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Queering Paradigms IV

South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms

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Edited By Elizabeth Sara Lewis, Rodrigo Borba, Branca Falabella Fabrício and Diana de Souza Pinto

South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms is composed of research presented at the fourth international Queering Paradigms Conference (QP4), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In line with the QP project ethos of bringing together diverse epistemological and geographical allegiances, this volume intends to contribute to building a queer postcolonial critique of the current politics of queer activism and of queer knowledge production and circulation. However, rather than perpetuating the North-South dichotomy, the papers gathered here are an effort to establish global dialogues that crisscross those axes, as well as attempts at queering epistemologies, socio-political bonds, and bodies, embodiments and identities. They endeavour to trouble unequal geographies of knowledge – namely the North as an exporter of theories and the South as their importer; the North as a producer of knowledge and the South as its object of study – hosting enormous potential for reinvention.

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“Say ‘Yes’ to Communities of Resistance”: Queer Canadians Problematize Psychology’s Explanations of Gay Male Body Dissatisfaction

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← 138 | 139 → ALEXANDER T. VASILOVSKY

This chapter is drawn from a larger project1 that explored body-reflexive practices among gay and queer-identified Torontonians (Vasilovsky and Gurevich under review), the impetus for which arose from my interest in psychological research on body image among gay men. However, as I approached the literature, I encountered a narrative that gave me pause, one that I came to find troubling. I was driven to adopt a Critical Psychology paradigm (e.g. Fox, Prilleltensky and Austin 2009), informed by Queer Theory and feminist post-structuralism, and to conduct an exploratory qualitative study that was a reaction to – and, perhaps, against – a disquieting, hegemonic approach to psychology’s construction of gay identities, communities, and bodies.

In summer 2012, I completed a series of one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with an ethnically diverse sample of gay and queer-identified men and genderqueers from the Millennial Generation, or Generation Y, to better understand how they think and talk about gender, sexuality and embodiment. For the larger project, I interviewed 19 participants, between the ages of 18 and 32 years (M = 26.4, SD = 3.8). All participants were “assigned male at birth”, and most participants’ (94.7%) self-identified gender was male, while one participant (Skylar) self-identified as genderqueer. In terms of sexual identity, one participant self-identified as bisexual, one as “somewhere between bi and gay”, four as gay and queer, four as queer, and almost half (47.4%) as gay.

For this chapter, however, I have chosen to focus on the voices of...

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