Advertisement

They Hate Our Freedoms: Homosexuality and Islam in the Tolerant West

  • Roderick McGlynn
Chapter

Abstract

In the April 2012 elections, the National Front took almost 26% of the vote from gay Parisians—ten points more than their heterosexual counterparts—after promising to defend gay citizens from the threat of a homophobic Islam. This is part of a pattern across the West, where the language of liberalism and of tolerance is used to further decidedly anti-liberal ideas. This trend is a new retelling of a story as old as the West itself, one which uses sexuality to construct a culturally inferior ‘Orient’ and to recreate the East/West binary which has long been a fundamental trope of Western imperialism. This chapter begins with an exploration of Western narratives of progress and goes on to explore how discourses of tolerance towards homosexuality are used across the world to construct and shape the boundaries of belonging between East and West. The binary between homosexuality and Islam forms a key part of this discourse in the West in the years after 9/11, where the trope has been successfully used to shore up support for nationalist political movements with decidedly illiberal aims.

Keywords

Occidentalism Tolerance Illiberalism Orientalism 

References

  1. Adamson, Thomas. 2017. ‘Pinkwashing’ Populism: Gay Voters Embrace French Far-right. Associated Press, April 7. https://apnews.com/35ec96903d9444e9942396505d635981.
  2. Alam, Faisal. 2005. Gay Media’s Failure to Accurately Report Adds to Growing Hatred Towards Islamic World, August 1. http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/archive/2005aug/0102.htm.
  3. Altman, Dennis. 2001. Global Sex, 3. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersen, Robert, and Tina Fetner. 2008. Economic Inequality and Intolerance: Attitudes toward Homosexuality in 35 Democracies. American Journal of Political Science 52 (4): 942–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Awwad, Julian. 2010. The Postcolonial Predicament of Gay Rights in the Queen Boat Affair. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 7 (3): 318–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Babayan, Kathryn, and Afsaneh Najmabadi. 2008. Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Balfour, Arthur. 1908. Decadence, The Henry Sigwick Memorial Lecture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bawer, Bruce. 1993. A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society. New York: Poseidon Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bellafante, Ginia. 2018. Is It Safe to Be Jewish in New York? The New York Times, October 31. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/31/nyregion/jewish-bias-safety-nyc.html.
  10. Birnbaum, Jean. 2012. Le nouveau nationalisme est-il gay? Le Monde, July 28. http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2012/06/28/lenouveau-.
  11. Bruni, Frank. 2018. Donald Trump’s Gay Amnesia. The New York Times, October 24. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/opinion/donald-trumps-gay-amnesia.html.
  12. Butler, Judith. 2008. Sexual Politics, Torture and Secular Time. In Intimate Citizenships: Gender, Sexualities, Politics, ed. E. Oakley. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Chanellor, Alexander. 2002. Not Black and White. The Guardian, May 18. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2002/may/18/thefarright.uk.
  14. Chow, Rey. 2002. The Protestant Work Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York City: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cohen, Stanley. 2011. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: the Creation of the Mods and Rockers. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. d’Emilio, John. 1993. Capitalism and Gay Identity. In The Gay and Lesbian Studies Reader, ed. H. Abelove, M.A. Barale, and D.M. Halperin, 467–476. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Dalacoura, Katerina. 2014. Homosexuality as Cultural Battleground in the Middle East: Culture and Postcolonial International Theory. Third World Quarterly 35 (7): 1290–1306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dard-Dascot, Laelia. 2012. Countering Homonationalism: A Case Study with ACT UP, Paris. MA thesis, The University of Utrecht.Google Scholar
  19. Dawoud, Khaled. 2001. 50 Egyptian Gays in Court for ‘Fomenting Strife’. The Guardian, July 18.Google Scholar
  20. Dialmy, Abessamad, and Allon J. Uhlmann. 2005. Sexuality in Contemporary Arab Society. Social Analysis 2: 16–33.Google Scholar
  21. Dorries, Nadine. 2018. Twitter Post, August 7, 7:17 pm. https://twitter.com/NadineDorries/status/1026895195999223808.
  22. ———. 2012. Jettison Lords Reform; Jettison Gay Marriage; and Focus on Jobs, Crime and Household Bills. Conservative Home, May 6.Google Scholar
  23. Duggan, Lisa. 2004. The Twilight of Equality: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy. New York: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  24. El-Royhayeb, Khaled. 2005. Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500–1800, 123. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Emmot, Bill. 2017. The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  26. Fillieule, Olivier, and Jan-Willem Duyvendak. 1999. Gay and Lesbian Activism in France. Between Integration and Community-Oriented Movements. In The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a Worldwide Movement, ed. A. Barry, J.-W. Duyvendak, and A. Krouwel, 184–213. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Florida, Richard, and Gary Gates. 2001. Technology and Tolerance. The Importance of Diversity to High-Technology Growth, 1. Washington, DC: Brookings.Google Scholar
  28. Gilligan, Andrew. 2018. Heil Hipsters. The Sunday Times, May 20.Google Scholar
  29. Halperin, David M. 1989. One Hundred Years of Homosexuality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Haritaworn, Jin. 2015. Queer Lovers and Hateful Others: Regenerating Violent Times and Places. London: Pluto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 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, ed. Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake, 71–95. York: Raw Nerve Books.Google Scholar
  32. Howell, Sean. 2017. Gay Men Under 30 Are More Likely to Vote for Marine Le Pen Than Older Ones. Hornet.com, May 3.
  33. Inglehart, Ronald, and Christian Welzel. 2005. Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Inglehart, Ronald, and Wayne E. Baker. 2000. Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values. American Sociological Review 65 (1): 19–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. 2016. The Personal and the Political: Attitudes to LGBTI People Around the World. Geneva: ILGA.Google Scholar
  36. Krämer, Gudrun. 1999. Gottes Staat als Republik: Reflexionen zeitgenössischer Muslime zu Islam, Menschenrechten und Demokratie. Nomos: Baden-Baden.Google Scholar
  37. Kuntsman, Adi, and Esperanza Miyake, eds. 2008. Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality, 14. York: Raw Nerve Books.Google Scholar
  38. Locke, John. 2003. Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration. Edited with an Introduction by Ian Shapiro; with essays by John Dunn, Ruth W. Grant, and Ian Shapiro. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Manalansan, Martin F. 2005. Race, Violence, and Neoliberal Spatial Politics in the Global City. Social Text 23 (3–4): 141–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Marlow, Iain, and Randy Thanthong-Knight. 2018. Malaysia’s Mahathir Says Asia Won’t Follow West on LGBT Rights. Bloomberg, October 25.Google Scholar
  41. Mavelli, Luca. 2012. Europe’s Encounter with Islam: The Secular and the Postsecular. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. ———. 2013. Between Normalisation and Exception: The Securitisation of Islam and the Construction of the Secular Subject Millennium. Journal of International Studies 41 (2): 159–181.Google Scholar
  43. McClintock, Anne. 1995. Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. McDonnel, Thomas M. 2010. The West’s Colonization of Muslim Land and the Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism. In The United States, International Law, and the Struggle Against Terrorism. Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Mepschen, Paul, Jan Willem Duyvendak, and Evelien H. Tonkens. 2010. Sexual Politics, Orientalism and Multicultural Citizenship in the Netherlands. Sociology 44 (5): 962–979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mikdashi, Maya. 2011. Gay Rights as Human Rights: Pinkwashing Homonationalism. Jadaliyya, December 16.Google Scholar
  47. Mill, John Stuart. 2008. On Liberty and Other Essays, 68–69. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Mosbergen, Dominique. 2015. Being LGBT In Southeast Asia: Stories of Abuse, Survival and Tremendous Courage. Huffington Post, October 11. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/lgbt-in-southeast-asia_us_55e406e1e4b0c818f6185151.
  49. Najmabadi, Afsaneh. 2005a. Women with Mustaches and Men Without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  50. ———. 2005b. Mapping Transformations of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Modern Iran. Social Analysis 2: 54–77.Google Scholar
  51. Nast, Heidi J. 2002. Queer Patriarchies, Queer Racisms, International. Antipode 35 (5): 835–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart. 2002. Islam & the West: Testing the Clash of Civilizations Thesis. John F. Kennedy School of Government Research Working Paper Series (No. RWP02-015), Harvard University, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  53. Parrot, Clément. 2017. Le Front national est-il vraiment devenu “gay friendly”? Radio France, March 12.Google Scholar
  54. Parveen, Nazia. 2019. Birmingham School Stops LGBT Lessons After Parents Protest. The Guardian, March 4.Google Scholar
  55. Pew Research Center. 2013. The Global Divide on Homosexuality, 4th June. Accessed 21 April 2016. http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/the-globaldivide-on-homosexuality/.
  56. ———. 2017. Like Americans Overall, Muslims Now More Accepting of Homosexuality.Google Scholar
  57. Poorthuis, Frank, and Hans Wansink. 2002. Pim Fortuyn op herhaling: ‘De islam is een achterlijke cultuur’. Volkskrant, February 9.Google Scholar
  58. Puar, Jasbir K. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. ———. 2013a. Rethinking Homonationalism. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 45: 336–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. ———. 2013b. Homonationalism as Assemblage: Viral Travels, Affective Sexualities. Jindal Global Law Review 4 (2): 23–43.Google Scholar
  61. Puar, Jasbir K., and Amit Rai. 2002. Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots. Social Text 20 (3): 117–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rahman, Momin. 2014. Queer Rights and the Triangulation of Western Exceptionalism. Journal of Human Rights 13 (3): 274–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Said, Edward W. 2003. Orientalism. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  64. Schuyf, Judith, and André Krouwel. 1999. The Dutch Lesbian and Gay Movement: The Politics of Accommodation. In The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a Worldwide Movement, ed. B.D. Adam et al. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Southern, R.W. 1962. Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sullivan, Andrew. 1995. Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  67. Volpp, Leti. 2002. The Citizen and the Terrorist. Immigration and Nationality Law Review 23: 561–586.Google Scholar
  68. Watney, Simon. 1987. Policing Desire: Pornography, Aids and the Media. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roderick McGlynn
    • 1
  1. 1.University of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

Personalised recommendations