transcript of video by TikTok account thatannamarie from early December 2021

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Here’s a word that every queer person should know: homonationalism is not the name of my new synth-pop album. It’s a concept from sociology that acknowledges how queer people are used in conversations about global politics.

Homonationalism is when we use LGBT rights as a yardstick to judge how “moral” a society is. It’s short for “homonormative nationalism"—say that five times fast—and it was first coined by Jasbir Puar to describe how the US presented itself as LGBT-friendly to contrast itself to "homophobic” Muslims during the War on Terror. It can also be applied to other contexts, like the way we talk about homophobic countries in Africa or the Caribbean while ignoring the role of European colonialism in those regions.

Put a finger down if you’ve ever heard something like:

  • You know being gay is a crime in Ghana, right?
  • Those Middle Eastern countries are so backwards. Do you know what they do to gay people over there?

Oh it’s so weird. [Looks around as if hearing something from outside the room.] My neighbor’s dog is going crazy…

You know you’ve lost the plot when you’re talking about homophobia among Muslims, when white American Christians are the ones who made gay marriage illegal, ignored the entire AIDS crisis, and to this day don’t have any national policies regarding conversion therapy, a trans-panic defense, or the forcing of trans women into men’s prisons and vice-versa.

Barbados just became free of British rule this week; we should not be shocked if they have some homophobic policies.

And while I obviously believe that a more moral society is one with robust protections for queer people, LGBT rights can’t be used to judge other countries, to make us feel better about bombing them.

As an aside, I live in Connecticut, an American state where it gets dark at 4pm now, and where LGBT rights are actually pretty good. We were one of the first states to institute gay marriage, transgender health care is part of our state insurance, and we’re just generally more legally protected here.

And yet while legal support is very robust in our state, there’s very little cultural support. Homophobia and transphobia in day-to-day life is roughly as bad as any other part of the country, and we have no gay cultural infrastructure. Only enough gay bars to count on one hand, and no known queer meeting spaces otherwise. It’s obviously not as bad as living in a place where being gay is a crime, but it’s still pretty lonely out here.

So for a variety of reasons, I don’t appreciate queer and trans people being used as a pawn to further Islamophobia, anti-African sentiment, and general xenophobia. Mainly because it’s racist and ignorant; many of these countries have a long, rich history of queer and trans and nonbinary identities before white European colonizers showed up, but also because western “acceptance” of LGBTQ people is very conditional and very limited in terms of material and legal protection.

White supremacy wins when we pit queer people and people of color against each other. We need international solidarity and an acknowledgment of colonialism to achieve equality and equity.

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