Queer by Choice Books


Miscellaneous Books That Mention the Idea of Queerness Being a Choice
Critiques of "Gay Gene" Studies
Social Constructionist History
Queer Theory
Birth of the Queer by Choice Movement

Miscellaneous Books That Mention the Idea of Queerness Being a Choice

Vera Whisman: Queer by Choice: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Politics of Identity
(This book contains interviews with QueerByChoice Mailing List member Frank Aqueno;
see also the book review by Julia Jones.)
Claudia Card: Lesbian Choices
Jan Clausen: Beyond Gay or Straight: Understanding Sexual Orientation, 1996
Marjorie Garber: Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life.
"Garber devotes an entire chapter to a comprehensive trashing of all attempts to find a genetic basis for human sexualities. We don't, she points out, expect to find a gene for being attracted to brown eyes, or high heels, or shaved heads—why do we expect to find one for being attracted to a particular sex?"
                    —Jo Eadie, book review in Bi Community News, No. 4, U.K., February 1996
Gillian E. Hanscombe and Martin Humphries: Heterosexuality
Fritz Klein: The Bisexual Option
Diane Richardson (editor): Theorizing Heterosexuality
Carol Queen and Lawrence Schimel (editors): PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender And Sexuality
Naomi Tucker, Liz Highleyman, and Rebecca Kaplan (editors): Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries and Visions
(See especially the essay "Identity and Ideas" by QueerByChoice member Liz Highleyman.)
Marco Vassi: Metasex, Mirth and Madness
Tamsin Wilton: Sexual (Dis)Orientation: Sex, Gender and Desire; Unexpected Pleasures: Leaving Heterosexuality for the Lesbian Life; and Lesbian Studies: Setting an Agenda

Critiques of "Gay Gene" Studies

The biological, sociological and/or historical evidence against "gay gene" theories, analyzed from a pro-queer point of view.

John P. De Cecco and John P. Elia (editors): If You Seduce a Straight Person, Can You Make Them Gay? Issues in Biological Essentialism Versus Social Constructionism in Gay and Lesbian Identities
John P. De Cecco and David Allen Parker (editors): Sex, Cells, and Same-Sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference
John P. De Cecco (editor): The Journal of Homosexuality
(Practically every issue of it is relevant to choosing to be queer, and editor John P. De Cecco appeared on The Donahue Show on January 3, 1992 alongside Frank Aqueno to argue for the "queer by choice" point of view in a debate against biologists Simon LeVay and James Weinrich and writer Dotson Rader about the causes of sexual orientation.)
Ruth Hubbard and Elijah Wald: Exploding the Gene Myth: How Genetic Information Is Produced and Manipulated by Scientists, Physicians, Employers, Insurance Companies, Educators, and Law Enforcers
Edward Stein: The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation
Jennifer Terry: An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and the Place of Homosexuality in Modern Society
Jennifer Terry and Jacqueline Urla (editors): Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Difference in Science and Popular Culture
Richard R. Troiden: Gay and Lesbian Identity: A Sociological Analysis
Vernon A. Rosario (editor): Science and Homosexualities

Social Constructionist History

These books trace the history of how the modern queer social role was constructed from earlier social roles. Aspects of social constructionism can be taken to heart even by people who believe everyone's sexual orientation is "hardwired" at birth; however, the study of cultures in which virtually all people participate in same-sex sexual activity does tend to undermine the "gay gene" viewpoint.

Dennis Altman: Homosexuality: Which Homosexuality? and The Homosexualization of America: The Americanization of the Homosexual
David F. Greenberg: The Construction of Homosexuality
Jonathan Ned Katz: The Invention of Heterosexuality
Celia Kitzinger: The Social Construction of Lesbianism
Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr. (editors): Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past
Julia Epstein and Kristina Straub (editors): Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity
Lillian Faderman: Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present
David Halperin: One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Saint Foucault
Gary P. Leupp: Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan
Chris Nottingham: The Pursuit of Serenity: Havelock Ellis and the New Politics
R. Jeffrey Ringer (editor): Queer Words, Queer Images: Communication and the Construction of Homosexuality
Randolph Trumbach: Sex and the Gender Revolution, Volume One: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London
Michael Warner (editor): Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory
Jeffrey Weeks: Against Nature: Essays on History, Sexuality and Identity; Invented Moralities: Sexual Values in an Age of Uncertainty; Sex, Politics, and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800; Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths and Modern Sexualities; Making Sexual History; Sexual Cultures: Communities, Values and Intimacy; and Sexuality

Queer Theory

Many people mistakenly believe that the term "queer theory" is just a synonym for "gay & lesbian studies." In reality, queer theory is a very specific subset of gay & lesbian studies which is based on "the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are." For more information, visit the Queer Theory website from which the definition quoted was taken, or read any of the books listed below.

Richard Burt: Unspeakable Shaxxxspeares: Queer Theory and American Kiddie Culture
Sarah Cooper: Relating to Queer Theory: Rereading Sexual Self-Definition With Irigaray, Kristeva, Wittig, and Cixous
Teresa de Lauretis: Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities
William H. DuBay: Gay Identity: the Self Under Ban. (Also see William H. DuBay's essay "Homosexuality: What Kinsey Really Said," hosted on QueerByChoice.com with the permission of the author.)
Ellis Hanson (editor): Out Takes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film
Annamarie Jagose: Queer Theory: An Introduction
Shane Phelan: Playing with Fire: Queer Politics, Queer Theories
William F. Pinar (editor): Queer Theory in Education
Steven Seidman (editor): Queer Theory/Sociology
Tamsin Spargo: Foucault and Queer Theory
Calvin Thomas, Joseph O. Aimone and Catherine A. F. Macgillivray (editors): Straight with a Twist: Queer Theory and the Subject of Heterosexuality
William G. Tierney: Academic Outlaws: Queer Theory and Cultural Studies in the Academy
William B. Turner: A Genealogy of Queer Theory
Elizabeth Weed and Naomi Schor (editors): Feminism Meets Queer Theory


The movement known as "lesbian-feminism" which emerged in the 1970s was much more than just a group of lesbians who also happened to be feminists. In fact, the majority of lesbians who consider themselves feminists today would definitelynot consider themselves "lesbian-feminists." The most basic tenet of the lesbian-feminist movement was that lesbianism was "a choice women make in response to society," as Rose Weitz put it in her article from the 1984 lesbian-feminist anthology Women-Identified Women. Lesbian-feminists promoted lesbianism as a choice that all women can and should make in order to resist patriarchy and prevent (as much as is possible) their private love lives from being directly controlled by patriarchal power.

Jeffner Allen: Lesbian Philosophy: Explorations
Claudia Card (editor): Adventures in Lesbian Philosophy
Trudy Darty and Sandra Potter (editors): Women-Identified Women
Carol Anne Douglas: Love and Politics: Radical Feminist and Lesbian Theories
Kristen G. Esterberg: Lesbian and Bisexual Identities
E. M. Ettore: Lesbians, Women, and Society
Sarah F. Green: Urban Amazons: Lesbian Feminism and Beyond in the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Battles of London
Lynne Harne and Elaine Miller (editors): All the Rage: Reasserting Radical Lesbian Feminism
Dana A. Heller: Cross-Purposes: Lesbians, Feminists, and the Limits of Alliance
Sarah Lucia Hoagland: Lesbian Ethics: Toward New Value
Annamarie Jagose: Lesbian Utopics
Sheila Jeffreys: The Lesbian Heresy: A Feminist Perspective on the Lesbian Sexual Revolution
Celia Kitzinger and Rachel Perkins: Changing Our Minds: Lesbian Feminism and Psychology
Noretta Koertge (editor): Philosophy and Homosexuality
Susan Krieger: The Family Silver: Essays on Relationships Among Women
Mandy Merck, Naomi Segal and Elizabeth Wright (editors): Coming Out of Feminism?
Lilian Mohin: An Intimacy of Equals: Lesbian Feminist Ethics
Sue O'Sullivan: I Used to Be Nice: Reflections on Feminist and Lesbian Politics
Shane Phelan: Identity Politics: Lesbian-Feminism and the Limits of Community
Paula Claire Rust: Bisexuality and the Challenge to Lesbian Politics: Sex, Loyalty, and Revolution
Ashwini Sukthankar (editor): Facing the Mirror: Lesbian Writing from India
Vicinus, Martha (editor): Lesbian Subjects: A Feminist Studies Reader
Monique Wittig: The Straight Mind and Other Essays

Birth of the Queer by Choice Movement

The first queer-rights organization in the world was the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, founded in Germany in 1897 by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (who was heterosexual himself, or at least claimed to be), and argued that queerness was biologically determined and was a form of psychological hermaphroditism, a sort of unfortunate birth defect which queer people should nevertheless be forgiven for since they "couldn't help it." Sound familiar? You've probably heard of Magnus Hirschfeld before, because his organization is the one that the mainstream modern queer-rights movement traces its roots back to today. But what you're less likely to have heard about is the queer by choice movement that immediately sprang up in reaction—led by a man named Adolf Brand. Ever heard of Adolf Brand? Didn't think so.

The first queer-rights journal in the world was Adolf Brand's Der Eigene (translation: The Self-Owner), founded in Germany in 1899, and it was adamantly opposed to all "gay gene" theories and advocated queerness as a good choice that all people should make. Unlike Hirschfeld, Adolf Brand was an openly queer man and wrote from an openly queer perspective. Hirschfeld immediately responded by founding the second queer-rights journal in the world: the Scientific Humanitarian Committee Newsletter, founded in 1899. Adolf Brand responded to that by founding the second queer-rightsorganization in the world: The Community of Self-Owners, founded in 1903. Both organizations and journals lasted into the 1930s.

This book contains translated excerpts from Adolf Brand's journal Der Eigene and provides a detailed history of the split between "we can't help it" and "queer by choice" queer-rights activists at the turn of the last century.

Harry Oosterhuis and Hubert Kennedy: Homosexuality and Male Bonding in Pre-Nazi Germany: The Youth Movement, the Gay Movement and Male Bonding Before Hitler's Rise: Original Transcripts from Der Eigene, the First Gay Journal in the World
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