Fleeing Homophobia Conference
VU University Amsterdam, 5 and 6 September 2011
Who is paying the Price?Queer Refugees and the Legal Recognition of Same-SexPartnerships
Let me start in 2001. This is when the Life Partnership Act was passed in Germany, legalizingregistered partnerships for same-sex couples, and thus turning so-called ‘gay marriage’ into legalreality. Equal rights activists celebrated. Fatima El Tayeb used this step as an opportunity for raisingthe issue of the category of
within this discourse around the legal recognition of sexualoutlaws, respectively certain same-sex lifestyles. Under the title “Limited Horizons“she did notmince her words:“[The analysis of German society itself] is still dominated by the conviction that ‘race’ isa concept which – with the exception of the years between 1933 and 1945 – isirrelevant in the German context and can thus be safely disregarded. [...] A practicewhich in the case of queer identity with increasing exclusiveness is directed at theassimilation of white lesbians and gays to a European system whose practices of exclusion, in turn, are more and more clearly based on racist criteria.” (El Tayeb 2003:130) And further: “The question, to what extent lesbians and gays, who are part of theGerman majority population, benefit from the increasing racial exclusion – as they havethe right passports, skin colour and religion – is barely asked.” (El Tayeb 2003: 132)Notably Fatima El Tayeb's critique was published before Jasbir Puar broke an important ground bycoining the term
thereby adressing the national inclusion of 'proper' lesbian orgay subjects contingent upon the segregation and marginalisation of racial 'others'. (Puar, 2007)Meanwhile both in academia and in activist circles the critique of normative queerness and thediscursive framing of Western LGBTQ people as persons, who are in need for protection from'homophobic migrants', has gained currency (cf Haritaworn, 2010). As a matter of fact this critiquedoes not spare LGBTQ contexts and their tendency to frame
as the normal condition. A
PhD Fellow, IK Gender Violence and Agency in the Era of Globalization, Faculty of Social Sciences,University of Vienna.