Sliding under the radar: Passing and power among sexual minorities

Craig B. Fuller, Doris F. Chang, Lisa R. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the role of intentional and unintentional passing in the lives of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and queer individuals. Qualitative data were collected through a series of nine focus groups and analyzed using grounded theory. Passing as straight allowed participants to maintain or achieve the privileges afforded to the dominant group, but not without costs. This experience was affected by individual factors, which impacted one's social distance from the hegemony, as well as contextual factors, such as perceiver characteristics and environment. In general, passing was seen as both a signifier of oppression and a strategic appropriation of power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-151
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of LGBT Issues in Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Heteronormative
  • Homo-negativity
  • Identity management
  • Intentional passing
  • Queer
  • Sexual minorities
  • Stigma management
  • Unintentional passing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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