NextGenderation Homonationalism Working Group
June 30, 2010
The NextGenderation Homonationalism Working Group joyfully supports the subversion of the Civil Courage Award ceremony at the Christopher Street Day 2010 in Berlin. We applaud the way in which Judith Butler refused to accept the award in her own name, took a stance against racism and homonationalism within the LGBT movement, and offered the award to GLADT (www.gladt.de), LesMigraS (www.lesmigras.de), SUSPECT (http://nohomonationalism.blogspot.com), and ReachOut (www.reachoutberlin.de). We wholeheartedly recognize the powerful critical intersectional politics and organizing of queers racialized as non-white, who have incessantly and insistingly put critiques of racism and homonationalism – a term coined by Jasbir Puar – on the gay agenda, at the expense of marginalization and accusations. It is the consorted work of local and transnational organizing, including at least three decades of women-of-color feminism and migrant feminism that made this subversion of the Civil Courage Award possible. We would also like to acknowledge the work of Berlin Academic Boycott, as they side with Butler’s criticism of the Israeli regime and its attempts to use the LGBTI community to whitewash Israeli occupation and oppression, as well as with her support for the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) campaign. We stand in solidarity with GLADT, LesMigraS, SUSPECT, ReachOut and Berlin Academic Boycott in the struggle against racism, homonationalism and occupation.
In the aftermath of the subversion of the award ceremony, we were delighted to witness an outburst of transnational anti-racist and anti-colonial queer solidarity. We see this moment of solidarity as an opportunity to learn more about the insidious similarities and differences of homonationalist politics in different historical places. As a group that critically investigates, and strategizes against, homonationalist tendencies rising across many different national contexts, we know that the LGBT movement in Germany is far from the only one that is implicated in a rise in racism and nationalism. We have seen in many different countries how the signs of “gay rights” and “gay acceptance” have become yet more ammunition in an arsenal of weapons used to draw the symbolic and material borders of who belongs to ‘the nation’, ‘the civilized’, ‘the west,’ a ‘Europe’ – and who does not, i.e. specifically those racialized as migrants and Muslims. This occurs through a partial incorporation of sexual minorities and rights into the national imaginary, which goes hand in hand with the exclusion of a whole range of queer lives which are racialized as ‘other’. Many times it also goes hand in hand with the violent promotion by the state of heteropatriarchal norms in poor communities, communities of color and immigrant communities—for example through marriage incentives for welfare recipients, the prison industrial complex or immigration law.
Single-issue politics can only ignore these contradictions or see them as a limiting factor, and so many white and mainstream LGBT movements are lured into national incorporation and effectively become agents of racism and homonationalism, and at times apologists for heteropatriarchy. We know thanks to the work of women-of-color feminists like Kimberlé Crenshaw that the turn to the contradictions between seemingly different struggles enables movements to grow stronger. We too seek to strengthen those queer and anti-racist politics that are capable of connecting the struggles against the racisms, nationalisms and wars of our times with the struggles against heteropatriarchy, homophobia and transphobia, and we certainly refuse the instrumentalization of gay rights for racist, nationalist, Islamophobic, and civilizational agendas.