Spaces of Appearance, Politics of Exposure: Queer Publics, Sexual Justice and Activism in Eastern Europe and India
From both a historical and a theoretical point of view, the struggles for sexual justice point to the entanglement of at least three extremely complex topics: citizenship, sexuality, and rights. This chapter uses our two voices to analyse some aspects of this entanglement by bringing together different aesthetic and critical archives from Eastern Europe and India to bear upon them. We focus in particular on heated public debates about the idea of sexual freedom, the interplay between sexual and national identities, and the right of sexual minorities to public protest. We show how highly charged large-scale performances such as LGBT pride marches in Russia can be viewed as part of a broader pattern linking gender and sexuality with cultural, ethnic, and religious identity in this country. We ask: To what extent are these performative strategies of the protests as well as violent attacks against them informed by an awareness of a ‘global’ public? How has the space-time of globality itself become a central problematic in non-normative sexual assertions and aesthetic practices? Showing how performativity operates as an enacted politics, we posit that the LGBT struggles in Russia to destabilise normative ideals of community offer opportunities for a conceptual realignment of predominant ways of thinking about the religious-secular divide and its relation to sexual justice. Later in the chapter, analysing the series of paintings by one Indian visual and performance artist- Atmaja Manidas- we move from a macro-level of analysis of institutions and large-scale protests to individual imaginative interventions into alternative imaginaries of affirmation and dissent. We foreground how corporeal claims to the public sphere by sexual minorities need to be seen as affirming an extra-legal sexual citizenship based itself on the potentiality of a contemporary global public.
- Butler, Judith. 2004. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London; New York: Verso.Google Scholar
- Butler, Judith, and Athena Athanasiou. 2013. Dispossession: The Performative in the Political. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Grigore, Mihai D. 2014. New Book: The Russian Orthodox Church and Human Rights. Hypothesis, 15 July 2014. http://hhr.hypotheses.org/602. Accessed 23 Apr 2016.
- Habib, Samar. 2010. Introduction. In Islam and Homosexuality, ed. S. Habib, xvii–lxii. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Isin, Engin F., and Peter Nyers. 2014. Introduction: Globalizing Citizenship Studies. In Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies, ed. E.F. Isin, and P. Nyers, 1–11. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Kapur, Ratna. 2015. Unruly Desires, Gay Governance and the Makeover of Sexuality in Postcolonial India. In Global Justice and Desire: Queering Economy, ed. Nikita Dhawan et al., 115–131, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Manidas, Atmaja and Santhosh Sadanandan. 2012. Catalogues are Never Done https://www.facebook.com/notes/aami-cacophonix-atmaja/catalogs-are-never-done-/510543005641605. Accessed 23 Apr 2016.
- Russia Criticized over Gay Issue beyond Universal Values—Lavrov. Interfax, 21 March 2012. http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/print52347.htm. Accessed 23 Apr 2016.
- Sabsay, Leticia. 2014. Sexual Citizenship and Cultural Imperialism. In Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies, ed. E. Isin, and P. Neyers, 96–109. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Sitas, Ari. 2014. From Around the World in Eighty Days: India Section. Pretoria: Unisa Press.Google Scholar
- The Facts on LGBT Rights in Russia. The Council for Global Equality, n.d. http://www.globalequality.org/newsroom/latest-news/1-in-the-news/186-the-facts-on-lgbt-rights-in-russia. Accessed 23 Apr 2016.
- Underwood, Alice E.M. 2011. The Politics of Pride: The LGBT Movement and Post-Soviet Democracy. Harvard International Review 43: 42–46.Google Scholar