Re-orienting Desire: the Gay International and the Arab World

TitleRe-orienting Desire: the Gay International and the Arab World
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMassad, Joseph Andoni, and Laleh Khalili
Book TitlePolitics of the Modern Arab World : Critical Issues in Modern Politics
Number of Volumes4
Pagination343 - 365

This article looks at the works of rights groups for gays and lesbians and how the discourses they promote, produced and centered on an idealized Western World, affect the discourse on homosexuality in the Arab World. "In contradistinction to the liberatory claims made by the Gay International in relation to what it posits as an always already homosexualized population, I argue that it is the discourse of the Gay International that both produces homosexuals, as well as gays and lesbians, where they do not exist, and represses same-sex desires and practices that refuse to be assimilated into its sexual epistemology. I show how this discourse assumes prediscursively that homosexuals, gays, and lesbians are universal categories that exist everywhere in the world, and based on this prediscursive axiom, the Gay International sets itself the mission of defending them by demanding that their rights as "homosexuals" be granted where they are denied and be respected where they are violated. In doing so, however, the Gay International produces an effect that is less than liberatory." [Excerpt from text]

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