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Queering Paradigms VIII

Queer-Feminist Solidarity and the East/West Divide

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Edited By Katharina Wiedlack, Saltanat Shoshanova and Masha Godovannaya

Queering Paradigms VIII brings together critical discourses on queer-feminist solidarity between Western, post-Soviet and post-socialist contexts. It highlights transnational solidarity efforts against homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. It engages grass-roots activists and community organizers in a conversation with scholars, and shows that the lines between these categories are blurry and that queer theorists and analysts are to be found in all spheres of queer-feminist culture. It highlights that queer paradigms and theories are born in street protests, in community spaces, in private spheres, through art and culture as well as in academia, and that the different contexts speak to each other.

This anthology presents some of the radical approaches that emerge at the intersection of activism, community organizing, art and academia, through transnational exchange, migration and collaborations. It is a celebration of alliances and solidarities between activism, community building, art, culture and academic knowledge production. Yet, the collected work also brings forward the necessary critique of Western hegemonies involved in contemporary queer-feminist solidarity activism and theory between the ‘East’ and ‘West.’ It is an important thinking about, thinking through and thinking in solidarity and the East/West divide, setting new impulses to fight oppression in all its forms.

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1 Fucking Solidarity: ‘Working Together’ Through (Un)pleasant Feelings (Katharina Wiedlack)

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Katharina Wiedlack

1 Fucking Solidarity: ‘Working Together’ Through (Un)pleasant Feelings

Introduction

In this chapter,1 I will work through some of my very personal experiences of solidarity to come closer to a working concept of solidarity that could be meaningful or helpful to the already existing queer solidarity communities across Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada, post-Soviet spaces, and the global South. I use the method of queer autoethnography (Holman Jones & Adams 2010) to reflect on some of my experiences with solidarity actions, especially during three events that I organized collaboratively with and for queer feminist activists and scholars from the post-Soviet region,2 postsocialist spaces, and other places between 2013 and 2017: the D.I.Y. festival kvir_feminist_actziya in 2013 and 2014, as well as the queer theory←21 | 22→ and activism conference Fucking Solidarity: Queering Concepts on/from a Post-Soviet Perspective in 2017.3

My search for a working concept of solidarity is urged by my own transnational activism, friendships, and romantic relationships as well as a reaction to the broader and international solidarity discourses that emerged in the wake of the so-called ‘anti-gay propaganda law’ in Russia in 2013. Since then, many public figures and Western NGOs have publicly declared their solidarity with post-Soviet LGBTIQ+,4 including the Vienna-based Aids Hilfe and the campaign To Russia with Love Austria (Neufeld & Wiedlack 2018: 166). While I am skeptical about the effects of these and other public and symbolic acts...

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