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Gay Shame and BDSM Pride: Neoliberalism, Privacy, and Sexual Politics

Margot D. Weiss, Wesleyan University

Abstract

This essay contrasts two contemporary activist groups: Gay Shame San Francisco, which seeks to disrupt homonormative lesbian and gay activism by challenging policing and gentrification; and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, which disseminates a public image of BDSM, leather, and kinky practitioners as suburban minivan drivers who “look and dress like your neighbors.” Margot Weiss argues that neoliberalism’s relegation of sexuality into the realm of the private renders even kinky sexual practices like BDSM normative—kink-normative, if not homonormative—by detaching potentially disruptive sexual practices from any form of radical or progressive—public—politics.

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