Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Wendy Simonds

Second Advisor

Dr. Rosalind Chou

Third Advisor

Dr. Maura Ryan


In this dissertation, I examine the internal divisions in LGBT/Q communities. I illustrate how the notion of a single, unified community is not only fictive, but counter to the goals of liberation. Utilizing critical discourse analysis, I examine cultural artifacts of the contemporary gay rights movement to determine who has the power to shape domestic and international gay rights discourse. I analyze the role of gay citizenship through the same-sex marriage debates, the creation of the homonational soldier, and how gay rights is employed in international conflicts to strategically promote some countries as progressive, while denouncing others as backwards. I argue that the gay rights movement does not address the needs of all members of LGBT/Q communities, but rather, focuses on the wants of the elite and privileged. Despite recent advances, the gay rights movement has been stunted by a limited and marginalizing focus on normalization. Lastly, I present a queer perspective on gay rights and reimagine a movement that is more courageous and inclusive.