Queering the Domestic, a special issue of GLQ

deadline for submissions: 
November 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 

GLQ Special Issue: Queering the Domestic


Lauren Jae Gutterman, University of Texas, Austin

Martin F. Manalansan IV, University of Minnesota

Stephen Vider, Cornell University

This special issue asks what it means to queer the domestic—to challenge and reinvent home spaces and practices—by examining the diverse functionings of home for LGBTQ+ people in both the past and the present. Today, the impacts of COVID-19 underscore global, national, and regional changes that have been decades, if not centuries, in the making. Record numbers of individuals and families across the globe confront new forms of displacement and forced migration as a result of violence, persecution, climate change, and the ongoing impacts of US imperialism. Neoliberal economic and social policies have reprivatized forms of caregiving once managed by the state, at the same time care work has emerged as a global industry, with service industry migrants and guest workers moving from the global South to the North. Gentrification in major cities has widened the disparity between those with stable housing and without, while global inflation and rising rental and mortgage costs have put housing stability even further out of reach for people around the world. Surveillance of private life has simultaneously grown through increasingly punitive welfare, healthcare, and immigration policies as well as through new technologies embedded within practices of consumption. 

Taking these shifts as an opportunity to rethink domestic spaces, ideologies, and practices in queer politics and culture, we are seeking essays for a special issue of GLQ titled “Queering the Domestic.” Black feminist studies, queer ethnography, queer diasporic studies, queer area studies, and queer of color critique all have troubled the modern bifurcation of the domestic and the public, revealing the home to be a site of labor, irregular shelter and care, leisure, consumption, and carceral surveillance. This call builds out of a recent body of scholarship in LGBTQ+ studies including work by David Eng, Karen Tongson, Heather Murray, Daniel Winunwe Rivers, Marlon Bailey, Lauren Gutterman, Sara Matthiesen, Stephen Vider, Allan Punzalan Isaac, Ghassan Moussawi, Marty Fink, and Jafari Allen, as well as edited collections by Tyler Bradway and Elizabeth Freeman and by Scott Herring and Lee Wallace, that rethink and reevaluate domesticity, kinship, and care as sites of queer and trans potentiality. In this vein we invite a wide range of contributions from scholars working in and across disciplines, geographic regions, national and transnational fields, and historical periods.

 Home has long been a site of contestation for LGBTQ+ people. In European legal tradition, domestic space has conventionally operated as a site of privacy, privilege, and control, with the greatest rights reserved for the white male homeowner. At the same time, home has been sentimentalized as “family” space—the space where kinship ties are imagined to be most deeply elaborated and expressed. LGBTQ+ people have historically been excluded from state-sanctioned visions of home and family, yet they have also consistently adapted domestic spaces and practices to interrogate gender and sexual norms and develop new models of kinship and connection. Since the 1990s, the debate among queer activists and scholars over the prioritization of same-sex marriage as a movement goal tended to reiterate a public/private divide: home was frequently framed as an always already normative space in opposition to liberatory queer publics. Yet, as the scholars above remind us, home is not inherently a space of violent normativity, but also a space of racialized and gendered work and a capacious realm of contingent relations, scripts, structures, and aspirations. Home is not always a space of negation, death, and no future, but rather a place of survival, persistence, and even joy. It is not necessarily the mess we escape from; it can also be the mess we live with and through. “Queering the Domestic” seeks to investigate these messy relations: the many ways the spaces and practices of home both structure and challenge norms of intimate and collective belonging as they play out in everyday life.

 In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, LGBTQ+ people in many settler and colonial states, including the United States, have been newly threatened by the re-empowerment of a political minority seeking to violently uphold patriarchy, white supremacy, and cisgender and heterosexual superiority. That threat increasingly plays out at home, in the everyday realms of domesticity, kinship, social reproduction, and care. In addition, the emergence of authoritarian and populist regimes in many global South states, including those of Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte, and Jair Bolsonaro, also relies on the defense of the normative family. These recent historical events speak to shifts in a larger biopolitical regime—with regard to caregiving, the surveillance of gender and sexuality, family and kinship structures—that have been a crucial subject for queer and trans theory. This special issue of GLQ takes these shifts at home as an opportunity to rethink domestic spaces, ideologies, and practices in queer politics and culture. 

Potential topics include

Abortion and reproductive rights

Architecture and the built environment of home and neighborhood

Caregiving, home healthcare, and biopolitics

Christian nationalism 

Communal households

Domestic violence and abuse

Environmental disaster and climate refugees

Gender inequality within the household

Home as a site of infection and disease, danger, and death

Home as a site of political organizing and activism

Home in the age of global displacement, refugeeism, and migrancy

Home media and technology

Home/work boundaries and blurring

Housing instability, evictions, and homelessness

LGBTQ+ family, marriage, and household forms

Multigenerational living

Polygamy and polyamory


Trans care and community

White supremacy and housing segregation

The issue will be coedited by Lauren Jae Gutterman (University of Texas, Austin), Martin F. Manalansan IV (University of Minnesota), and Stephen Vider (Cornell University). Prospective contributors should submit 500-word abstracts by November 15, 2022. Please email abstracts to queeringthedomestic@gmail.com with “Queering the Domestic proposal” in the subject line. Proposals will receive feedback by January 15, 2023. Prospective contributors invited to submit a full article based on an abstract will be asked to submit a draft by July 15, 2023. The full issue is expected to be published in October 2024. Prospective authors should feel welcome to email general inquiries about the issue as well.