Library Dissertation Showcase

The failings of liberal queer politics: decolonizing queer solidarity

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

The extant liberal system inadequately represents queer people. Theory and praxis around queer issues systematically undermine queer agency and erase the interests of intersections of those not already empowered by the system. This model of identity activism and policy-making will not translate onto the rest of the world without initiating further problems. Praxis informed by theory and knowledge that is fundamentally flawed will always reproduce those problems in the praxis, no matter the intention. For this reason, this study will critique the methodological and epistemological conditions of Western knowledge concerning queer people and queer politics. This critique will problematize Western knowledge production and its inherent exclusionary quality because of its ontological and epistemological conditions. These boundaries of knowledge deliberately frame non-western peoples as ‘unhuman’ and ‘unreal’ in order to delegitimize their voices, agency and resistance. These epistemological boundaries frame the correct paths for resistance and agency, as well as producing the conditions for white actors to act upon the non-white world. The liberal system, upon which the United States constitutional system is founded, adapts and co-opts movements and normativities in order to strengthen the system as a whole. The gay rights movement adapted to these conditions by resisting incompatible requests, followed by the decision of the Supreme Court to allow the expansion of marriage which strengthens the institution and thus can strengthen its normative exclusion of non-conforming relationships. This model, when applied abroad, seeks to transplant normative conditions, consistent with colonial practice, and can cause governments and societies to respond with harsher normative corrective practices towards queer people. These praxes are flawed, and this study not only offers a method of critiquing those existing praxes and their underlying theory but carving out a path towards creating theory that does not produce these problems of erasing, silencing or oppressing fellow queers.

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