American Sociological Association

Queer Integrative Marginalization: LGBTQ Student Integration Strategies at an Elite University

The author draws on the oral histories of 44 LGBTQ Princeton alumni who graduated from 1960 to 2011 to examine student strategies for negotiating marginal identities when integrating into an elite university. Even with greater LGBTQ visibility and resources at the institutional level, LGBTQ students’ experiences and strategies suggest that we question the larger social narrative of linear progress. Across time, students navigate space by highlighting difference to belong as queer students in explicitly LGBTQ circles or muting difference to belong as token queer students in heteronormative circles. Integration of an LGBTQ person does not necessarily mean incorporation of an LGBTQ identity and vice versa. These strategies are largely contingent upon students’ social positions: intersectional identities, structural location, and available models. Student strategies are structurally tempered by queer integrative marginalization: the process of select predominantly elite LGBTQ people’s achieving special status among the heteronormative mainstream.


Christina Marie Chica





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