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Kenji Yoshino: Covering

Kenji Yoshino: Covering

The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. USA 2010, 285 pp., pb., € 17.95
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Yoshino, a law professor at Yale and a gay, Asian-American man, melds autobiography and legal scholarship in this book, marking a move from more traditional pleas for civil equality to a case for individual autonomy in identity politics. In questioning the phenomenon of »covering«, a term used for the coerced hiding of crucial aspects of one's self, Yoshino thrusts the reader into a battlefield of shifting gray areas. He argues that society resists allowing full equality for gays by instead advocating conversion, passing as straight, and covering homosexuality, tactics similarly imposed on racial and other minorities. Passing is reflected in the military's current »don't ask, don't tell« policy. Covering occurs when a gay is »out« but avoids offending the larger society by »covering«. Yoshino considers »covering«, the demand that gays not flaunt their orientation, to be the civil-rights issue of today.
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