Queer theory in North America grew in prominence in the early 1990s, having developed from gay and lesbian studies, which was an outgrowth of feminist studies and feminist theory in the mid-1980s. Feminist theory challenged the humanist notion of an essential, unique, and coherent self. It promoted the idea that identity is culturally constructed and inspired the shift in understanding from self to subject. The subject, as produced and constructed, is local, partial, provisional, and fluid.

Queer theory insists that all sexual behaviors—that is, all concepts linking sexual behaviors to sexual identities—and all categories of normative and deviant behaviors are socially constructed. It also rejects the idea that sexuality is biologically determined. Queer theory contends that sexuality is a constructed aggregate of social codes and influences, ...

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