Week 2 Response

In the eyes of the heterosexual majority, “coming out of the closet” is often times seen a milestone every LGBTQ individual must overcome, after having had to “repressed” their true selves. However, Eve Sedgwick, in her piece Epistemology of the Closet, suggests this false narrative of the “closet” is the “defining structure for gay oppression” (Sedgewick 48). It is yet another divide that separate heterosexual from homosexual, ingroup from outgroup, and even after “coming out” the feelings of being trapped still linger. By accepting this narrative, every interaction can become a metaphorical closet for a queer person, unaware of what the other knows. The film Moonlight, does an incredible job of telling a realistic story of self-discovery and acceptance for gay main character Chiron, yet does not reinforce this myth of “coming out.” When watching the final scene, I yearned for a catharsis that never came, for Chiron to confess his love for childhood friend Kevin. Even though there was some semblance of a confession, it was never as black and white as “I’m gay” or “I love you.” At first I was unsatisfied, but after reading Sedgewick’s piece I realized how normalized the closet was, making it hard it for me to even accept a more accurate, fluid representation of queer life. Comparing U.S. court cases Rowland v. Mad River Local School District and Ancafora vs. District of Maryland, Sedgewick highlights the double bind where queer individuals have been persecuted either being inappropriate, too “out” or liars, too “in.” The closet becomes an identity that depersonalizes a human much like star of David would on the arm of a Jew. After the Stonewall riots of 1969, the overwhelming encouragement to “come out” in attempt to universalize homosexuality may have just just created another partition that further minoritized it.

Works Cited

Sedgewick, Eve Kosokofsky. “The Epistemology of the Closet.” (n.d.): n. pag. The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, 1993. Web.

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