This paper looks into the use of agency of young LBGTQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgenders and Queer) people in a heterosexual Bhutanese society, by delving into their everyday coping and negotiating experiences. To gauge the navigational experiences of LBGTQ youth, in-depth qualitative interviewing and participant observation methods were applied among nine LBGTQ youth participants. I have used critical youth studies as a core conceptual framework to analyze how LBGTQ youth make sense of silences in Bhutan’s tolerant society, while creating individualized experiences in the transitionary period of youthhood. The study reveals that LBGTQ youth exhibit in copious ways, how they assert and act on their sexuality through coping, resisting and evading discrimination. However, the extent to which agency is used to assert for spaces of participation and representation is restricted by structural norms of hetero-patriarchy. In addition, the ambiguity of youthhood is plagued by adult’s notions of assumption of young people. Importantly, this study has discovered that given their constrained situatedness and limited autonomy, LBGTQ youth tend to reinforce the very binary genders and sexual hierarchies they seek to resist and deconstruct. In this paper, I argue that this has come about as a result of youth’s strategy to stay relevant in a patriarchal environment that gives prominence to heteronormativity. In the concluding chap-ter, I reflect on the need for more recognition and inclusivity of LBGTQ people in general, by drawing on implications to larger policy planning as creating social inequalities.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Agency, Bhutan, Gender Performativity, Heteronormativity, LGBTQ, Patriarchy, Sexuality, Youth studies
Thesis Advisor Cheney, Kristen. E.
Persistent URL
Series Social Justice Perspectives (SJP)
Pema, Yangchi. (2019, December 20). Performances of identities in hetero-patriarchy: LGBTQ youth in navigating the dominant sexuality discourse in Bhutan. Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Retrieved from