cover image Growing Up Queer: Kids and the Remaking of LGBTQ Identity

Growing Up Queer: Kids and the Remaking of LGBTQ Identity

Mary Robertson. New York Univ, $26 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-4798-7694-5

To create this illuminating ethnography, sociology professor Robertson interviewed, observed, and volunteered with the kids at an LGBTQ youth drop-in center to examine how youth today form queer identities. She argues that “the adoption of a sexual identity is a very pragmatic process that often has little to do with one’s actual sexual behavior.... A young person’s choice of identity label says as much about their race, class, and geographic location (to name a few) as it does about their sexuality and/or gender.” Peers and parents often conflate gender-nonconforming behavior with queer sexuality, Robertson writes, and parents even sometimes push kids toward LGB identities. Other influences include queer media; families with at least one LGBTQ-identified member; and parents who did not fulfill traditional gender roles. Robinson concludes that, especially for trans youths and those whose race, class, or nationality, or other characteristics are marginalized, the road ahead remains difficult, but the growing community and increased visibility fostered by places like the youth drop-in center are moving society toward the potential for greater inclusion. This accessibly written inquiry will be of interest to queer readers, sociologists, and gender studies enthusiasts alike. (Nov.)