And then there’s “homonationalism.”
In June of 2010, Judith Butler turned down the Civil Courage Award from Berlin Pride, critiquing the organizers’ association with homonationalism. She said that if she could, she herself would award the prize to the number of activist groups which work to fight both racism and homophobia.
But what exactly is homonationalism?
In her speech, which was received with much applause from the audience and contempt on the part of the organizers, Butler described the problem as such: “Lesbian, gay, trans, and queer people can be used [by] warmongers involved in cultural wars against immigrants through labored Islamophobia and military wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. In this time, through these instruments, we become recruited for nationalism and militarism.”
Homonationalism is using a nation’s liberalism towards homosexuality as a means to encourage racist attitudes towards other nations, on grounds that they are less enlightened.
Is it really racist to oppose, say, Uganda’s harsh anti-gay law? Is it really racist to attempt to give LGBT Ugandans and their friends and allies support in the face of attacks and imprisonment? Is it really racist to point out the part played by evangelicals from the US in stoking homophobia in Uganda?
I get that all this can be very entangled. People can both support gay rights and have xenophobic and/or racist attitudes; people can combine the two in a disquieting amalgam of human rights and hostility; but this version is simplistic at best.