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LGBTQ Activist Organizations as “Respectably Queer” in India: Contesting a Western View

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Abstract:

In this paper, we contest Ward (2008) and Williams & Giuffre’s (2011) distinction of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) organizations as “respectable” and “queer” and find that LGBTQ organizations may deploy homonormative (respectable) strategies to achieve their queer goals and become “respectably queer”-- a term coined by Ward (2008) but not empirically found in her participant organizations in the U.S. . Being “respectable” means getting homonormative by assimilating heterosexual ideals and constructs in the LGBTQ identity politics that are approved by the dominant cultural and political institutions. Whereas, “queer” implies being inclusive of non-homonormative identities that are unexplained by the dominant taxonomies of gender and sexuality and refuse to follow the heterosexual behaviors and patterns. Using Bernstein’s (1997) mixed model of identity deployment, we argue that it is problematic to distinguish LGBTQ organizations as “respectable” and “queer” because when the actions of LGBTQ organizations are more complex to describe, it is not warranted to conflate identity goals with identity strategies— whether educational (normalizing) or critical (differentiating). To examine our concerns, we have used qualitative inquiry to study five LGBTQ organizations in India where the intersections of post-colonial ethnicity, gender, social class and sexuality offer an intriguing context to study queer activism.

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organ (162), queer (136), sexual (97), lgbtq (78), respect (67), base (59), ident (51), particip (50), goal (49), program (43), india (43), ghosh (40), cultur (40), lesbian (38), apoorva (37), women (36), gender (36), polit (35), communiti (35), delhi (34), mumbai (32),
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.asanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p721711_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ghosh, Apoorva. "LGBTQ Activist Organizations as “Respectably Queer” in India: Contesting a Western View" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, Aug 15, 2014 <Not Available>. 2016-06-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p721711_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ghosh, A. , 2014-08-15 "LGBTQ Activist Organizations as “Respectably Queer” in India: Contesting a Western View" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2016-06-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p721711_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In this paper, we contest Ward (2008) and Williams & Giuffre’s (2011) distinction of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) organizations as “respectable” and “queer” and find that LGBTQ organizations may deploy homonormative (respectable) strategies to achieve their queer goals and become “respectably queer”-- a term coined by Ward (2008) but not empirically found in her participant organizations in the U.S. . Being “respectable” means getting homonormative by assimilating heterosexual ideals and constructs in the LGBTQ identity politics that are approved by the dominant cultural and political institutions. Whereas, “queer” implies being inclusive of non-homonormative identities that are unexplained by the dominant taxonomies of gender and sexuality and refuse to follow the heterosexual behaviors and patterns. Using Bernstein’s (1997) mixed model of identity deployment, we argue that it is problematic to distinguish LGBTQ organizations as “respectable” and “queer” because when the actions of LGBTQ organizations are more complex to describe, it is not warranted to conflate identity goals with identity strategies— whether educational (normalizing) or critical (differentiating). To examine our concerns, we have used qualitative inquiry to study five LGBTQ organizations in India where the intersections of post-colonial ethnicity, gender, social class and sexuality offer an intriguing context to study queer activism.


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