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Tag Archives: Queer

Gay Liberation Movement and the Left: comrades and opponents was the title of the lecture that opened the morning session of day two at QGT/GQT seminar in Belgrade. The lecturer, Dušan Marković from Belgrade University, gave us a theoretical insight in history of homosexuality, tracing it’s root in the French Revolution and abolition of anti-sodomy laws, when homosexuality was founded as an embodied practice and a social construct. Theoretical framework on which Marković based his research mostly follows the thought of Foucault’s History of Sexuality. Tracing homosexuality from the French Revolution to contemporary times we can see two different historical approaches to it, one trying to explain it as a different category among humans, “the third sex”, different from female and male, and the other explaining homosexuality as a variation of human sexuality. In the lecture the author gave us the point of view on homosexuality of authors such as de Sade, Marx, Engels, Wilde, Freud and political philosophies such as of French Revolution, Socialism, October Revolution, Nazism and Communism.

Theoretical framework of the lecture was mostly based on Foucault History of Sexuality.

In the conclusion author compared Stonewall movement form 1969 and contemporary pride manifestation stating their different political standpoints. From the point of view of the Left the author criticise the pride organisation for the lack of critical position towards capitalism, for the politics of identity/particularity, commercialisation and restoration of conservative values of marriage and family.

In the short discussion rise the issue of lack of lesbian perspective of the whole presentation as it was exclusively based on men sexuality.

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What does Queer mean to you?

The participants of Zagreb seminar are answering…

Sometimes the most interesting parts of seminars are the heated discussions that rise up, even when they move away from the topic at hand. During the first day of the seminar, there were already several discussions that leave more questions than they give answers. But the questions themselves are maybe more important than answers because they point out the issues that we tend to assume and not think about it.

 

Language. The issue of language was coming up all the time. First, as there are genderqueer people at the seminar, the issue presents itself in the ways of thinking and talking about them and to them. Every one of us has at least two languages which have different ways of relating to gender and sexuality, and it adds to the confusion.

But the most important thing is the language used in politics and activism, and in the law, as it defines people and practices which are or are not protected from discrimination, which are or are not allowed, and so on. For now, language is very much about putting people into boxes: men and women, straight and gay and bi and trans, and as more and more boxes appear, it all becomes very confusing. In the ideal world, we would not need such boxes, everybody would be just themselves, without definitions which divide people. There was a discussion of whether we need those boxes as a temporary measure to achieve equality for all, or we should stop using them right now and work on the equality for everyone regardless of what boxes they can be put into.

Even in the LGBTQI community itself there is a lot of debates about who is and isn’t included, whose rights should we fight for and in what order. Sometimes it all comes down to definitions and labels. At the same time, the political process needs labels to work with certain groups, but labels are at the same time defining the ways the process goes.

 

Understanding of sex. The question of how we define sexual activity, and what activities we define as acceptable or not acceptable, was appearing in the discussion all the time. It is actually quite an interesting topic for queer community because in the society, sex I mostly defined by heteronormative culture and procreation, so the only definite kind of sex is penetrative vaginal sex between a man and a women, and all other kinds are either ‘not quite sex’ or ‘perverted’. It is also very much steeped in the patriarchal culture and thus, has a lot of connotation of power and violence, and hierarchy. While queer people have to invent their own sexual practices and definitions, they are often linked to the heteronormative understanding of sex in some ways.

The understanding of sex comes into question in relation to many issues raised during discussions. For example, is commercial sex (as in prostitution and pornography) a right or a wrong kind of sex? Can sexual activity be sold as a service without it being degrading and without supporting the patriarchy?

There was also an interesting issue of sexual relations with minors. How do we define the age of sexual consent? How do we decide that a young person is or is not able to make decisions about their sexual choices and activities? How does it correlate with the appearance and understanding of sexual and/or romantic desires? Those questions need answers, and the whole issue is in dire need of definitions and understanding.

 

Queer and political. We started by talking about the cooperation between green and LGBTQ organizations, where there are sometimes problems with mutual support being not quite mutual, and so on. The thing is, being queer isn’t by itself a political statement (at least for the majority of queer people), it’s an identity that should be private but is made public by being opposed, limited and discriminated against. So while queer rights are a political issue, and their protection can be part or political program of any party or organization, we can’t include support of any political party or movement as part of LGBTQ political program or statement. Some of LGBTQ organizations can choose to support some of the political parties or movements, but the queer rights movement in itself can’t be supporting any political programs because it consists of people with very diverse views and political alignments. 

 

Olga

The Federation of Young European Greens unites motivated youngsters from all over Europe. We share beliefs and values… Green values, we thus recognize the equality among people as a basic principle of humanity.

Green ideology is being widely spread in the world nowadays, although issues such as discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains a big problem. Especially, in the regions such as Balkans, which goes through a dramatic transformation.

The FYEG  identifies itself as a Queer and Feminist network and this is why we try to promote idea of equality among young, open-minded people. Therefore, our gender working group came up with an idea to organize series of seminars in Balkan region, on LGBTQ issues. This aims to engage hundreds of young people from the continent into the battle against homophobia/transphobia and other gender-related issues.

First up in a row is a seminar in Zagreb, Croatia. The title of the seminar is  “Queering Green Theory/Greening Queer Theory” and it is being organised by Green European Foundation with the support of FYEG in cooperation with Heinrich Boll Foundation Croatia and with the financial support of the European Parliament. During this first seminar we want to discuss the academic and activist dimension of Queer Theory. We want to assess questions such as: What does it mean to “be gay or Lesbian”? How is it connected with broader concepts such as sexuality, identity, bodiness etc.? How can we as Greens address LGTBQ as a Human Rights issue?

The seminar is set for April 11th.