Munoz: Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics.

Munoz begins his Intro by claiming that “the act of performing and theatricalizing queerness in public takes on ever multiplying significance” (1).  He cites an example of an artistic performance by Gomez which helps the audience to imagine a space where queer lives, politics, and possibilities are displayed as complex and realistic.  Artistic performances like this one allow the “minoritarian subject” to have a particular place in history and accomplish social agency.  The artistic example also provides a subversion of lesbian stereotyping.  By parodying and satirizing lesbian stereotypes throughout history, Gomez takes away their power and oppressive capabilities.  Munoz concludes that Gomez utilizes “disidentification with damaged stereotypes” and recycles them as an act of self-creation.

Munoz later highlights the idea that “disidentification is not always an adequate strategy of resistance or survival for all minority subjects” (5).  Resistance must take different forms in certain situations.  Disidentification is a strategy that has the potential to work within and outside the dominant public sphere at the same time.  “The fiction of identity” is more easily accessed by those in the majority.  Minorities sometimes need disidentification to dialogue with a variety of subcultural fields to understand their sense of self.

Munoz’ research builds upon the foundational theory that “the use-value of any narrative of identity that reduces subjectivity to either a social constructivist model or what has been called an essentialist understanding of the self is especially exhausted” (6).  Finally, Gomez’s disidentification with the concept of a normative life helps us to imagine an expansive and unique “queer life world” where sexuality is not a singular understanding of gay and lesbian identity within a homophobic public sphere.  Munoz work helps us to better understand the complex and ever-changing relationship between sexuality and race through performance studies.

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