Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror'


Haritaworn, Jin, Tamsila Tauqir, and Esra Erdem. 2008. “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror.’” In Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/raciality, edited by Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake, 71–95. York: Raw Nerve Books.

Authors: Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir, Esra Erdem


Our article focuses on the situation in Britain, where ‘Muslim’ and ‘homo-phobic’ are increasingly treated as interchangeable signifiers. The central figure in this process is Peter Tatchell who has successfully claimed the role of the liberator of and expert about Muslim gays and lesbians. This highlights the problems of a single-issue politics of representation, which equates ‘gay’ with white and ‘ethnic minority’ with heterosexual. At the same time, the fact that Tatchell’s group Outrage passes as the emblem of queer and hence post-identity politics in Britain shows that the problem of Islamophobia is not reducible to the critique of identity. The active participation of right- as well as left-wing, feminist as well as gay, official as well as civil powers in the Islamophobia industry proves racism more clearly than ever to be a white problem, which crosses other social and political differences.

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, LGBTQ, Religion, Sexuality, Terrorism Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2008

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