Reading Summary: Queer Settler Colonialism in Canada and Israel: Articulating Two-Spirit and Palestinian Queer Critiques

Long story short, the main point of this essay by Scott Lauria Morgensen is to make a connection between the Two-Spirit community and the Palestinian queer critiques. Morgensen told the story of both group and how they are both affected by settler colonialism. The essay explained how settler colonialism had affected native queers in the past and in the present. Morgensen explained how heteropatriarchy has been imposed in the Native culture, this imposition has affected and somewhat destroyed the original queer culture of the Natives in the past. Whatever practices, beliefs, and culture the Natives had that did not fit the heteropatriachal system the settlers brought in was put to the side and discouraged. Now in the present, the Native are now trying to reclaim that queer culture they had in the past, the Two-Spirit culture that is devoid of any influence from foreigner and settlers. The queer nation of today seems to support this movement, but is it really a support or more like a benefit for the organization to show to the world that they are group embracing multiculturalism and diversity? The paper explained that it more for the latter reason. The paper also explained how this is somewhat like settler colonialism all over again imposed on the Two-Spirit community. That idea that they are “helping the natives because they need more help with propagating they culture,” is again putting their ideologies on the Natives again. Morgensen later compares this scenario with whatever is happening with the Palestinian queer critiques.

On the other part of the world, Morgensen also examined what it is happening with the queer communities of Palestine and Israel. Though it might appear that the Israeli queer community is supporting the propagation of the queer community in Palestine, Morgensen discussed how this pinkwashing is just a form of settler colonialism. Showing that the Israelis support the Palestinian queer community is a way to mask the tension and whatever inequality Israel has done to Palestine in the past. Also, it seems that this pinkwashing is Israel’s way to show superiority in the Palestinian queer community. Again, it is that “Oh, we have to give more gay rights in Palestine because they don’t have it” thinking. By showing to both nations and to the world that Israel is giving freedom and structure to the queer community in Palestine put Israel in the good light. However, though the support seems to be a good deal, Morgensen mentioned that this is really not the case. Discrimination and racism happens within the two groups. There is really no equality in both the Israeli and Palestinian queer groups. The Israelis are still somewhat looking down on the Palestinian. So what is the point of this all?

Morgensen’s main writing the paper is to examine what is happening with these two groups and within this analysis to raise awareness on what settler colonialism has done to some groups in the past and how is it working now. In the light of explaining the two stories, Morgensen hopes that people realize what’s really happening and to call the two group to maybe work out a solution to this problem

Questions 1: How can one tell if a group is genuinely helping and supporting a certain queer community to those “help” where settler colonialism ideology is masked with misleading kindness?

Question 2: Settler colonialism is somewhat shown in a dark light, but sometimes settler colonialism mixed with native ideology can give birth to a whole different but beautiful culture and people. So, is settler colonialism really bad?

Reading Summary: Queer Settler Colonialism in Canada and Israel: Articulating Two-Spirit and Palestinian Queer Critiques

MIDTERM: The More the Merrier

“Queer” used to be just a word that describes something weird or different for me, now queer has a totally different meaning. At some point in my life I have associated the word “queer” as something pertaining to someone who is homosexual. I was not really sure if this word was offensive or not since some gay people seem to embrace the term while some people seem to shun it away. The case in today’s society, however, has changed. Queer is not only for homosexuals, but it also includes people that are outside the “normal, everyday people” circle. Queer is an identity now to some people. Queer can also be a group representing people who do not fit the norms. Queer is something… complex and a bit hard to understand. The whole concept of queer for me, honestly, is not that distinct. Even if I read papers and watch a documentary about it, it is just something I can’t get a grasp on. For me, queer is something that does not have any boundaries, it does include a lot of people but we are talking about a whole range of different people. I can get easily confused now with the word queer, since it has such a deep, complicated meaning now. Whenever this confusion happens, I usually refer to queer as the word and ask myself what it means. Queer means different.

I love watching random documentaries whenever I have nothing else to do. Louis Theroux, an English TV personality, did several documentaries tackling a wide range of topics – from drug dealers to wrestlers, he followed them and show people how they live and what their lifestyles are. One of the documentaries that he made that I liked a lot is the one about swinging. For those people who don’t know what swinging is, it is basically partner swapping for sex. There is more to it obviously but for now that’s the simplest explanation I can give. I am doing an analysis of this documentary because one of the first things that came to mind when I saw this documentary is how queer or weird the whole thing was. I guess my reaction came to the fact that I am used to seeing monogamous relationships and that anything that comes out in that circle is not right. As society dictates, loyalty is one of the important aspects in one’s relationship. Flirting or sleeping with someone other than your partner can lead to disaster, that is why promiscuous relationships are pretty much discouraged (at least in our culture). I chose to analyze the lifestyle of the swingers since it reminded me a lot when Queer is being discussed in class. The stigma is there, both swingers and Queers deal with it, and for the most part, they can be considered as outsiders, but at the same time they somehow form a strong group.

The fact that Theroux made a documentary about this lifestyle is already a big hint that swinging can be categorized as something different. His segment is already called “Weird Weekends,” so that is a big hint. Also the way the couple acted, Gary and Margaret, is already a big clue that they know they are doing something that is outside the norm. One example is that when Margaret and Louis were out shopping and how Margaret is so secretive about their swinging lifestyle. As she said, she does not want people to be talking about her if she is ever out shopping, which is reasonable since nobody wants to be bothered or harassed. She is well aware that people and society are not really in favor of this lifestyle or that they will be looked upon as freaks or weirdos. Gary seems to also feel the same way, since he sounds like he did not want his neighbors to know as to what kind of parties they are throwing every now and then.

However, if one may observe, the difference the swinger group had from the community is something that keeps the group tight. People who attended the party seemed to have a great time and they seem to know what they really came for. Whether they are experimenting or not, each couple seems to go against the social norm that shouts “monogamy good and promiscuity bad!” They are just like regular people partying but they just have a different way of having fun and their hook-ups are a bit different from what we see in the movies and real life. Also, it does not look like they are completely shunned as there are obviously businesses catering to swingers. Yet even if there is some acceptance going on doesn’t mean that the stigma ends there.

I am not sure as to how the swinger community is doing right now since that documentary is not that recent, but as far as I can see now, swinging is most likely not the convention for the majority. My point in this essay is that there a parallel to the swingers and queers’ lifestyle. Both groups go against the norms of the society, yet they form bonds with each other. Some swingers may identify as queer as well but I can’t really speak for any of them. Whatever the case may be, both swingers and queers may be viewed as different but they are still there and I think they are growing strong.

MIDTERM: The More the Merrier