Currently, most explorations of homonormativity privilege political interpretations. In contrast, this essay brackets political analysis of homonormativity's effects in order to attend more closely to the affect that helps motivate homonormative choices. Though from an external, critical perspective, particular alliances with dominant power structures may often look like blatant and cynical attempts at self-advancement, there is abundant evidence that they are more often experienced as emotionally driven, personal choices that are different from political ones and superior to them as guides for intimate behavior. Attending to this dimension of homonormative experience not only shifts current queer conversations about norms but also extends the relevance of such conversations back into the past. Ann Bannon's midcentury lesbian paperback novels are rich sources of information about the socially produced emotional situations that helped push Cold War-era gay and lesbian people into alliances with heterosexist institutions and values such as marriage. In Bannon's novels, “gay marriage” appears as a kind of representational shorthand for a happy resolution to what I suspect was the common midcentury gay dilemma of how to be both erotically and emotionally deviant, and socially conventional. Bannon depicts that dilemma as a painful suspension between simultaneous disidentifications with heterosexuality and queer abrasiveness to dominant cultural norms. Thus exploring the fantasy of gay marriage in these pulp fictions not only sheds historical light on the affective dimensions of homonormativity but also raises theoretically significant questions about the definition and political ramifications of disidentification.

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