Producing Homonormativity in Neoliberal South Africa: Recognition, Redistribution, and the Equality Project

Citation:

Oswin, Natalie. 2007. “Producing Homonormativity in Neoliberal South Africa: Recognition, Redistribution, and the Equality Project.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32 (3): 649–69. 

Author: Natalie Oswin

Keywords: homosexuality, homonormativity, neoliberalism, South Africa, LGBTQ+

Annotation:

"When the NCGLE came into being, it opted to pursue a politics of strategic essentialism that ignored the ways in which class, race, and gender issues are inevitably intertwined with sexuality. Thus, it deepened community schisms along these lines and made its self- imposed task of building a strong, cohesive gay and lesbian movement in the postapartheid era that much more difficult. I suggest that its subsequent flawed attempts to bridge a politics of recognition with a meaningful politics of redistribution should not be read as a failure to address the needs of 'poor, black gays and lesbians'. Rather, it should be read as the only possible outcome. The NCGLE/EP did not manage to shake off the yoke of the binary that divides South Africa’s gay and lesbian community into haves and have-nots because it played a role in producing this binary. By serving as a euphemism for community in South African gay and lesbian political discourse, this figure offered a way for the NCGLE/EP to make itself relevant to its intended audience while molding that audience into a cohesive group. The 'poor, black gay and lesbian' is a caricature that played a starring role in the NCGLE/EP’s performance of recognition and redistribution. This figure is the product of the overlay of divisions within the gay and lesbian community onto the strategy of the organization that exacerbated them” (Oswin 2007, 666).

Topics: Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Political Participation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2007

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