Chapter 23: Coming Out Natural: Dreaded Desire, Sex Roles, and Cornrows

Intrinsically, African American communities embrace a relationship with hair that links to traditional African cultural use values of hair, but also a consideration to the evolution of black people in postcolonial spaces. Given the importance of hair to questions of beauty and culture in many Black communities, black queers, who are consistently questioned on their blackness, engage hair politics to not simply authenticate their blackness, but to also assert their sexuality in ways that explicitly rely on blackness. Since “unnatural” desire as “perversion” becomes conīŦgured through the same discourse that racializes nonwhites, in this case black people, it examines the terms employed to name black hair and queer sexuality and shows how they are connected to agendas of heteronormativity. Finally, I analyze the use of wigs in drag queen culture to demystify representations of racialized sexuality of both black men and women and black lesbian communities’ sexual hair politics.