Transnational Effeminacies: Femmephobia, Gay Effeminacies, and the Biopolitics of Gay Imperialism

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 11:10 AM
Thurgood Marshall West (Marriott Wardman Park)
Adam Davies, University of Toronto
With an increasingly globalized mainstream gay and lesbian movement, Western focused queer phenomena, such as femmephobia (Serano, 2016), are being imported into international contexts, while white and Westernized homonormative (Duggan, 2003) imaginings of queerness subordinate and subjugate racialized and feminized subject positions (Dutta, 2013; Raj, 2011). Considering this, femmephobia in gay male online communities continues to propagate a biopolitical project that favors white heteromasculine gendered performance while subjugating racialized and femininized others (Raj, 2011; Miller & Behm-Morawitz, 2016). Expanding upon prior research on queer effeminacies in a transnational context (Dasgupta & Gokulsing, 2013; Pérez, 2015; Raj, 2011), this paper theorizes Grindr, a mobile hook-up application for men, as a site of gay imperialism (Haritaworn, Tauqir, & Erdem, 2008) and femmephobic discourse. Paying close attention to embodiment, this paper suggests that gay desire and intimacies, particularly in online spatialities, are undoubtedly raced and gendered, with the homonormative masculinized white gay body representing gay imperialism and homonationalistic discourses (Puar, 2007). Through a historical lens, this paper will explore the histories of gay femmephobia in both a Western and non-Western manner. Engaging with gay historical literature (Beachy, 2015; Chauncey, 1994; Faderman, 2015), as well as literature of Western and non-Western effeminacies (Martinez, 2000; Shapiro, 1988; Teltster, 2006; Webster, 2006) this paper will describe the history of male effeminacy in relation to globalization and the development of a gay identity under late-capitalism. Thus, applying Foucault’s biopolitics and “technologies of the self” in conjunction with historical narratives of male effeminacies, this paper illustrates how the assemblages of gay men’s interactions with online communities and technologies bolsters a homonormative, femmephobic, and homonationalistic politic regarding gay intimacies, desires, and belonging.