Is This What Equality Looks Like?
Using the Netherlands as a case study, this article explores how increased social acceptance of and legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people impact their lives. The author draws on in-depth interviews with nine LGBT people to argue that the danger of acceptance is invisibility for those who assimilate and marginalization for those who do not conform to assimilationist discourses, such as transgender individuals and other gender nonconformers. Utilizing Butler’s theories of normalization and Goffman’s theories of stigmatization, the findings also show that assimilating into homonormativity can generate feelings of shame and fear. The author concludes that new approaches in dismantling heteronormativity and seeking equality are needed in order to achieve genuine acceptance for LGBT people.