Queering Authenticity

Mary Byrne (The Ohio State University)

This paper draws from ethnographic research with the “parents’ rights” group Moms for Liberty (M4L) to explore how authenticity is used as a form of political capital within right wing organizing. M4L argues that “gender ideology” is a foreign idea thrust upon “regular folk” by the liberal elite, insisting that cultural changes around gender and sexuality are contrary to the morality of common people. Even among liberals, there is a broad consensus that trans inclusionary practices will inevitably alienate "everyday people." I ask: how is "authenticity" used against LGBTQ people, and why are "authentic Americans" always already heterosexual and cisgender?

Part of 01-04 Deploying “Grassroots Authenticity”: “Everyday Folk” As Moral Index and Boundary Mechanism, Thursday, November 02, 8:30 am–10:00 am