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date: 02 December 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Although a notable body of work has emerged describing gay male speech (GMS), its overlap with African American language (AAL) remains comparatively understudied. This chapter explores the assumption of whiteness that has informed research on gay identity and precluded intersectional considerations in sociolinguistic research. Examining the importance of racial identity, particularly Blackness, to the construction of gay identity in the United States, the chapter investigates the treatment of GMS as white by default, with the voices of gay men of color considered additive. The desire vs. identity debate in language and sexuality studies contributed to an understanding of gay identity as community-based practice, thereby laying a necessary framework for the study of GMS. However, this framework led to a virtually exclusive focus on white men’s language use. Although efforts to bring a community-based understanding to gay identity have been groundbreaking, the lack of consideration of intersectionality has erased contributions to GMS from racially based language varieties, such as AAL.

Keywords: African American language, Blackness, gay identity, gay male speech, intersectionality, racial identity, United States

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