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Islamophobia is so Gay

July 5, 2011

I read this article in fab a couple months ago that set off some alarms for me. This article was about the work of, some kind of a Gay performance art project. Apparently they have a show called “Pas peur (No Fear)” that has, as a colorful backdrop, a torture scene reminiscent of Abu Ghraib. Front and center, however, we have a funerial drag performance.

Now, I was seeing this other person for a while, a performance artist, who also seemed pretty keen on taking the racist violence in Abu Ghraib and turning into a statement on homophobia. Why people think this has anything to do with queers or sexuality at all is completely beyond me, maybe too much theory? Torture is torture and violence is violence. White supremacy and imperialism are just that and homophobia something else entirely.

I don’t think there’s anyway to come to grips with that kind of hate. It might be useful for some people to think of the random violence or systemic exclusion they have faced in their own lives, as a way to make links and connections with other people’s suffering. It’s important to be able to say that imperial violence on the other side of the world is another manifestation of the colonial control and subjugation we experience here in the belly of the beast. To say that prisoners of war in Abu Ghraib have experienced homophobic violence and are therefore kin; that, by extension, we can relate to their experiences–that completely trivializes both their suffering and our own.

Our respective experiences are much more valuable with their own individual nuances. Rather that trying to equate our oppression, we can use the spaces we have been able to create here (, Buddies in Bad Times, fab, this blog…for instance) to let other marginalized voices speak. Not to take their voice away and claim it as our own, but listening to people whose families and lives are immediately impacted by war and occupation.

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