Gay Rights and Imperialism

17:15 Sun 25 Oct 2009
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The essay “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror’” examines the now-conventional idea that Western respect for the rights of women and gays drives concern for oppressed groups within other (especially Islamic) cultures, which in turn serves as a justification for imperialist projects.

It’s a good analysis, and paints a fairly sad picture of how effectively the status quo assimilates reformers who aim at specific groups. Essentially, the Western elites have been willing to pull back a little on sexism and homophobia, while retaining anti-“Other” prejudice regarding race and culture, because those remain useful for selling fear and war. Furthermore, the grudgingly-ceded advances in gay rights and women’s rights are then used as evidence for the West’s superiority to non-Western cultures that have not yet made those concessions.

The essay was apparently suppressed due to its criticisms of Peter Tatchell, who is criticized strongly in it with regard to the above points.

One Response to “Gay Rights and Imperialism”

  1. barry Says:

    Tadhg, these arguments don’t offer much to real gay people living under oppressive Islamic regimes, of whom there are many, from all social classes. If anything, it looks more to me as though the Western “elites”, especially in the UK, are willing to abandon gay rights for the sake of multiculturalism. (Ken Livingstone is an example of this). Either gay people are equal or not. It’s not racist to point out, as Peter Tatchell does, that Muslim clerics in England, embraced by the New Labour elite establishment, call for the destruction of gay people.

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