Abstract

My essay addresses non-normative genders and sexualities in Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Blu's Hanging, a controversial novel set in Hawai'i that—although commercially successful and critically acclaimed—has spurred protests over its racist portrayals of Filipino masculinity. I show how East Asian ethnic/class privilege alternately embraces heteronormativity and mounts challenges to it at key points in the narrative. I argue that the novel falls short of a queer critique because it is not by refusing heteronormative kinship structures but by replicating them that the non-normatively gendered characters find solace and exercise their agency. By extension, I claim that it is the very ethnic and class privilege of these East Asian queer subjects that provides them with the means of mitigating their sexual difference.

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