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Lambda Literary: Opacity and the Closet

By Chase Dimock
Lambda Literary

de villiers_opacity cover"The Closet” is an increasingly ill-fitting metaphor for queer men and women who wish to explore their sexuality outside of the two opposite states of either being “out” and having to confess their personal life aloud and align it with a specific identity category or being “closeted” and thus presumed to be living in shame, secrecy, or self-denial. It is this binary of being in or out of the closet that Nicholas De Villiers deconstructs in Opacity and the Closet with the advancement of a practice he terms “queer opacity.” Laying out the thesis of the text, De Villiers writes, “This book interrogates the viability of the metaphor of the closet and puts forth a concept of ‘opacity’ as an alternative queer strategy or tactic that is not linked to an interpretation of hidden depths, concealed meanings, or neat opposition between silence and speech.” Queer opacity is not the transparency of being “out” nor is it the concealment of being “in,” but it is instead a practice of queer living that resists confession, fixed identity categories, and public visibility as obligatory elements of LGBT identity.

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Opacity and the Closet