Document Type



Master of Arts



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Eric Wiland


Lauren Olin

Sarah Paul


It is characteristic of closeted queer agents that they behave so as to pass as heterosexual, cisgender, or otherwise as non-queer. Thus, I take it that an action-theoretic account of the phenomenon of straight-passing is essential to developing an action-theoretic account of the practical disposition of being “in the closet.” To progress towards a broader account of closeted queer agency, I endeavor in this thesis to clarify the patterns of practical reasoning involved in straight-passing with an aim to demonstrate that straight-passing, in all its forms, is something that a queer agent can intentionally do. However, a queer agent often brings it about that they pass as straight not only through what they do, but also through what they refrain from doing. Passing by refraining from action simpliciter, passing by excluding certain candidate actions in one’s practical reasoning, and passing by constraining the manner of the performance of some action all involve purposefully omitting to act in some way. Thus, securing the intentionality of straight-passing in all its forms requires us to give some account of how inaction can be intentional on the part of a queer agent. In doing so, I apply Randolph Clarke’s causal theory of intentional omissions to plausible accounts of the practical reasoning involved in straight-passing to demonstrate that passing is indeed something that closeted queer agents intentionally do.