Posts Tagged ‘homosexuality’

An Archeology of Failure: Early LGBT Activism in the U.S.

Montag, April 15th, 2013

Interessanterweise starten Hagiographien der US-amerikanischen Lesben- und Schwulenbewegung immer mit der 1951 von dem CPUSA-Mitglied Harry Hay gegründeten, aber dann aus Angst vor der Staatsmacht sehr schnell sehr konservativ gewordenen Mattachine Society als dem angeblich ersten politischen Zusammenschluss für die »Rechte von Homosexuellen« in Nordamerika. Von daher ist es ganz interessant, in einem Artikel, der 1980 in Urgent Tasks, einer Zeitschrift der revolutionären Linken in den USA, erschienen ist, folgende historische Episode zu entdecken, die in den zurechtgebügelten Geschichtsnarrativen der amerikanischen LGBT-Bewegung schon aus Grundsatz unterschlagen wird. Nach dem Motto: Was sich dem Kriterium des Erfolgs nicht fügt, das hat in unserem Epos nichts zu suchen. Geschichte dient hier vor allem der Legitimation ihres Resultats: »uns« und der Art, wie wir Politik betreiben. Erfahrungen des Scheiterns stören da nur den Flow der Erzählung. (mehr …)

The Heteronormative Power of the European Gaze

Montag, Mai 3rd, 2010

Nepali Men Holding Hands

„The anger at European readings of Iranian social and sexual mores began to reconfigure structures of desire by introducing a demarcation to distinguish homosociality from homosexuality. Iranians began to find themselves ‚explaining‘ to European visitors that at least some of the practices that the latter read as homosexuality, such as men holding hands, embracing, and kissing each other in public, were not so: the Europeans were misreading homosociality for homosexuality. Disavowal of homosexuality out of homosociality — a cultural work that has continued into the present — set in motion two seemingly contradictory, yet in fact enabling, dynamics. It marked homosociality as devoid of sexuality, thus making homosexuality ‚homeless,‘ endangered because denied. At the same time, by insisting on that exclusion, it provided homosexuality a homosocial home for masquerade. […] Naming through denial and disavowal was productive through negation: ‚What you see is not how you name it and categorize it‘ produces a particular it as a distinct form of desire. Formation of homosexuality through denial and disavowal becomes its condition of possibility and reproducibility. The denial of any overlap between the now separate domains of homosociality and homosexuality paradoxically provides a shelter, a masqueraded home, for homosexuality. We can continue to hold each other’s hand in public because we have declared it to be a sign of homosociality that is void of sexuality.“

Arab Men Rubbing Noses

Denial and disavowal was only one response to coming under the European gaze. Dissimulation and ‚cross-representation‘ was another: the disappearance of the male beloved from visual representation, like his disappearance from love poetry in the same period, may have been an alternative resolution to the moral and cultural challenges posed by European judgments. As ‚another gaze‘ entered the scene of desire, as if an intruder had entered one’s private chamber, the scene of homoerotic desire had to be disguised.“

Afsaneh Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 38.