Closet Doors and Stage Lights: On the Goods of Out

Social Theory and Practice 38 (2):302-332 (2012)
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Abstract

This paper makes an ethical and a conceptual case against any purported duty to come out of the closet. While there are recognizable goods associated with coming out, namely, leading an authentic life and resisting oppression, these goods generate a set of imperfect duties that are defeasible in a wide range of circumstances, and are only sometimes fulfilled by coming out. Second, practices of coming out depend on a ‘lump’ picture of sexuality and on an insufficiently subtle account of responsible disclosure. We value and promote the goods of out best when we leave the framework of the closet, and not merely the closet door, behind.

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Alice MacLachlan
York University

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