Laura Mendez


The issue of assimilation has long been a source of disagreement within the LGBTQ+ community. At the core of the issue are the competing needs for safety/acceptance and full recognition of a distinct identity from the normative mainstream. Queer politics seeks to create a space and a community with the intention of challenging heteronormative and patriarchal institutions, in order to gain acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community as a community with distinct, equally valid values and priorities as the heteronormative/patriarchal mainstream. Queer politics emerges as a non-assimilationist school of thought, which allows for critique of the hegemonic qualities of mainstream cultural values, and various ways in which they can be damaging to LGBTQ+ individuals. The phenomenon of ‘passing’ is one of the most visible signs of this hegemony, in that it functions both as a form of protection, and as a means to accrue social capital on an individual basis, but ends up creating harmful dichotomies between individuals who can pass and those who do not that become extrapolated and generalized into stereotypes. The phenomenon of ‘passing’ is also similar to the idea of homonormativity, which entails the recreation of oppressive dynamics and structures of power in queer spaces, thus furthering the oppression of already marginalized people.