Akin to Madmen: A Queer Critique of the Gay Rights Cases

Cases such as Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges are the result of LGBTQ advocacy that has grown and developed at a stunning rate since its inception just over a century ago. As recently as the nineteenth century, our culture had no conception of sexual orientation as a facet of one’s identity. Now, sexual orientation serves as the core of a movement that uses it as a tool for advocacy. The prevailing approach has been to emphasize commonality with straight people, by associating LGBTQ people with values like monogamy, romance, respectability, and more. This strategy has led to a succession of LGBTQ legal victories in the last two decades. Unfortunately, those victories have sometimes reflected a narrow idea of what it means to be LGBTQ, premised on the values pushed by assimilationist advocates. This Note argues that the reliance on these values to justify extending rights to LGBTQ people runs the risk of making it more difficult to extend protection in areas where these values are absent.