As LGBT History Month comes to a close, we must reflect on how far we have come, and how far we have yet to go. It’s also a time to shed light on many of the issues facing LGBTQ+ people. Beyond the pinkwashing and corporate dominated Pride events, there are still many issues facing the community that don’t get the attention they need.
At the Migrants’ Rights Network, we reject single issue politics and believe that migration and refugee issues should be examined through the lens of compounded identities. As a very intersectional team, we know that the structures that oppress migrants and refugees are part of the same system of oppression that leads to queerphobia and transphobia.
LGBTQ+ issues have been weaponised in recent years by the State and media to justify exclusionary or aggressive policies. This is the concept of ‘homonationalism’.
Homonationalism was a concept proposed by Jasbir Puar in 2007 which argues Western LGBT movements are often bound up with upholding the racist ideology of the State. Specifically, it is a method by which the State uses sexuality to legitimise counterterrorism or exclusionary measures against Muslims or People of Colour. The concept relies on Orientalist ideologies as the West as inherently progressive who must unite against ‘backwards’, ‘inherently homophobic’ groups, which in contemporary discourse usually fixates on Muslim people. Britain is an expert in homonationalistic ideology.
As Queer people, it’s incredibly frustrating to see the LGBTQ+ community appropriated to further harmful immigration policies. It is also detrimental to the continued struggle for rights and equality to assume that Queer liberation has been achieved in the UK.
We are absolutely not living in a Queer utopia where we coexist harmoniously with cis-hetereo people. Queer-only spaces are a necessary lifeline because they are inherently safe. Prejudice, hate and gaslighting are still rampant. LGBTQ+ people are subjected to gaslighting or stereotyping while queer asylum seekers are subjected to invasive and traumatic treatment by immigration enforcement. Many face detention and deportation.
by Julia, Policy & Strategic Comms Manager at MRN