Homonormativity From a Different Perspective

So I came across this video in my research on homonormativity for my research paper and I thought it was a pretty interesting perspective and description of what homonormativity and heteronormativity are from the perspective of a gay man and two lesbian moms.

They have some differing points of view while also having some similar ones. They question why homonormativity is seen as “threatening the queer movement”. One of the women sees homonormativity as taking baby steps in a way because it introduces the normalization of a gay lifestyle which could eventually lead to normalization of other “alternate” lifestyles to heterosexuality and cisgenderism.

The man, on the other hand, agrees with how homonormativity is threatening the queer movement because it is normalizing only ONE type of gay lifestyle, while not including trans people, people living with HIV, homeless queer youth, etc. It sets limits, boundaries, and rules to how to live a “normal” gay lifestyle. He mentions that it portrays “comfort” which I thought was important because it is true. People are only accepting of what is “comfortable” to them most of the time. If something, someone, or a group of people threaten the comfort levels of others, then they encounter the obstacle of having to acquire acceptance rather than gaining it at first glance.

A lot of good points were made here as well as a lot of points that are up to debate and analysis. I’d love to hear what others think of this!

Homonormativity From a Different Perspective

A response to double standards

As I was procrastinating on Instragram and eating a box of Oreos, I scrolled down to a post about the double standard on sexuality and gender.

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This meme really nailed it!! I’m sure many of us have heard people say “if lesbians use dildos, why don’t they just have sex with a man?” Every time someone would ask me this, I honestly wouldn’t know what to say but thanks to this post… now I do >:) haaaa, okay all jokes aside, this meme introduces a serious case of double standards, sexism, and a tad bit of ignorance that is present in modern society.

Many people associate using dildos with heterosexual women who don’t have a penis around to satisfy their current sexual dilemma, which in some situations is the case. But also, the use of dildos goes beyond just heterosexuality. It is for those women who enjoy vaginal stimulation in general–regardless of their sexuality.

Just throwing out this video on double standards. Gives a nice definition and a bit of history on it 🙂

A response to double standards

“Black feminists are furious about this all-male, all-white band’s racist name”

There’s an all-white, all-male band that call themselves Black Pussy and doesn’t recognize/fails to acknowledge how racist and sexist their band name is.

The visceral reaction black feminists are having to the band’s name isn’t easy to explain. Carrington said it required a historical perspective that leads the black American experience from slavery to today.

“The whole point of being a black person in this country is being owned,” Carrington said, “When white people talk about racism, they think about skin color. But what makes you a black person in the U.S. is that at some point in your history, your family was owned by someone else. The name of this band cannot be separated from that.”

Link to the Article: http://www.dailydot.com/lifestyle/band-racist-sexist-petition/

“The bio on Black Pussy’s Facebook page reads, “Black Pussy does not condone or endorse any sexism, racism, ageism, violence, or any other douchebaggery that has been spoiling the party since the party started. If you are offended by the band’s name, please refer to the following video.”

This is the video that the band linked to that is even more problematic and doesn’t back up their claim of “not condoning or endorsing any sexism, racism, ageism, violence, etc” at all.

Words are social constructions just as racism, gender, sexuality, etc but despite these concepts being constructed by society, there are real consequences and Stanhope in the video above doesn’t understand that at all.

“Black feminists are furious about this all-male, all-white band’s racist name”

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

Summary: Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel-Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary

In Jason Ritchie’s article Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel-Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary, he discusses the issue of Israel’s claims of being a gay inclusive state. This strategy is called “pinkwashing” or “a deliberate strategy [on the the part of the Israeli state and its supports] to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.” (Ritchie,3)  In US queer cities like New York discourse critiquing Israel’s treatment of Palestine is immediate deemed anti-semetic. Additionally, political organization to mobilize against Israeli occupation of the West Bank is deemed to distract from the “core mission” of LGBT organizations.

In the US progressive queer activists claim that racial justice, anti-imperialism, immigration, economic justice, disability justice, and militarization are key issues as they address universal human rights violations. Under this argument, they feel they Israel’s claims of being LGBT friendly are directly undermined by their history of Palestinian occupation and oppression. While many contemporary Israelis and Western queers alike claim this is simply not the case, Ritchie’s accounts of queer Palestinian life paint a drastically different picture. This becomes a polarizing issue in Western LGBT circles are some claim that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a non-queer issue. Instead, they claim that since Israel is progressive to queer bodies in it’s own state, it should be given the credit of being LGBT-friendly.  However, queer activists argue that any violation of human rights then becomes a universally queer issue. So, by violating the rights and not freely allowing for queer Palestinian visibility, they are not LGBT friendly.

Ritchie discusses the life of queer Palestinians and the limitations that Palestinian-Israeli queer relationships face. Israel has LGBT inclusiveness for only certain bodies and polices queer Palestinians from easily entering their spaces if at all. Queer dating websites like Atraf ask religion instead of ethnicity allowing Israelis to deny prospective Palestinian partners. (Ritchie, 11) Additionally, although Israeli border guards let queer Palestinians into gay bars in Israel, they do so if that Palestinian speaks proper Hebrew or has certain markers. So, this allows for regulation of queer bodies. Additionally, queer Palestinian-Israeli relationships are heavily policed by Israeli society. Palestinian and Arab partners, even if they have Israeli citizenship, are seen as unable to assimilate into Israeli life and are categorized as others. Therefore, the argument that Israel is LGBT inclusive is flawed. They are only inclusive of some bodies and are still anti-Palestinian. With this evidence, many activists argue that Israel’s “pinkwashing” covers up it’s practice anti-Palestinian (including queer Palestinian) policies.

Ritchie argues that homonormativity as an argument ignores other factors in these behaviors. It is an oversimplification. (Ritchie, 17) Israel, for instance, has a long history of Palestinian occupation and militarism. Therefore, it’s exclusion of certain Palestinian queer bodies from it’s LGBT community isn’t as much homonormative as it is anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and Israeli-normative.  He claims “power, in this framework, is reducible to racism, and racism is understood in a universalizing manner” which neglects discourse of “social relations in concrete socio-historical contexts.” (Ritchie, 17)

Discussion questions:

Can you threaten homonormativity in a space where queerness is still not highly visible? I.e. can you say a community is risking any form of normativity when it is still considered a deviant sexuality?

Do Western fears of anti-semetism/ being labeled as anti-semetic keep them from critiquing anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian practices in Israel?

Why do some feel like homonormativity is a greater threat to modern queer communities than heteronormativity?

Summary: Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel-Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary

Reading Summary

This reading summary is for Scott Lauria Morgensen’s “Queer Settler Colonialism in Canada and Israel: Articulating Two-Spirit and Palestinian Queer Critiques”. This article discusses how the concept of queer solidarity can overtake issues and concerns about colonialism. Settler states can use issues of gender and sexuality to distract from the colonization of a people and place. The author also discusses how different issues and movements can intersect and lend support to each other.

One example of queer solidarity overtaking other important issues is when a country or culture recognize LGBT rights and issues and in order to preserve and support this stance, other cultural issues, such as the colonization of an area, are ignored.

When the author mentions that various movements can intersect and support each other, the example used is with Native American traditions and liberal LGBT ideas. The colonizer can manipulate the people into conformity by promising or delivering laws and policies that can protect the interests and rights of the LGBT community. In this sense, the colonizer is buying the silence of its people.

I thought this article was very interesting and these were the key points I wanted to focus on.

Reading Summary

Reading Summary: Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel–Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary

In Jason Ritchies article, Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel–Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary, he criticizes the theory of homonationalism and he also criticizes other theorist’s critiques of “pinkwashing”. He argues that both the theory of homonationalism and that critiques of its manifestation as “pinkwashing” have divorced the concept from it’s socio-historic context so that it has been applied to contexts that little to do with queerness in Israel-Palestine. Ritchie believes that moving away from the oversimplified notion of homonationalism into a more quotidian account of queer palestinian lives provides a better framework for analyzing violence that queer Palestian’s face.

“Pinkwashing” is one popular manifestation of homonationalism and Sarah Schulman defines it as “a deliberate strategy [on the part of the Israeli state and its supporters] to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life (3).” “Pinkwatchers” are radical queer activists who work to reveal the use of pinkwashing. Ritchie argues that for “pinkwatchers” and “pinkwashers” alike, the debate over pinkwashing has become a sort of tool for contesting who has the right to to queer spaces in places like New York City. Homonationalism began as a way to critique the incorporation of white queers into the neoliberal nation-state post 9/11 in North America and Europe. The way the language of pinkwashing has been used has divorced it from how actual structures of power operate since it does not locate a specific time and place. In an effort to separate homonationalism from pinkwashing, American academics like Jasbir Puar and Maya Mikdashi have argued that “pinkwashing” and “pinkwatching” “speak the language homonationalism”. Ritchie explains that what Puar and Mikdashi’s argument does is lump radical queer activist and homonormative activists together. Ritchie believes that what both pinkwatching activist and queer theorists like Puar and Mikdashi end up doing is presenting homonormativity in a one-dimensional and hegemonic way.

Ritchie argues that the theory of homonationalism is reductive, and he uses the metaphor as a checkpoint to argue for the building of a more nuanced understanding of violence faced by Palestinian queer. This nuanced understanding does not totalize the experiences of Palestinian queers, instead it requires that the experiences of queer Palestinians be situated in a specific time and place, that the subject positions that queer Palestinians inhabit by analyzed, and that the social and political atmosphere that produces the condition under which they live be understood. Ritchie champions a move away from catch-all, theoretical buzzwords to understanding the specific contexts in which homosexualities are produced.

Discussion questions:

How can accounts of the everyday life of Palestinian queers help us understand queerness in Israel-Palestine?

In what ways do words like “homonationalism” and “pinkwashing” obscure the realities of queers in Israel-Palestine?

Reading Summary: Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel–Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary