Monday, May 4, 2015

Activist and queer theory perspectives on "pinkwashing" and "pinkwatching"

If anyone is curious to learn more about pinkwashing in light of our discussion today, here are some resources. 

1. This NYT op-ed from 2011 offers a good overview of how the strategy is deployed in Israel, Western Europe, and the U.S.: 

"What makes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies so susceptible to pinkwashing — and its corollary, the tendency among some white gay people to privilege their racial and religious the emotional legacy of homophobia.... Increasing gay rights have caused some people of good will to mistakenly judge how advanced a country is by how it responds to homosexuality."

2. Pinkwatching Israel is an organization committed to "creating a global movement to promote queer-powered calls against pinkwashing and pushing the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment Campaign against Israel to the forefront of the global queer movement."

Here's their website:

3. Queer theorist, Jasbir Puar, has written a lot on pinkwashing as it relates to what she calls "homonationalism," the idea "that the right to, or quality of sovereignty is now evaluated by how a nation treats its homosexuals." In this critique of pinkwatching, the activist response to pinkwashing, in the United States, she argues that "both pinkwashing and pinkwatching speak the language of homonationalism. One does so in the name of Israel, the other does so in the name of Palestine. In addition, both are strategies directed and redirected through the same power centers and towards the same intended audience: Euro-American gays. We would like to end by drawing attention to the fact that Israel/Palestine are not the only arenas where pinkwashing occurs. A deeper critique of pinkwashing and of homonationalism more broadly must take into account the ways that it is used in settler colonies such as the United States and Israel in addition to the ways that homonationalism is intimately connected to practices of power and empire on the international stage."

4. Finally, here's an article by Maya Mikdashi that critiques Hillary Clinton's "gay rights as human rights" speech that we read for class in the context of pinkwashing.

"In her speech Secretary Clinton was, perhaps unknowingly, reproducing this generative alienation between political and human rights. She emphasized that LGBTQs everywhere had the same rights to love and have sex with whomever they choose as partners, and to do so safely. In making this statement, she reiterated a central tenet of what Jasbir Puar names homonationalism: the idea that LGBTQs the world over experience, practice, and are motivated by the same desires.... Secretary Clinton suggested that queers everywhere, whether white or black, male or female or transgendered, soldier or civilian, rich or poor, Palestinian or Israeli, can be comprehended and interpellated through the same rights framework. But the content of what she she calls “gay rights” is informed by the experiences and histories of (namely white gay male) queers in the United States, and thus there is an emphasis on visibility and identity politics and an elision of the class and political struggles that animate the lives of the majority of the third world's heterosexual and homosexual populations. Thus detached from its locality, “gay rights” can travel internationally not only as a vehicle for normative homo-nationalism, but as a vehicle for neoliberal ways of producing politics and subjects more broadly."

1 comment:

  1. This is a really great overview of the subject!! Here's an article that discusses the Danish political scene I mentioned in class yesterday:
    It's also makes you feel slightly better about America to know that other supposedly "liberal" countries have some of the same horrible problems with racism and xenophobia that we do, in a strange sad way.