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Sexual Orientation and Race

Sexual orientation and race are social identities that matter. Both identities often influence perceptions of who a person is and what a person does or should do. Both can motivate discrimination from others, and both are contextual. For example, a woman may pass as straight in one place and time, bisexual in another, and as a lesbian in another; Hispanic in one context, Native American in another, and Caucasian in another.

Sexual orientation and race also intersect in complex and indefinite ways. For instance, “gay” is sometimes referred to as a “white” label denoting sexual orientation. One reason for this denotation is that, in the United States, “gay marriage” and economic equality are often positioned as the most pressing issues for all same-sex desiring persons. However, ...

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