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Gay Rights as Human Rights: Pinkwashing Homonationalism

[Tel Aviv Gay Pride. Image From Unknown Archive. Queers Against Apartheid Poster] [Tel Aviv Gay Pride. Image From Unknown Archive. Queers Against Apartheid Poster]

It is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at the news that the United States has come out as the global defender of LGBTQ rights. This confusion is not only due to the United States' own record on gay rights, but perhaps more importantly, it is due to the United States' role as the premier imperial power in the world today. After all, while Secretary of State Clinton acknowledged that the United States has an imperfect record of defending and legislating gay rights domestically, she was curiously silent about how and why, exactly, the United States would monitor and regulate LGBTQ rights internationally. Would the American army, for example, start “enforcing” the rights of gay Iraqis or gay Afghanis? Would the United States impose sanctions on governments that were non-homo friendly? Would Secretary Clinton welcome the intervention of the “international community” over the fact that people are denied the rights to live with their families due to an immigration law that gives right of residence on the basis of a couples' genitalia? What, exactly, does Clinton mean when she says that the world over, “gay rights” should be recognized as “human rights?”

At the UN Clinton offered a quick history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She mentioned, correctly, that the document was in part in response to the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust and WWII. As Hannah Arendt has written, the urgency with which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written was informed by the idea there must be more to being a human than being a citizen. For centuries, those not deemed “ready” or “capable” of politics or civilization had been relentlessly exterminated and enslaved. With the rise of the nation state and Euro-American imperialism, the world became stratified between citizens (of different hierarchies) and non-citizens (of different hierarchies). Citizens had rights, non-citizens did not until, in the terrifying logic of the enlightenment, they proved they were “ready.” Due to the conflation of rights and citizenship in the modern period-particularly in totalitarian states-people who had been stripped of citizenship, as Jews in Germany were, would be confined to an existence outside of law, outside of regulation, and by extension, outside of humanity. But Arendt's true lesson is not the story of a victory of human rights legislation, but rather her prescient warning that the legal production of the “human right” as prior to that of the citizen could only come through the increasing ability of the state to regulate life and to determine when, how, and to what degree the two poles of “human rights” and “political justice” could be collapsed and alienated.

In her speech Secretary Clinton was, perhaps unknowingly, reproducing this generative alienation between political and human rights. She emphasized that LGBTQs everywhere had the same rights to love and have sex with whomever they choose as partners, and to do so safely. In making this statement, she reiterated a central tenet of what Jasbir Puar names homonationalism: the idea that LGBTQs the world over experience, practice, and are motivated by the same desires, and that their politics are grounded in an understanding that ties 1) the directionality of their love and desire into a stable identity and 2) that stable identity into the grounds from which one speaks and makes political claims. Secretary Clinton suggested that queers everywhere, whether white or black, male or female or transgendered, soldier or civilian, rich or poor, Palestinian or Israeli, can be comprehended and interpellated through the same rights framework. But the content of what she she calls “gay rights” is informed by the experiences and histories of (namely white gay male) queers in the United States, and thus there is an emphasis on visibility and identity politics and an elision of the class and political struggles that animate the lives of the majority of the third world's heterosexual and homosexual populations. Thus detached from its locality, “gay rights” can travel internationally not only as a vehicle for normative homo-nationalism, but as a vehicle for neoliberal ways of producing politics and subjects more broadly.

Of course, as Clinton said, homosexuality is not an export from “the west.” Homosexuality is not like Coca Cola or Cheerios. It is not diasporic, in that it has a fixed origin point that then is spread throughout the rest of the world, even if it is true that what it means to identify today as homosexual is historic and emerges at its apex within the transition from the civil rights era, through the GRID/ AIDS killing zones, to the era of liberal identity politics in the United States. Furthermore, non-Western people who identify as homosexual through a homo-national narrative or through the consumption of homonational products are not somehow “inauthentic.” They are markers of the reality that we live within a world that is increasingly connected through the movement of people, capital and information yet increasingly stratified across class and political lines. We live in a world of rights and in a world where the female and/or queer gendered body (but never, we should note, the male heterosexual body) has become a political anchor. This success story did not begin with homonationalism, which is only one of its latest railways stations. Homonationalism is not the end goal of a conspiratorial “gay international,” rather, it is only one aspect of the reworking of the world according to neoliberal logics that maintain not only the balance of of power between states, but also within them. In fact, homonationalism produces normative homosexuality in the same fashion that normative “heterosexuality” continues to be shaped and regulated internationally through the interventions of human rights corporations, international funding and research agencies, and the foreign and domestic policies of states. Thus the The World Bank, The UNDP, Human Rights Watch, and the US State Department together project ideal modes of heterosexuality by promoting “adult” ages of consent, educated, employed and (re) productive couples, and love/choice, non kin and non arranged marriages that mimic the model of “stranger sociality” at large. Within a neoliberal framework, all of these are not seen as “political interventions” but merely policy recommendations. Clinton's speech fits neatly into this project by isolating “gay rights” as rights to identity, from “political justice,” understood as the continuos participation in the reconfiguration of power and the grammar of life that it licenses. To act within a framework of political justice implies an acceptance to play the role of agitator, an acceptance to act in the spaces that human rights cannot and will not capture for both disciplinary and political reasons. It is to act knowing that you will never achieve your goals, but that you will play a role in pushing the cause of justice forward even if, by definition, justice can never be achieved because it is constantly moving. It is a positionality, not a position. As Arendt once explained, political activism is acting with the knowledge that you will fail, but that you care enough to act under this signature of immanent failure.

Let's take the case of Palestine, which, as activists and academics have recently highlighted, is being subjected to a pinkwashing campaign by the Israeli government. Here, a focus on “gay rights” or “women's rights” as opposed to “political justice” in fact repeats a colonial distinction made by a British mandate between two populations, a Jewish one that would have rights to a homeland, and a non-Jewish (the word Palestinian was not used) one that was to enjoy full civil rights. In the British mandate for Palestine, no mention was made of non-Jews' political rights, an omission which in hindsight we understand to be informed by the attempt to continue to deny the indigenous people of Palestine self determination, while promising them that they practice of life (as separate from politics) would continue without discrimination. Today, the promise of “gay rights” for Palestinian goes something like this: The United States will protect your right to not be detained because as a gay, but will not protect you from being detained because you are Palestinian. As a queer, you have the right to love and have sex with whomever you choose safely and without discrimination, but you do not have the right to be un-occupied, or to be free from oppression based on your political beliefs, actions, and affiliations. As long as it is Arabo-Islamic culture and its manifestation through (Palestinian) law that is oppressing you, we are here for you. If you are being oppressed by Israeli colonial policies, you're on your own. As long as you confine your politics to your sexuality, and you speak as a queer subaltern in a language of rights that we understand (because we wrote it) we are here for you. One is tempted to call the production of such a narrow and reductive framework through which queers are to become politically legible an exercise in homophobia.

Many progressive critics miss the point that pinkwashing, the process by which the government of Israel attempts to promote itself as a safe haven for Palestinian queers from “their culture,” is not primarily about gay rights or homosexuality at all. Pinkwashing only makes sense as a political strategy within a discourse of Islamophobia and Arabophobia, and it is part of a larger project to anchor all politics within the axis of identity, and identitarian (and identifiable) groups. Thus critics of pinkwashing who assume an international queer camaraderie repeat a central tenet of homonationalism: homosexuals should  be in solidarity with and empathize with each other because they are homosexual. Sarah Schulman recently wrote in the New York Times about the dangers of “the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel.” One should ask why white gays are seen as always being co-opted by these forces, rather than as active producers of and willing participants in racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. If queer activists in Palestine have taught us anything, it is that not all homosexuals are allies or potential allies. A gay Israeli in a military uniform is both an enemy and a target of anti-occupation politics, just as a gay Zionist in the United States is an enemy of the Palestinian cause and the cause of queer Palestinians because they are rooted within that Palestinian national cause. The idea that Euro-American gays must be appealed to on the basis of their sexuality by others who share their sexuality partakes in the the alienation of both sexuality from politics and of “queer Palestinians” from their non-queer selves and communities. It also panders to and reproduces a homonational argument that Euro-American gays are more likely to respond if they are addressed by an indigenous gay that, preferably, speaks about the Palestinian cause in the common tongue of LGBTQ rights. Furthermore, Schulman's argument rests on the idea that there is something different, and potentially redemptive, about being gay, and in making this claim she relies on the affective scars of the universalized experience of homophobia. But homophobia is not one thing, nor is it experienced in the same way or to the same extent by homosexuals the world over (because they themselves are not the same thing). Moreover, homophobia could be a less defining experience than say, the racism experienced by an African American queer or a Syrian queer protesting against authoritarianism and neoliberal market restructuring. In fact, the experience of homophobia as the primary discrimination one faces in life is usually the mark of an otherwise privileged existence. For the majority of the people of the world, oppression, to paraphrase Edward Said on culture, is contrapuntual. It moves, is multi-directional, it is adaptive, and it forms a terrain of interconnected injustices

One of the surprising lessons we can learn from the emerging debate on pinkwashing is the extent to which homonationalism has become hegemonic. Both the Israeli government and pinkwatching -not pinkwashing- activists partake in different aspects of homonationalism because they must in order to be heard by the same intended audience: white gays who have economic and political resources. Pinkwatching-not pinkwashing - activists, in trying to counter Israel's attempt to mobilize gay rights discourses to justify their brutal military occupation and ongoing policies of colonial settlement, teach us all a bitter lesson. Groups that try to counter pinkwashing by engaging in what they call pinkwatching, like PQBDSAl-Qaws, and Pinkwatching Israel, try to strategically deploy homonationalism in order to include within it notions of political and economic justice for all Palestinians. They walk the precarious line between the daily realities of LGBTQ discrimination and oppression and the dangers of separating and elevating that particular discrimination over the terrain of interconnected oppressions that forms, in part, what it means to be Palestinian. They show us that the language of gay rights in the Arab world is a double bind: we must use it in order to achieve restitution from very real, and very immediate oppression, but as we use this language it mobilizes us in a struggle to transform questions of social, political, and economic justice into claims of discrimination. This discrimination, in turn, can only be addressed by nation states or by international political bodies that are actively involved in oppressing our peoples, our families and loved ones, and the parts of us that not captured by the LGBTQ paradigm. We cannot "choose" to not be who we have become, but we must recognize how we have been formed as neoliberal rights seeking and speaking bodies, and how this formation is linked to a history of depoliticization and alienation. In other words, we must be both tactical and skeptical when this language reaches to embrace us, and when we, as activists and as academics, use it ourselves. We must find ways to critically inhabit this homonational world and try, always, to act within the uncomfortable and precarious line between rights and justice.

16 comments for "Gay Rights as Human Rights: Pinkwashing Homonationalism"

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great article.

but there should be a clear distinction between pinkwashing and pinkwatching, as they are different things.

pinkwashing = israeli govt promotion of LGBTQI subjects/rights discourse to mask apartheid

pinkwatching = inherently anti-pinkwashing; monitoring israel's pinkwashing campaigns

pinkwhating? wrote on December 16, 2011 at 02:14 PM
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Hi there - great article, but I think you're confusing "pinkwatching" with "pinkwashing" throughout the piece. this is super important ! please correct so it doesn't detract from the really great and necessary intervention this work makes!

anjali wrote on December 16, 2011 at 02:40 PM
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Dear Editors,

Thank you for publishing an article on pinkwashing. I am pleased to see this issue finally getting more attention, especially in Jadaliyya, which is always on the cutting edge of intellectual, cultural and political discourses pertaining to SWANA region.

However, I am concerned as to some confusing information that is presented within the article. Although corrections were made, there continues to be some slippage between pinkwashing and pinkwatching. Corrections were made in some places where they were not necessarily needed (such as in the title, where the use of pinkwatching worked perfectly), but were not changed in other places where it's still ambiguous as to what exactly you're referring to. It's a very nuanced distinction between the two, so i understand that it can be hard to distinguish them, but it's a very important distinction that must be made clearly. The anti-pinkwashing movement is so small that it would be really horrible to have people outraged and work against it because of a confusion between which side of the discourse to be on.

There continues to be confusion within this particular section:

"One of the surprising lessons we can learn from the emerging debate on pinkwatching is the extent to which homonationalism has become hegemonic. Both the Israeli government and pinkwatching activists partake in different aspects of homonationalism because they must in order to be heard by the same intended audience: white gays who have economic and political resources."

I also find it troubling that several organizations are referred to as "[trying] to expand homonationalism in order to include within it notions of political and economic justice for all Palestinians." I think it's important to point out that the purpose of orgs like PQBDS, Al-Qaws, Pinkwatching Israel, and others is to critique and challenge homonationalism, not necessarily to seek inclusion within it (since homonationalism is itself a homogenizing, nationalist project which seeks to uphold racial, economic, and gender norms and exclude those who do not fit the idealized subjectivity of the modern nation state). Homonationalism by its very nature is an exclusive form of homonormativity that succeeds in its nationalist messaging only in opposition to the Others that it excludes and condemns.

Thanks again for getting the word out there about pinkwashing.

Best, Umayyah Cable Department of American Studies and Ethnicity University of Southern California

Umayyah Cable wrote on December 16, 2011 at 03:53 PM
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I am reposting the comments from facebook to move the conversation over here. Jasbir Puar: hi all, this is a really interesting thread. What I appreciate very much about the article is the recognition that homonationalism is understood as part of a larger structure of neoliberal accommodationism that encompasses shifting and unstable constructions of "Others" and citizens. So as the author writes: "Homonationalism is not the end goal of a conspiratorial “gay international,” rather, it is only one aspect of the reworking of the world according to neoliberal logics that maintains not only the balance of of power between states, but also within them." As I have been watching homonationalism become part of many different national organizing agendas against co-optation by various states, and also watching queer organizing "against" homonationalism, I am reminded that, for myself anyway in my original thinking, that homonationalism is not a position, an identity, nor even an accusation, rather it is an assemblage of state practices, transnational movements of capital, bodies and ideas, political and intellectual practices, and geopolitical relations. it is not something that one is either inside of/included or against/outside of--rather it is a structuring force of neoliberal subject formations. As such, homonationalism is not a synonym for gay racism, rather a deep critique of liberal attachments to identity and rights-based discourses that rely on identitarian formations. In Terrorist Assemblages, I do focus not only on the places/sources/events/people that homonationalism might be expected to proliferate, but also places where a resistance to state racism might actually result in forms of homonationalism--for example South Asian queer diasporic organizing. So the question becomes, for me, not so much who can or cannot be called homonationalist, or which organizing projects are or are not homonationalist, but rather how are the structural expectations for homonationalism--which the author notes is becoming hegemonic--negotiated by groups who may well want to resist such interpellation but need to articulate that resistance through the very same logics of homonationalism? How is homonationalism working/being strategically manipulated differently in different national/geopolitical contexts, and are there homonationalisms that become productively intrinsic to national liberation projects rather than national imperialist/expansionist projects? I am still very much thinking about these questions, but I appreciate the article tremendously for bringing up these difficult issues.

Maya wrote on December 17, 2011 at 11:17 AM
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أمية كايبل thanks for the input and clarification, Jasbir. i'd like to point out that my original concern was the conflation of "pinkwashing" and "pinkwatching." while i see the point the author is trying to make re: homonationalism, i think it's problematic to lump all pinkwatching activities/orgs into pinkwashing solely based on this theoretical framework. an organization that organizes along identity lines and calls for BDS and justice for Palestine is not at all the same thing as the Israeli government producing multi-million dollar ad campaigns that promote Israel as a liberal democracy. also, and this is kind of a side note, i think it's important to remember that when discussing this in relation to Palestine, we're referring to a "national liberation" project that is actually quite ambivalent about the nation-state. in any event, i appreciate the time and space for having this debate.-Ummayya Cable

Maya wrote on December 17, 2011 at 11:19 AM
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Jasbir Puar: sorry i did not see the author lumping pinkwatching orgs together with pinkwashing (and certainly did not read that there was a lumping together of the israeli govt and BDS?) rather demonstrating the difficult and sometimes necessary convergence of the aims of pinkWATCHING and homonationalism. the point about Palestinian liberation being ambivalent about the nation-state is interesting and resonates deeply with the theoretical frame of homonationalism (though theory does not have to travel. leave it if it doesn't work for you). Ambivalence is emblematic in homonationalism, which is always a precarious, ambivalent, and temporally-bound relationship to nationalism for most, at best. the kind of liberal assemblages of homonationalism that i think the author is trying to point out are about managing those ambivalences. this seems most clear to me in the point she makes about the difficulties of queer anti-Zionist organizing *not* replicating homonationalisms in order to counter pinkwashing. difficult, perhaps impossible--again, questions i am still pondering. best, jasbir

Maya wrote on December 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM
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Ok, here is a comment in my own voice: You are suggesting that I conflate pinkwashing and pinkwatching because I am pointing out ways that they both emerge out of the background picture of homonationalism (which is itself an emergence of neoliberalism) You are ascribing "problematic" politics to the former and "good" politics to the latter—a point that I share, being that I consider myself a “pinkwatching” activist myself. What I am trying to show, however, is that even our “good politics” are structured by certain tenets of homonationalism and rights discourses that are less than emancipatory. The idea that of course pinkwatching activists cannot be deploying (or positioning themselves within) homonationalism because they have “good politics” turns homonationalism into something that only people we don't like do-as if it is a something that one can choose to use or not rather than being a force that structures the conditions of the debate. We shouldn’t use “homonationalism” in a simplistic or reductive fashion, and if we do then we risk being able to fully understand this world and inhabit it in critical ways. We should not repeat the mistake of turning “homonationalism” into a word we slap onto people whose politics we don’t like and then go home and feel better about ourselves for fighting the good fight. We shouldn't repeat the mistake that reduced Edward Said's notion of “orientalism,” for example, into a watered down and too easy critique of racism, particularly when Said's argument was actually that orientalism has formed the world that we all live in today, and that it now appears as both the archive of “history” and anthropology in the Arab world.

Maya wrote on December 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM
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i take your point, maya. as i stated before, my original concern was in the original presentation of the argument, which defined pinkwatching the same as pinkwashing. this has since been edited out, along with other edits that have also clarified your point re: homonationalism and pinkwatching.

i did not mean to stir a hornets nest here. i appreciate your careful attention to homonationalism and i appreciate the clarifications that have been made in new edits and especially in comments. i am grateful that this debate is happening more frequently, but like you, i am concerned with the ways it is being presented, especially as it has made recent forays into mainstream media.

i'd also like to say, i don't think we're necessarily in disagreement here. my biggest concern is parsing out the nuances, especially because this is one seriously slippery fish. i am thankful for your willingness to converse about it, and also stoked that jasbir puar weighed in.

ok yalla, warm wishes, :) uc

uc wrote on December 17, 2011 at 02:23 PM
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Thank you Maya for another excellent article! I read all your articles on Jadaliyya, and I repost them on facebook. You always tackle sensitive issues with an incisive mind and passionate interest. One of the readers of this article has pointed out that you might be confusing between "interpellation" and "interpolation". I thought that this is rather a typo. very best, g.

Gaelle wrote on December 17, 2011 at 03:12 PM
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@uc. the original article did not define "pinkwatching the same as pinkwashing."There was a problem with the copy-editing which has been fixed. thats it, the ravages of grammar.

Maya wrote on December 17, 2011 at 05:38 PM
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I'm sorry, could someone explain to me why the term homonationalism is used rather than homoimperialism? If we are talking about "homogenization" of local same-sex cultures (qua Jameson amd Miyoshi) under an American hegemony then this is homoimperialism, not homonationlism. Personally, I take Appuradai's "heterogenizing" view that sees the phenomenon of global queering as the merging of global and local, producing glocal identities that are neither wholly global nor wholly local but "glocal." In this view, the glocalized identities retain various features of their local culture (political, etc.) while adopting useful identity constructions from the West for political strategies, to empower themselves in their sexual rights struggle locally. Palestinians would then not simply be a vessel with contents poured out and refilled with global identity. They take what they need and reject what is not useful. LGBT's globalizstion has an unfortunate complicity with imperialist projects, but sometimes sweet water trickles forth from a foul well.

Gabriel Sylvian wrote on December 18, 2011 at 05:15 AM
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Dear Maya,

I appreciate your comments, and have been thinking a great deal about why your characterization doesn't match my meaning.

Perhaps this will help:

Queer people need each other for sex and love, which are basic parts of life. Those of us who share values, also have a special bond of desire. There is an erotic life between us that perhaps explains the special affinities and loyalties that like-minded queer women are finding globally in movements against the occupation.

We also have a shared secret knowledge about the specifics of our depth of feeling, even if those vary throughout cultural paradigms. Any politic that asks us not to have a special affinity (among other affinities), in this historic moment, is hard to embrace. And while homophobia means different things in different contexts and experiences, one thing that queer people face universally is the assumption of heterosexuality as neutral, normal, objective and value free, while denying the passion of queer desire and love. Yours, Sarah

Sarah Schulman wrote on December 18, 2011 at 03:14 PM
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Dear Sarah,

Thank you posting this response. I think that it is very important to have these conversations and these political disagreements in an open and honest fashion, and I appreciate your agreement on the imperative of debate. I think there is a danger in reducing homonationalism to white racism within those who consider themselves to be part of a larger LGBTQ community. When we do so we are misrecognizing a primary facet through which our identities today are structured by the very ideas that you have just elucidated—a feeling that there is something that binds queer people worldwide, and that something is posed in opposition to a “neutral” model of heterosexuality. My point is that instead of there simply being that affinity among LGBTQs, there is an attempt to make that affinity---just as rather than saying there is a universal heterosexuality, I would say there are projects to make a certain model of heterosexuality universal. Making these affinities between people is the work of politics, and in terms of the LGBTQ question, homonationalism (within neoliberalism) is the political vehicle through which a global “community” who appear to logically “share experiences” is continuously made and remade. This is not a normative argument, it is rather a recognition of the success of homonationalism in structuring the conditions of the debate on lets say---gay rights in Palestine. The fact that pinkwashers and pinkwatchers alike speak from opposing positions within homonationalism is only evidence that this discourse, and this project, has become hegemonic and thus appears “natural.” Given this reality, I think it is imperative for us to critically engage with homonationalism, lest we continue to fantasize that we can somehow speak from a place outside of it.

Maya wrote on December 23, 2011 at 09:27 AM
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Dear Sarah,

Thank you posting this response. I think that it is very important to have these conversations and these political disagreements in an open and honest fashion, and I appreciate your agreement on the imperative of debate. I think there is a danger in reducing homonationalism to white racism within those who consider themselves to be part of a larger LGBTQ community. When we do so we are misrecognizing a primary facet through which our identities today are structured by the very ideas that you have just elucidated—a feeling that there is something that binds queer people worldwide, and that something is posed in opposition to a “neutral” model of heterosexuality. My point is that instead of there simply being that affinity among LGBTQs, there is an attempt to make that affinity---just as rather than saying there is a universal heterosexuality, I would say there are projects to make a certain model of heterosexuality universal. Making these affinities between people is the work of politics, and in terms of the LGBTQ question, homonationalism (within neoliberalism) is the political vehicle through which a global “community” who appear to logically “share experiences” is continuously made and remade. This is not a normative argument, it is rather a recognition of the success of homonationalism in structuring the conditions of the debate on lets say---gay rights in Palestine. The fact that pinkwashers and pinkwatchers alike speak from opposing positions within homonationalism is only evidence that this discourse, and this project, has become hegemonic and thus appears “natural.” Given this reality, I think it is imperative for us to critically engage with homonationalism, lest we continue to fantasize that we can somehow speak from a place outside of it.

Maya wrote on December 23, 2011 at 09:50 AM
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Dear Sarah,

Thank you posting this response. I think that it is very important to have these conversations and these political disagreements in an open and honest fashion, and I appreciate your agreement on the imperative of debate. I think there is a danger in reducing homonationalism to white racism within those who consider themselves to be part of a larger LGBTQ community. When we do so we are misrecognizing a primary facet through which our identities today are structured by the very ideas that you have just elucidated—a feeling that there is something that binds queer people worldwide, and that something is posed in opposition to a “neutral” model of heterosexuality. My point is that instead of there simply being that affinity among LGBTQs, there is an attempt to make that affinity---just as rather than saying there is a universal heterosexuality, I would say there are projects to make a certain model of heterosexuality universal. Making these affinities between people is the work of politics, and in terms of the LGBTQ question, homonationalism (within neoliberalism) is the political vehicle through which a global “community” who appear to logically “share experiences” is continuously made and remade. This is not a normative argument, it is rather a recognition of the success of homonationalism in structuring the conditions of the debate on lets say---gay rights in Palestine. The fact that pinkwashers and pinkwatchers alike speak from opposing positions within homonationalism is only evidence that this discourse, and this project, has become hegemonic and thus appears “natural.” Given this reality, I think it is imperative for us to critically engage with homonationalism, lest we continue to fantasize that we can somehow speak from a place outside of it.

Maya wrote on December 23, 2011 at 09:58 AM
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Sarah Schulman's comment of December 18, 2011 sums up my point of view. Let me add that as an aging gay activist and Marxist I find it possible to hold two ideas simultaneously: 1) Israel has made very positive moves on LGBT rights and 2) Israel practices apartheid and ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories. Both things are equally true.

Can I presume to understand, let alone represent, the aspirations of LGBT people throughout the world? That depends. I will go out on a limb and declare that my gay brothers in Iran and Uganda aspire to not be executed.

Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin wrote on May 29, 2012 at 02:55 PM

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