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In 1929, Nella Larsen published a novella called Passing, which was about a light-skinned woman of color whose skin tone allowed her to be perceived as a White woman and enjoy the associated rights and privileges thereof. The term passing was later used by sociologist Erving Goffman in his 1963 work Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Goffman conceptualized passing as the process of managing information in an attempt to avoid the stigma associated with a potentially concealable stigmatized identity and to enjoy the benefits of being viewed as what he called normal. As an example, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals who present as heterosexual and cisgender are described as passing successfully in society. This entry further explains the meaning ...

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