Identifications of both gender and religion rely heavily upon identifications of similarity and difference, familiarity and exoticism, both with respect to gender and sexuality and religions themselves. How do we mark “otherness”? Where does it live, geographically and culturally? What does it look like, and how do we use prior understandings of what/who is familiar in order to identify it? How do we strategically use what is alien to denature what students take as natural? Conversely, how do we use what they take to be natural to illuminate what is alien? Along with offering answers to these questions, we will discuss how “otherness” is subsequently policed and what modes of social anxiety are present in such policing. We will draw from examples in the classroom regarding the often unconsciously held? thresholds seemingly present for our students as they go about identifying otherness. Similarly, our own pedagogical choices in determining the case studies to introduce or not introduce are telling.