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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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8 Transition Narratives on Polish Trans Blogs: A Discursive Colonization Approach (Joanna Chojnicka)


Joanna Chojnicka

8 Transition Narratives on Polish Trans Blogs: A Discursive Colonization Approach


This chapter examines transition narratives on Polish trans blogs, offering a critical perspective on the colonizing character of Western – especially U.S.-American – medical discourses. The argument here has been inspired by, and partially supports, Rodrigo Borba’s analysis of discursive colonization of the transition in Brazilian gender clinics. Borba (2017) considers the global circulation of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the way it guides doctors’ clinical gaze – the act of selective perception that focuses only on biomedical components of a person’s narrative and/or imposes certain interpretations on it (Foucault 1973) – in Brazilian gender identity clinics. This chapter extends Borba’s research by examining the influence of the U.S.-American DSM in Poland, a country in Central and Eastern Europe (further CEE) rarely considered in mainstream postcolonial and trans studies. It suggests that Polish transition discourses could be – at least partially – the result of a similar discursive colonization process.

After briefly introducing the medical, legal, and social conditions of transition in Poland and describing the theoretical-methodological framework of the study, I offer my reading of transition narratives on Polish trans blogs through the conceptual lens of discursive colonization. In doing so, I try to show how the bloggers whose stories I look at, just as the clients of gender identity clinics in Borba’s study, are ‘thrown into a socialization trajectory’ that imposes on them certain rehearsed life...

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