss of me not to mention a nagging concern I have with the terms this chapter has critiqued and defended: subculture and scene. To this end, I must point out the reccurring incongruences I have noted in the application of these terms inside and outside the academy. The vernacular use of these terms works largely with exactly the opposite logic on the streets, so to speak. While in the context of scholarly analysis, I find that the scene perspective is more plausible, within the scene itself, this word is rarely used as a form of collective reference. Instead, among the queer scenes I have studied, subculture is the most favoured term of collective self-reference. This is because the scene or, as one might say, to be on the scene appears to imply a level of visibility now associated with mainstream gay culture and commercial gay club spaces, while for those who participate in more underground, DIY counter-publics, subculture connotes the more subversive qualities of queerness; thus it is this term that is favoured and more commonly employed in self-reference. For many of the queer-identified people I interviewed, queer functions as a subculture in the sense that they collectively see themselves as resisting both the stylistic norms of the commercial gay club scene and the heterosexual norms of dominant culture. While I do not believe that this is a reason to turn our attention back to subcultural theory and, as I have argued, the scenes perspective offers greater theoretical and epistemological flexibility, it is nevertheless a terminological dissonance worth mentioning so as to avoid later confusion.

This is a limited preview provided with the consent of the publisher Peter Lang


A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.: 127 ACT UP: 77, 142 Afro Sisters: 95 ageing music fans: 545 AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power: see ACT UP AIDS: 68, 95 Alexander, Mary: 10316 Boom Bang: 104 Tricky: 104, 1078, 113 Alexander, Matilda: 161, 162, 170, 171 Allatini, Rose: 467 Alliance Hotel (Brisbane): 181 all-male revue: 90 Altman, Dennis: 23, 67, 196 American Psychiatric Association: 21 Anal Traffic: 9, 13348, 196 Age of Consent controversy: 1445 album artwork: 1379 approach: 13545 clothing: 135 distinctive sound: 1357 Dump EP: 1345 humour: 143 lyrics: 135, 13942, 147 performing queer identities: 1458 physical image: 1456 punk influence: 136 sensibility of play: 140 socio-political consciousness: 1423 use of bodies: 135 visual content: 137 see also queercore Angels of Light: 93 Arnold, Gina: 126 Arq (Sydney): 119, 194 Ashburn, Elizabeth: 97

assimilation: 24, 25 Attali, Jacques: 48, 130, 215 autoethnography: 13 Babuscio, Jack: 71, 114 Baker, Roger: 90 Bakhtin, Mikhail: 12930 Bakshi, Leela: 180, 198 Barnard, Ian: 27 Bassey, J.C. Nimblefingers: 161 Battle, Kathleen: 92 Bayton, Mavis: 152 Beasley, Chris: 323 Beat Mega Club (Brisbane): 181, 182, 189, 191, 193, 195 Bellini, Vincenzo: 73, 78 Benkert, Karoly Maria: 1819, 22 Bennett, Andy: 52, 57, 58, 5960 Berdaches: 86 Berghain (Berlin): 203, 21113 Berlant, Lauren: 29, 63 Berlin gay scene: see LGBTQ culture in Berlin as queer metropolis: 200, 205 reunification: 201 Weimar: 201 Berlin Insane: 207 Bertha Control: 9, 151, 16074, 180 album art: 166, 167 albums: 161 approach to female stereotypes: 1714 Bertha vibe: 1656 black triangle: 1701 female instrumentalists: 1656 healing role: 162, 1634 lyrics: 16870 mentoring role: 163

musicality: 1645 performances: 161 performing queer identities: 1714 playful approach: 1701 social justice role: 1634, 16671 see also feminist music-making; womyns music Big Gay Day (Brisbane): 179 Bikini Kill: 154, 155 Bimbox: 125 bio queens: 9, 85, 96, 989, 10316 biological sex: 32 Birmingham School: see Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (Birmingham) Bitch and Animal: 158 Bjelke-Petersen, Sir Joh: 178 Black Fag (band): 95 Black Fag (Brisbane): 1845 Bleyle, Jody: 1256 Bloolips: 93 Body Line (Brisbane): 181 Bom, Patty: see Preece, Patty Boot Co. (Brisbane): 181 border crossing: 3 Bowie, David: 50, 80, 1212, 199 Brand, Adolf: 19, 200 Bratmobile: 154 Brett, Philip: 46, 47 bricolage: 132 Briefs (Brisbane): 184 BrisBears (Brisbane): 179 British Homosexual Reform Society: 22 Britton, Andrew: 72 Bronstein, Kate: 215 Brooke, Dita: 10316, 194 Mitzee Burger: 104 Rock Hard: 104, 115 Brown Sugar (Brisbane): 17980 Browne, Kath: 180, 198 Buckland, Fiona: 189 burlesque: 84, 878 Bust magazine: 155 Butchies, The: 158 Butler, Judith: 304, 84, 95, 100

Index C.C. the Cat: see Cottone, Clare cabaret, European: 88 Cabaret: 199 Caf Fatal (Berlin): 208 Cagle, Van M.: 53 camp: 4, 6781 aestheticism: 70, 712 as aestheticised political praxis: 9, 67, 75, 77 appropriation by popular culture: 678, 70 association with queer identity: 67 as critique of social normativities: 67 defined: 67, 68 deliberate: 73 emergence of: 9, 67 evolving meaning of: 68 features of camp performance: 712 gender performance interplay: 72 gender transgression: 74 high: 69, 912 humour: 71, 72 in literature: 6970 irony: 71 location within queer discourse: 68 low: 69, 912 performative qualities: 74 as product of gay oppression: 71 as queer parody: 737, 131 relationship to music: 7881 sensibility: 80 separation of gender from sexed body: 72 theatricality: 71, 72 use of parody: 73, 756, 80 Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP): 22 Candy-Ass Records: 125, 126 carnivalesque: 12930 Cave, Nick: 199 Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (Birmingham): 516 subcultural model: 52 Chainsaw: 125 Chantals House of Shame (Berlin): 208

Index Chauncey, George: 91 Cher: 92 Cherrie magazine: 156 Chicago School: 516 Chisholm, Dianne: 201 Cian: 134, 135, 148 Citizens Welfare Committee (Brisbane): 179 City Lickers (Brisbane): 183 Cleto, Fabio: 72, 73 Clinton, Lord Arthur: 69 clothes gender-bending fashion: 117 gendered dressing: 83 see also cross-dressing; drag Club Phoenix (Brisbane): 183 clubcultures: 57 Coates, Norma: 149 Cockatoo Club (Brisbane): 181, 189 Cocker, Jarvis: 80 Cockettes, The: 934 Community of the Peculiar: 200 Connections (Berlin): 205 Connell, John: 197 Cook, Nicholas: 41 Cooper, Alice: 122 Cooper, Dennis: 123 Core, Philip: 67 Corium dance party: 179 Cottone, Clare: 161, 1623, 164, 167, 170, 171 counter-culture movement: 22 Crawford, Joan: 92 critical insider research: 68 cross-dressing: 834; in films: 84, 90 Crystals (Brisbane): 189 Cure, The: 78 Currid, Brian: 191 Cusick, Susan: 47, 1012, 112 Cut and Taste (Brisbane): 184, 189, 195, 196 Cvetkovich, Ann: 159 Dahl, Ulrika: 8 dance clubs: 4, 190

culture: 6 see also dance music; house music dance music in gay clubs: 4, 18990 dandyism: 70 Darfur, Blitz: 134, 139, 141, 142 Daughters of Bilitis: 22 Davey, Kate: 97 Davis, Madeline: 96 Dawron, Dora: 8990 De Lauretis, Teresa: 26 Dead Man Talking: 1845 Decadance (Brisbane): 184, 189, 195, 196 DeChaine, D. Robert: 11920, 128, 129, 1313, 141 Deep Dickollective: 50 Deleuze, Jacques: 34 Den, the (Brisbane): 181 DeNora, Tia: 41, 43 Depeche Mode: 199 Der Eigene, 19 Devitt, Rachael: 98 Dickinson, Kay: 79 Dietrich, Marlene: 69, 201 DiFranco, Ani: 118 Dillon, Matt: 138 Disposable Toy Boys: 99 Ditto, Beth: 158, 159, 160 diva, cult of: 92 Diva magazine: 118, 159 Dizzygotheca: 196 DJ Neroli: 176 Dobkin, Alix: 153, 156 Dollimore, Jonathan: 74 Donaldson, Stephen: 1223 Donny the Punk, see Donaldson, Stephen Doty, Alexander: 36 Downes, Julia: 155 Downs, Kylie: 138 Downs, Samantha: 134, 135, 146 drag: 4, 83116 anarchic: 93 aural signifiers: 100, 103

contemporary roles: 9 criticism as sexist: 845 as critique of gender performance: 84 cross-gender dressing: 834 disruptive agenda: 102 as form of queer agency: 85, 1934 in films: 84, 90 in gay culture: 916 importance of music to: 85 lesbian: 901 masquerade balls: 91, 179 origins of: 86103 poaching of commercial culture: 56 role in gay liberation: 95 underground clubs: 91, 92 use of term: 87 see also bio queens; drag kings; lip-synching drag kings: 9, 85, 968, 99, 10316 drag queens: 196 focus on: 85, 95 political role of: 92 Draper, Paul: 80 Driver, Susan: 55, 151, 159 Drummond, Murray: 187 Duggan, Lisa: 379 Dyer, Richard: 71 dykecore: 150, 157 see also riot grrrl, riot dyke EDM: see dance music Eldorado (Berlin): 201 Elliot, Paige: 183 Ellis, Havelock: 1718 Eltinge, Julian: 88, 90 empirical literacy: 6 Errol, Bert: 8990 Etheridge, Melissa: 158, 196 Evans, Caroline: 100 extreme metal: 59 Family, The (Brisbane): 183 Fanny: 158 fashion: see clothes

Index Fast, Susan: 79 Female Menudo, The: 95 feminism lesbian: 152, 154 marginal position of lesbians: 245 postmodern: 15 second-wave: 15, 152, 154 third-wave: 150, 153, 154 see also feminist music-making; lesbian feminism; riot grrrl; womyns music feminist music-making 9 queer: 4, 14974 see also riot grrrl; womyns music femininity: 31 see also gender Fenster, Mark: 117, 119 Fertile La Toyah Jackson: 95, 125 festivals, lesbian: 118 Fifth Column: 125 Filiault, Shaun: 187 Fitzroy, A.T.: see Allatini, Rose Fleming, Renee: 92 Fluffy (Brisbane): 1823, 189, 191, 193 Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley: 149 Folsom Street Fair (Berlin): 202 Fosse, Bob: 199 Foucault, Michel: 16, 26, 279, 43, 201 Franklin, Aretha: 115 Fretmaster Flawless: 161 Freud, Sigmund, 1920 Friskies-Warren, Bill: 156 Frith, Simon: 44, 45, 189 Fuller, Sophie: 46 G.A.Y. (London): 118 Gamman, Lorraine: 100 Gamson, Joshua: 26 Gang Stars, see Twang Gang garbadjeelum: 17980 Garber, Marjorie: 86 Garland, Judy: 7980, 92 Garvey, Shane: 134, 135, 139, 141, 142, 145, 146

Index gay aesthetic: 1878 marriage: 36; see also mainstreaming of lesbian and gay culture mobilization of term: 223 music venues in Brisbane, see LGBTQ culture in Brisbane musical norms: 11718 pride songs: 23 rights: 36 scene, see LGBTQ culture in Brisbane gay liberation in Brisbane: 1789 movement: 224, 71 theory: 23 Gay Liberation Front: 23, 93 Gayhane (Berlin): 204 Gaynor, Gloria: 191 Gemeinschaft der Eigenen: 19 gender biological sex and: 323 categorisation: 31 doing: 33 norms: 32 trouble: 30, 33, 100 as performance: 304 socially constructed: 31 subversion: 84; see also drag voice in determining: 1003 see also biological sex; sexed body genderfuck: 4, 9, 84, 93, 95, 98103, 110, 112 multiple performances of gender: 99100 Gibson, Chris: 197 Giffney, Noreen: 35 Gilbert, Douglas: 89 Gill, John: 189 Ginoli, Jon: 1234 glam rock: 50, 121 global communities of taste: 61 GMF (Berlin): 205 God Is My Co-Pilot: 125 Gossip, The: 158 goth: 6, 54 subculture 567 Gray, Macy: 78 Grinder (Brisbane): 183 Grossberg, Lawrence: 42


Hacienda Hotel (Brisbane): 181 Hadleigh, Boze: 456 Halberstam, Judith: 4, 7, 49, 50, 55, 56, 96, 97, 100, 157, 15960, 174, 186, 209 Hall, Melissa: 104 Miss Match: 104 Hall, Stuart: 51 Halperin, David: 16, 35 Hanna, Kathleen: 155, 158, 159 Hannay, John: 181 Hargreaves, David: 43 Harris, Keith: 59 Hawkins, Justin: 80 Hawkins, Stan: 80 Hays Hollywood Motion Picture Production Code: 90 heavy metal: 6 see also extreme metal Hebdige, Dick: 52, 534, 121 Hedwig and the Angry Inch: 199 heternormativity 29: as fixed category: 2930; see also homosexual/ heterosexual binary heterosexuality: 29 heterosexual matrix: 32 heterotopia: 201 Hex, Celina: 155 Hirschfeld, Magnus: 18, 200 Hodkinson, Paul: 6, 567 Holes and Poles (Brisbane): 179 Holmes, Analea: 104, 1067 Inspector Muff: 104 Mr Frisky Bob: 104, 1067 Holy Titclamps: 125 homocore: 119, 124 see also queercore, dykecore

Homocore magazine 1223, 125 homogenization of lesbian and gay culture, see mainstreaming of lesbian and gay culture homonormativity: 349 frames of: 49 Homophile Movement: 212 homophilia: 212 homosexual rights movement: 15, 213 homosexual/heterosexual binary: 2930 homosexuality attempts to cure: 18 biological model: 23 congenital: 1718 cultural triggers: 18 as deviant: 201 emergence of: 8 as fixed category: 2930 history of: 15 inversion: 17 medicalisation, 19, 28 psychiatric classification: 21 socially constructed: 1920 treatments and therapies: 21 see also homosexual/heterosexual binary Hot Peaches; 93 house music, 1901 in gay clubs: 191 handbag (diva) house: 1912, 198 see also dance music, dance clubs Howard, John: 142 Hutcheon, Linda: 75, 131; identity disidentification: 35 messiness of: 356 music and: 4164 queer as 35 Inches magazine: 146 Indigo Girls: 158 Institute of Sexology: 200 International Lesbian Day: 179

Index intersex: 33 see also gender, sexed body Isherwood, Christopher: 6970, 73 J.D.s: 1245 Jagger, Mick: 47, 80, 1212 Jagose, Annamarie: 22, 24, 26 Jarman-Ivens, Freya: 7881 Jay, Karla: 23 Jefferson, Tony: 51 Jeffreys, Elena: 156 Jeffreys, Sheila: 150 Jennings, Tom: 122 jester: 21516 Jet, Joan: 158 Jones, G.B., 1245 Jones, Paul: 134, 135, 139, 141, 142, 146 jongleur: 21516 Joyce, Victoria Moon: 215 Kabuki: 86 Kaminsky, Elizabeth: 85 Kathakali dance drama: 86 Kearney, Mary Celeste: 152 Kennedy, Elizabeth: 96 Khawal dancers: 86 Kings Ball (Brisbane): 179 Kinsey, Alfred: 20 Kirsch, Max: 27 Kleinhans, Chuck: 68, 75, 129, 131 Klub Kruise (Brisbane): 181 Knuckles, Frankie: 191 krautrock: 207 LaBruce, Bruce: 1245 Lady Bunny: 94, 95 Lady Gaga: 48, 191 Ladyfest: 118 Laing, Dave: 534 lang, k.d.: 50, 118, 158, 196 lavender menace: 24 Le Tigre: 157, 159 Leather Pride Festival (Brisbane): 179 Lecklider, Aaron: 49

Index Lennox, Annie: 78 Leon, Francis: 88 Leppert, Richard: 47 Lez Vegas (Brisbane): 114, 183 lesbian feminism: 256 music venues, see LGBTQ culture in Brisbane roles: 967 sexuality: 256 sound: 196 uniform: 196 use of space: 1823 lesbian and gay studies: 15 Lesbians on Ecstasy: 160 LGBTQ culture in Berlin: 199214 DIY venues: 199 Kreuzberg: 2024 marketing stereotypes: 203 Prenzlauer Berg: 199, 2024, 205, 2067 scene locations: 202 Schneberg: 201, 202, 205 Turkish gay scene: 204 use of queer in Germany: 204 utopian potentiality: 20914 white gay scene: 204 LGBTQ culture in Brisbane: 17799 alternative events: 1834, 187, 1945 commercial venues: 1801, 185, 187, 194, 196 dance clubs: 1901 DIY events: 184, 187, 1956 door policies: 184 Indigenous: 17980 lesbian venues: 1823 locations: 180, 184 preference for gay clubs: 1889 Liberace: 7980 Lieven, Jo: 104, 108 Bonn Apiteet: 104 Elektra Fying: 104 Lilith Fair: 118 lip-synching: 9, 99, 1002, 11112, 193 Livingstone, JennLH: 94 Lolly Factory (Brisbane): 184 Lonc, Christopher: 100 Lorde, Audre: 30 Love Parade (Berlin): 202, 211 L-Tunes (Berlin): 205 Lurleen: 94 Lyotard, Jean-Franois: 26


MacDonald, Raymond: 43 Madonna: 78, 92, 115, 191 Maffesoli, Michel: 57 mainstream society as mythical norm: 30 see also heteronormativity mainstreaming of lesbian and gay culture: 37, 186 Malbon, Ben: 6 Mallan, Kerry: 75 Mamone, Gina: 156 Manson, Marilyn: 478 masculinity: 31 see also gender masquerade balls: 91, 179 see also Sleaze Ball maTHRILLda, see Alexander, Matilda Mattacine Society, The: 22 Mattilda: 38 McGill, Kylie: 104, 108 Mystery Bound: 104 McGillis, Rod: 75 McIntosh, Mary: 201 McLary, Susan: 45 McRobbie, Angela: 55, 189 Men: 159 Mercury, Freddie: 79 Merman, Ethel: 92 Meyer, Moe: 27, 74 Michigan Womyns Festival: 118 Miell, Dorothy: 43 Millington, June: 158 Minnelli, Liza: 1, 7980 Minogue, Kylie: 76, 191 minstrelsy: 84, 878 Mint (Brisbane): 182

Mitchell, John Cameron: 199 Mitchell, Juliet: 20 Moore, Clive: 177, 1812, 186 moral panics: 478 Morell, Steve: 207 Morrissey, Steven: 80 mosh pits, female only: 154 Mozart, Amadeus: 78 Muoz, Jos Esteban: 1, 27, 35, 38, 48, 62, 209, 212, 213 music halls: 88 music affect and: 44 arena for marginalised voices: 49 class and: 445, 54 as collection of interconnected activities: 41 empowering role of: 218 queerness and: 4550 self-expression through: 43, 217 sense of self and: 43 sexuality and: 478, 50 social function of: 445 as technology of self: 43 theatrical qualities: 45 transcendence of everyday and: 489 transformative agency: 218 womens role in, 1512 see also gay musical norms; performance; popular music musical theatre camp and: 78 neo-tribes: 57 New York Dolls: 1212 Newton, Esther: 101 nightclubs, gay-identified: 11819 Nihilson, Deke Motif: 122 northern soul: 54 OHara, Craig: 121 Olivia Records: 153, 157 Omo (Brisbane): 195, 208 One Inc.: 22 Ono, Yoko: 158 opera: 73, 78 Options (Brisbane): 108, 174, 181 Outpunk: 125, 127 OutRage: 77, 142


Pansy Division: 1234, 125, 126, 128 pantomime: 84, 878 para-musical elements: 5 Park, Fanny: see Park, Frederick Park, Frederick: 69 pastiche: 1312 Peaches: 159, 199 Pedro, Muriel & Esther: 95 Peraino, Judith: 44, 100, 153, 217 performance as challenge to social norms: 216 gender as: 304 ideas communicated through bodies: 43 of subjectivities: 44 performativity gender and: 33 sexuality and: 304 vs performance: 334 Peterson, Richard A.: 5960 Phelan, Shane: 30, 34 Phoenix, Val: 156 Phranc: 125 Planet Positive (Brisbane): 183 play, sensibility of: 12833 Poly Styrene: 153 Pop, Iggy: 121 popular music political role: 54 significance to queer identity: 3, 42 as system of social practice: 412 theatricality and: 445 as threat to social order: 48 working-class identity and: 445, 54 see also subcultures power and sexuality: 279 Preece, Patty: 161, 162, 164, 170, 171 Presley, Elvis: 47

Index Pride Fair (Brisbane): 144, 168 punk: 9, 534, 58, 117, 1203, 153 anarcho-punk: 120 DIY production: 120 focus on self-expression: 1201 gender accommodation: 122 hardcore: 120, 122 homophobia: 123 musicality: 121 post-punk: 207 sexuality: 121 social marginalisation and: 121 see also queer punk QNews 183 Qsesh (Brisbane): 184 Queen: 79 Queens Ball (Brisbane): 179 Queensland Positive People: 183 queer as aesthetic quality: 1415 challenge to normalization: 14, 38 counter-publics: 9 culture: 367 deconstructive tendencies: 36 defined: 13 discourse: 279 as identity: 15, 35 improvisation: 345 multiple levels of functioning: 14 as perspective: 15 as political approach: 14, 36 purpose: 14 studies: 26 subjectivities: 36 theory: 9, 15, 2639, 153 use of term: 1314, 27 Queer as Folk: 190 Queer Control Records: 125 queercore: 4, 11920, 1238 carnivalesque approach: 12833 DIY production ethos: 125, 128, 130 focus on self-narratives: 127 lyrics: 126 power of subversion: 1301

sensibilities: 12833 as subculture: 126, 127 theorisation: 1289 zines: 125 see also Anal Traffic; punk; queer punk Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: 186 Queer Film Festival (Brisbane): 179 Queer Nation: 13, 77 queer punk: 4, 9, 117, 122, 48 as alternative to gay culture: 119 identity: 120 marginality and: 117 see also punk; queercore queer scenes: 62, 176214 emergence of: 1778 local: 9, 176 performative critique and: 209 relationship to place 186 role of music in: 176214 sexual identification and: 177 translocal: 9, 208, 20914 transnational 54 utopian potentiality: 20914 see also LGBTQ culture in Brisbane queer self-making: 10 Queer to Queer (Brisbane): 184 queer world-making: 9, 38, 216 role of music: 10, 4950 sites of: 62 tactics of: 63 Queer Zine Archive Project: 125 Queercore Blitz: 1267 Queeriosity (Brisbane): 180 Queerline Media: 202 Radical Faeries: 77 Rage (West Hollywood): Redhead, Steve: 52, 53 Reed, Lou: 121 Reich, June L.: 99 remix culture: 190 Reynolds, Robert: 23 Reynolds, Simon: 60

Rich, Adrienne: 25 Ridiculous Theatrical Company, The: 93 riot dyke: 9, 157-8 riot grrrl: 9, 1501, 15360 flexible self-identification: 154 outreach to adolescents: 155 pro-female stance: 154 separatist practices: 154 views on feminism: 154, 155 zines: 151 crossover with queercore: 15560 Riot Grrrl Ink: 1567 Rodger, Gillian: 89 Rofes, Eric: 37 Rollo, Paul: 134 Royal Brisbane Boys Club: 181 RuPaul: 94, 95 Rupp, Leila: 87 Rycenga, Jennifer: 3 Samson, J.D.: 159 saunas and cruise clubs: 181 Scarlet (Brisbane): 183 scavenger methodology: 4 scenes: 9, 5660, 176214 incongruences: 64 local: 59, 60 translocal: 9, 5964, 208 types of: 5960 virtual: 60 see also queer scenes Schacht, Steven: 85 SchwuZ (Berlin): 207 Scientific-humanitarian Committee: 200 Search and Destroy: Queer Noises: 207, 208 Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky: 13, 116 Seidman, Steven: 23 self-aestheticisation: 9 self-articulation: 9 Senelick, Laurence: 94 sexed body: 323 ambiguous: 33 intersex: 33

Index sexual deviance: 8 history: 1626 sexual identity labelling of: 34 Sexual Offences Act 1967 (UK): 77 sexuality as performance: 312, 34 biological: 1718 history of: 16 Kinsey scale: 20 liberation movement: 24 music and: 478 psychiatric interest in: 1617 sexual labels: 1617 Shank, Barry: 589 Shapiro, Eve: 99 Shoemaker, Deanna: 128 Show Your Bones (Brisbane): 184, 185 Siberry, Jane: 118 Siegessule: 202 sister act: 889 Sister George: 125 Skank (Brisbane): 184, 195 skinheads: 122 Sleaze Ball (Brisbane): 179 Slits, The: 153 social protest music and: 3 Sontag, Susan: 701, 72, 73, 74, 75, 78 Spencer, Amy: 119 Spivak, Gayatri: 158 Splash (New York): 119 Split Britches: 93 Sportsman Hotel (Brisbane): 181, 182, 193 Stefani, Gwen: 78 Steinem, Gloria: 155 Sternweiler, Andreas: 200 Steward, Sue: 121 Stirner, Max, 19 Stonewall riots: 22, 68, 76, 923 Stooges: 121 straight edge: 120 see also punk Straw, Will: 58, 59

Index Streisand, Barbra: 92, 95, 190 style: 612 stylistic commodities: 53 subcultural theory: 50, 5164 critiques of: 52, 534, 56 gender and sexuality: 55, 56 masculinist bias: 556 queer music and: 51 see also Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies subcultural capital: 6 subcultures: 42 incongruences: 64 as modalities of resistance: 42 see also scenes Suede: 78 Sullivan, Nikki: 14, 18, 23, 27, 334 Sycamore, Matt Bernstein, see Mattilda Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: 767 Taboo (Brisbane): 184, 189, 195, 196 Taylor, Verta: 87 T Bar (Brisbane): 183 Team Dresch: 1256, 157, 158 technologies of the self: 44 Tennant, Neil: 80 Terminus (Brisbane): 180 Third Sex: 125 Thomas, Allan: 78 Thompson, Mark: 94 Thomson, Sheona: 182 Thornton, Sarah: 192 Toms Bar (Berlin): 2056 transnational culture impact on music: 54 transvestitism: 86 see also drag Tribe 8: 125, 126, 128, 157 Twang Gang: 9, 97, 101, 10316, 194 camp sensibility: 112, 116 concerns about sexual identity rigidity: 106, 108, 111 drag cabaret style: 104 empowerment: 105

experimentation: 109 gender anarchy: 106 gender-troubling performance: 110, 111 musicality: 10911, 116 Our Tribe: 11416 playful feel: 105 political role: 108 queering of popular songs: 116 reclamation of camp and drag: 11213 use of rock music: 11011 twinks: 187 two-spirits: 86 Uffie: 159 Ulrich, Karl Heinrich: 17, 18 utopian potentiality: 20914, 218 Vaginal Crme Davis: 94, 95 variety: 84, 878 gender impersonation in: 8990 vaudeville: 84, 878, 10 gender impersonation in: 8990 double-voiced vocalists: 8990 Velvet Condoms, The: 207 Velvet Underground, The: 121 Verdour, Mona: 161 Villis (Berlin): 2067 vocalisation: 99103 see also lip-synching voice role in gender determination: 1001 Von Krafft-Ebing, Richard, 17, 18 Von Thorndyke, Dame Sybil: 179 Vu Du (Brisbane): 183 Walters, Suzanne: 150 Warehouse (Chicago): 191 Warner, Michael: 29, 37, 63 Weinstein, Deena: 6 Western, Lillie: 89 Westphal, Karl: 17, 18 Wet (Brisbane): 181 Whiteley, Sheila: 3, 177 Whitesell, Lloyd: 46

Whittle, Stephen: 99 Wickham Hotel (Brisbane): 118, 181, 182, 189, 193, 194, 195 Wigstock: 945 Wilde, Oscar: 70 Williams, Robbie: 80 Williamson, Cris: 153, 158 Williford, Daniel: 612 Willox, Annabelle: 97 Wilson, Angela: 157 Wiminfest: 118 Wissenschaftlich-humanitres Komitee, 18 Wobensmith, Matt: 1278

Index womyns music: 150, 151, 1523, 171 DIY ethos: 151 see also feminist music-making; riot grrrls Wowereit, Klaus: 202 X-Ray Spex: 154 y y: 78 Young, Allen: 23 youth, as contested category: 545 Zia: 196

opular music has always been a dynamic mediator of gender and sexuality, and a productive site of rebellion, oddity and queerness. The transformative c apacity of music-making, performance and consumption helps us to make and make sense of identity and allows us to glimpse otherworldliness, arousing the political imagination. With an activist voice that is impassioned yet adherent to scholarly rigour, Playing it Queer provides an original and compelling ethnographic account of the relationship between popular music, queer self-fashioning and (sub)cultural world-making. This book begins with a comprehensive survey and critical evaluation of relevant literatures on queer identity and political debates as well as popular music, identity and (sub) cultural style. Contextualised within a detailed history of queer sensibilities and creative practices, including camp, drag, genderfuck, queercore, feminist music and club cultures, the authors rich empirical studies of local performers and translocal scenes intimately capture the meaning and value of popular musics and (sub)cultural style in everyday queer lives.

Taylors revised conception of music scenes and thought-provoking case studies provide new insights into the ways music contributes to the production and maintenance of queer social relations. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary book is an essential read for scholars interested in popular music and queerness. Sheila Whiteley, Professor Emeritus and author of Women and Popular Music Jodie Taylor makes us sit up and pay attention to the wild experimentations in culture, subculture and community that can be heard in queer clubs and music venues Taylors intricate and detailed ethnography makes an important contribution to recent scholarship on queer music cultures. Claiming that music-making conjures new possibilities for politics and pleasure, Taylor lets us believe in queer rhythm and hear the beat ! Jack Halberstam, author of The Queer of an exciting elsewhere. Tune in or miss out Art of Failure

J o d i e T a y l o r received her PhD in Musicology from Griffith University, Australia. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cultural Sociology at the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research ( 200912 ) , and is currently a Research Fellow at the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre. She has published numerous articles on aspects of queer culture, popular music and ethnography and is currently co-editing three anthologies on erotic cultures, festivalisation and mainstream music.

ISBN 978-3-0343-0553-2