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Equally Queer? Strategic Lesbianism in Diane DiMassa's Hothead Paisan

Katja Linke

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In recent years, more and more people have chosen gender-neutral terms like “queer” over gender-specific terms like lesbian and gay to indicate their non-normative gender and/or sexuality. While there are many good reasons for this development, the loss of gender-specific terms makes it harder to address gender-specific experiences of sexism both within and beyond queer communities. A close reading of Diane DiMassa’s comic, "The Complete Hothead Paisan. Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist", points to the possibility of a strategic use of the term lesbian that avoids the pitfalls of essentialism and gender-normativity, while still retaining its critical potential.