Foucault on ‘coming out’


(Image courtesy of The Keep Calm-o-Matic)

I’m starting a little investigation into the development of ‘post-gay’ identity. And I mean this not at all in the sense of ‘ex-gay Christians’ but instead in the way LGBTQ youth are claiming post-gay as an identity that signals sexual fluidity and doing away with labels (as explored in Edmund Coleman-Fountain’s latest article). Pretty sure this will be a thing as I look at identity expression on different social media platforms. To get started, here’s a quote from Foucault that might resonate with people who claim a post-gay identity:

“On this point I have not always made myself well understood by certain movements for sexual liberation in France. In my opinion, as important as it may be, tactically speaking, to say at a given moment, ‘I am a homosexual,’ over the long run, in a wider strategy, the question of knowing who we are sexually should no longer be posed. It is not then a question of affirming one’s sexual identity, but of refusing to allow sexuality as well as the different forms of sexuality the right to identify you. The obligation to identify oneself through and by a given type of sexuality must be refused.”

Foucault, Michel. Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice. Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

2 thoughts on “Foucault on ‘coming out’

  1. Hello Stephanie,

    This is an awesome post and it has lead me to the Foucault book and I am grateful. Can you please tell me where in the book is the long quote situated? Thank you. #ForTheLoveOfFoucault


    1. Hi lwando!

      Glad you found it helpful 🙂 I believe the quote is on p. 261 (hopefully we have the same version of the book) – it’s part of an interview that is pretty far into the book. #maytheFoucaultbewithyou


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