Queering public leadership: The case of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders in the Philippines

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Research has been lacking in exploring the implications of sexual identity on public leadership and in using discursive approaches to develop gender and public leadership literature. This study utilizes queer analysis to explore how six nonheterosexual public leaders in the Philippines negotiate their leadership identities and practices vis-a-vis a collectivistic, religious, and heteronormative culture. ` Interview accounts yield a reimagining of public leadership as a desire for intimacy with the people. Embedded in heteronormativity, this unspoken conception positions nonheterosexual subjects as unfit to participate in public leadership spaces, compelling them to make concessions to be allowed entry into the field. Such concessions, however, do not preclude the emergence of queer public leaderships that eventually enable a leadership praxis grounded on intersectionality. These findings reveal possibilities for a radical liberation of leaders and followers from interlocking structures of oppression.