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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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9 Could You Show Me Chechnya on the Map? The Struggle for Solidarity within the Support Campaign for Homosexual Refugees from the North Caucasus in France (Elena Smirnova)


Elena Smirnova

9 Could You Show Me Chechnya on the Map? The Struggle for Solidarity within the Support Campaign for Homosexual Refugees from the North Caucasus in France1

In April 2017, when information about the persecutions of gay people in Chechnya, a Republic of the Russian Federation, reached French media and civil society, a large number of petitions were signed to denounce these acts, unanimously qualified as homophobic. The French authorities and diplomats did not react to the petitions immediately and during the first month, the local LGBTIQ+ community seemed confused about concrete acts they may engage in support of people murdered and tortured in Grozny and the surrounding areas. For individuals who signed the petitions, the main question was ‘What can we do?’ One of the spontaneous reactions of several French citizens was to create an association called ‘Urgence Tchétchénie’ [Emergency Chechnya], in order to spread information and, as its founder underlined in one of his first interviews, to prove to people that the facts described in papers about homophobic violence in Chechnya were not ‘fake news’ (Daire 2017). Several weeks after its creation, the inclusion of activists from post-Soviet Russia allowed the group to reach out to the ‘Russian LGBT Network,’ the Russian-based non-governmental organization that facilitated most of the departures of persecuted people from the Chechen Republic during this crisis and transformed ‘Urgence Tchétchénie’ into a support organization. Through a complex diplomatic process, bringing together←231 | 232...

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