Lived Difference: Ordinariness and Misfitting in the Lives of Disabled and LGBT Youth

Edmund Coleman-Fountain

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Debates about normalisation and the changing meaning of difference in LGBT youth studies usually do not consider the ‘misfit’ character of disabled LGBT young people. For disabled LGBT youth, difference can indicate not only expressions of gender and sexuality that depart from the expectations of heterosexuality, but a way of being that disrupts ableist norms of the body. An expanded awareness of the interplay of ableism and heteronormativity, and the different possibilities for fitting in and standing out that these create, can therefore unsettle emerging narratives about LGBT youth identities and their relation to what it means to be an ‘ordinary’ person. By exploring one young man’s story of fitting in and standing out in terms of both disability and sexuality, this chapter reconsiders debates about LGBT youth, identity and ‘normality’. It asks how the lived experience of difference expressed in the stories of disabled LGBT youth may offer deeper insight into the processes of fitting and misfitting that are not usually identified, but are often implicit in, new narratives of normalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYoung disabled and LGBT+
Subtitle of host publicationVoices, Intersections and Identities
EditorsAlex Toft, Anita Franklin
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429198458
ISBN (Print)9780367188146
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2020


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