Sexual desire is often understood as a “personal preference” and believed to be neutral or natural. In this talk, the author examines the nature of racial sexual partnering within gay communities and demonstrates the ways that such desires are deeply embedded within larger social structures that define whiteness as desirable and normative while othering men of color. More importantly, such othering is not only based on race, but on gendered notions of “appropriate” behaviors that are both sexualized and eroticized. In this way, whiteness is given more currency not only because of race, but because of gender conformity to homonormativity that extends well beyond racialized sexual encounters between gay men but into their everyday lives.
C. Winter Han is a Professor of Sociology at Middlebury College and the author of Geisha of a Different Kind: Race and Sexuality in Gaysian America (NYU Press) and Racial Erotics: Gay Men of Color, Sexual Racism, and the Politics of Desire (University of Washington Press) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Publishing Circle Book Award. His work has been published in numerous journals and academic books. Prior to becoming an academic, he was an award winning journalist and served for three years as the editor and chief of the International Examiner, the oldest continuously publishing pan-Asian Pacific American newspaper in the United States.
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