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Straight Black Queer: Obama, Code- Switching, and the Gender Anxiety of African American Men

by Vershawn Ashanti Young

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Globe magazine featured a “world exclusive,” not even a year into Barack Obama’s first term as president of the united states, charging him with homosexual infidelity and his wife, Michelle, with coordinating a cover-up (“Obama Gay Cover-Up!”). The magazine followed up two months later, asserting that Obama’s lover resided in the White House and was none other than his personal aide, Reggie Love (“Obama’s Gay Lover”). Globe, of course, is a dime-store rag whose mission is to sensationalize. I refer to it here because it is perhaps the most relentless among a slew of white-run media outlets that consistently and unfavorably queer Obama, amplifying his nonnormative masculine traits and then, on that basis, assigning him a deceitful, nonheteronormative sexuality.

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