Feminist theory icon, Judith Butler caused a scene a Berlin Pride in Germany last week by refusing to accept their “Courage” award and calling the organizers out for being associated with Homonationalist movements/sympathizers. You can watch the speech here (she’s speaking in German, so you’ve got to read the subtitles). When a friend posted this link on facebook I had to read it for two reasons, the same reasons I share it with you…
1. I very rarely hear of Judith Butler (author of “Gender Trouble” and other fantastic, difficult to read tomes on gender, sexuality, etc…she also writes science fiction) doing something so clearly activist. Generally when I’ve hear of her outside the confines of Berkley, she’s giving talks or hosting academic panels.
2. Homonationalism? This was the first time I’ve ever encountered this word and theory. From watching the video and doing a little bit of internet research I have this very basic understanding of homonationalism. Butler, and SUSPECT (the organization that sponsors the blog) make clear that homonationalism is basically what it sounds like…GLTBQ organizations and individuals who perpetuate any ideas of white superiority specifically within the gay community. Nationalism with rainbows…it seems that Butler is emphasizing the way that LGBTQ persons and communities of color are purposefully excluded and marginalized.
While the idea of white gay communities perpetuating racism and exclusion isn’t a new one (this has long been a critique of LGBTQ and feminist movements), I have not heard this label applied. Simplified, the primary point that Butler comes back to is this; queer fights against oppression cannot be separated from the battles against racism, anti-immigrant sentiments, or other forms of oppression. I’m always excited when I encounter new ways of exploring the places our lives intersect. I am looking forward to reading this, and learning more…and more than anything, I’d love to hear your thoughts