Archive - 2012 - 28/04/2012

Halperin: The non-identitarian identity became “queer”

Regional Network Against Homophobia meeting that was initiated by Kaos GL in May 2011 and February 2012 is now being organized in the Balkans. The host of the meeting is the organization Queer Zagreb and the dates are April 25-29, 2012. The participating countries of the 3rd meeting are Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, France, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Montenegro, Palestine, Serbia, the Nedherlands, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.

The Festival was opened with Zvonimir Dobrovic’s entry to why the festival has ended in its 10th year: “It is not a radical challange anymore, as it felt like that when we started. The opening was exciting, and we feel that this end is also a start for other exiciting events. Thinking about what a start could be is a lot more exciting for our team.”

David Halperin took the floor and spoke under the title of “Ends and beginnings of LGBT activism in different contexts”. Halperin started with commenting on the ends and starts in the LGBT movement and the place of term “queer” in the history: “The word “queer” had a radical usage for about a couple of years in the 90s, I think it came to an end, “had its run”. The end of queer activisim has been going on since the beginning. “The end of the homosexual” meant sexual liberation, the identities disappeared, including homosexuality. For a lot of people, “queer” meant putting an end to using the words lesbian and gay. The non-identitarian identity became “queer”. Festivals start feeling like “family holidays”, like you do not know anything but the fact that you have done it last year. It is remarkable that you made the choice to end it, and let others do other things.”

When asked on the gay movement he started in and the current policies of the US, he went on: “I find the local gay movement and the politics boring, we are now almost not visible anymore. When I travel, I see it is possible to have a local gay movement. First I had to go to smaller cities in the US, and then I traveled to Europe. By 90s, Brazil and Israel, then Istanbul and Ankara came. Maybe who knows soon we will be in Baku and Moscow. US and England, to some extend, have succeded in some dreams. National governments passed gay marriages, and it was hard to think of achieve. The women’s movement in the US is about to loose some rights, such as the right to have an abortion. Funding for contraceptions and sexual reproduction rights are loosing their territories.”

Halperin then continued by tying his speech with discussions around gay marriages and normalization of “gay life” and culture: “Certain heterosexual norms are being embraced by gay people, norms that not even straight people are using any longer. Like posting gay marriage ads on newspapers, and social pages.  Is the goal of gay movement to have a normal middle class gay life with obligatory rituals and cliches? I am not saying all gay people should transgress norms, I am not condemning them, I am only concerned about certain gay politics that take the form of doing what everybody else does, and that means we have nothing to contribute to the rest of the world. The rest of the world would be very poor without us, we have to think of what we contribute with.”