Collective identities — „we" as queers, as whatever group you like — are often perceived as empowering, as providing a sense of belonging. On the other hand through their very existence, collective identities produce new boundaries of „in" and „out", and new norms of behaviour that limit peoples’ freedom to be and to do. Not only can identity be disempowering, but it can also threaten peoples’ lives, as nationalist and homophobic attacks show. Maybe I’m stating the obvious here. I consider none of all the collective identities normally discussed (be they ethnic, gender, or nation-based) as „natural"; all of them are social constructions. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or that they don’t have an influence on our lives, but it means that we have an active role too in our collective identities, in stabilising or de-constructing them. As I am a gay man, I will mainly write from this perspective. However, I’m convinced similar processes are at work in the construction of other collective identities, and therefore my thoughts are not limited to issues of gay identities.