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Queering Paradigms VIII

Queer-Feminist Solidarity and the East/West Divide


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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4 ‘We’ll Be Fine, and You Just Hang in There’: A Queer Critique of the Imperial Gaze in Gaycation Episode ‘Ukraine’ (Nadiya Chushak / Yulia Serdyukova / Irina Tantsiura)


nadiya chushak, Yulia Serdyukova and Irina Tantsiura

4 ‘We’ll Be Fine, and You Just Hang in There’: A Queer Critique of the Imperial Gaze in Gaycation Episode ‘Ukraine’

When I heard they were launching a series named Gaycation, I thought it would be a political satire.

That it would be about global neoliberal sex tourism …


In 2016, two years after the Euromaidan and the beginning of the war, Ukraine, a country with many contradictions in both the social and political arenas, became a popular destination for Western media and documentary filmmakers. In March 2016, Gaycation, a show from the North American digital media and broadcasting company Vice Media, chose Ukraine as a part of their mission ‘to explore LGBTQ cultures around the world.’1 What drew them here, and what kind of representation of local LGBT+ lives did they produce? Despite its pretense of being a travel show with a noble cause, Gaycation episode‘Ukraine’ presents a distorted version of the life of the LGBT+ community. In this chapter, we contest the show’s claim to solidarity with the Ukrainian LGBT+ population and analyze it as a manifestation of the neoliberal ‘queer’ imperial gaze. We would like to show how the Gaycation episode ‘Ukraine’ reproduces a broader set of practices that reinforce inequality under the mask of global queer solidarity.←97 | 98→

This chapter was developed from our presentation at the conference Fucking Solidarity: Queering Concepts on/from a Post-Soviet...

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