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Queering Paradigms IV

South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms

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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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Homonormativity and the Violence of the Geographic Solution

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← 236 | 237 → ELIZABETH CANFIELD

My main goal in this chapter is to explore how hegemonic myths of metronormativity are internalized and how they play out in both the dominant culture and LGBTQ subcultures in the United States. These myths, by constructing the rural as backward, violent, and oppressive, thus also construct urban areas as sophisticated, safe, and liberating. These myths contribute to what Lisa Duggan (2003: 50) calls homonormativity, which creates LGBTQ subjects as urban, white, male, middle class consumers. Anyone outside this norm is erased from mainstream LGBTQ media images and politics in the US. This myth-making and norm-reinforcing is not only dangerous (and I will argue, violent) to queer/trans* folks living in rural areas (or all the complex situations “in-between”, as the label “rural” is complicated), but also non-hegemonic queer/trans* folks who inhabit our “gay Meccas”. A more nuanced and intersectional view of how geographic location impacts queer identity formation (in all its complexity), notions of “community”, and politics is necessary if we are to truly form a liberationist politic and shift the paradigm of political organizing within our movement(s) here in the United States.

In order to be represented, or recognized as citizen-subjects, one must assimilate into the dominant order. This is why the politics of representation are based on an assimilationist ethos, and therefore erase non-normative queer people. The rubric of gay marriage or the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the United States do little or nothing for those...

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