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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Subject to variation in public discourse, the initialism LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer, intersexed, and asexual and allies. Since the late twentieth century, scholars writing about these linked identities referred to it succinctly as queer, because the term represents a deliberately ambiguous reference to nonnormative identities that challenges traditional gender designations. The composite nature of the LGBTQIA+ label raises the central question of how individuals relating to one or more of the identities constitute a community or set of different groups for which folklore and folklife often serve a bonding function and a communicative role of expressing shared distinctive cultural values. Events such as circuit parties, pride festivals, and brunches emerged as pan-queer traditions, while other esoteric traditions of humor, gestures, names, and dress were coded expressions for different groups centered on sexual practices. Much of this folklore and folklife responded to a need for secrecy for stigmatized behavior; as many nonnormative sexual practices become decriminalized, cultural practices emerge to naturalize LGBTQIA+ communities within a multicultural society.

Keywords: communitas, festival, folklife, folklore, humor, gay culture, homosexuals, lesbians, practice theory, queer theory, queeritas.

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