Homonationalism and Pinkwashing

The Graduate Center, CUNY and CLAGS will be presenting the Homonationalism and Pinkwashing Conference over two days, April 10–11. This historic event will feature a varied group of speakers representing various countries, ethnicities, nationalities, genders, ages, communities, universities, and academic fields in discussion around a new arena of thought, specifically the concepts of Homonationalism and Pinkwashing. These concepts have been addressed by a number of scholars of all racial, cultural, and religious backgrounds, revealing that Homonationalism and Pinkwashing are pressing, urgent, and inspiring topics in international academic work. This conference, which sold out six months before its date, is already significant, respected and pioneering in burgeoning arenas of academic study and inquiry.

CLAGS offers this program with pride, excitement and the certainty that this conference will be remembered as an historic event in the development of global discourses and will shine bright on the reputations of the Graduate Center and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies as institutions committed to the most advanced and dynamic work in global academia.

What is Homonationalism?
Homonationalism, a term coined by Professor Jasbir Puar of Rutgers University, describes the recent global phenomenon that occurs when sub-sectors of specific LGBTQ communities achieve legal equality with heterosexuals and then embrace racial and religious supremacy ideologies. In countries such as the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany, white gay people (most often males) are increasingly joining racist movements against immigrants and immigrations, especially from countries where the majority of the population is Muslim. These nationalist ideologies are present across the globe, and it is necessary to study these substantial changes in the positioning of white gay people in relationship to supremacy ideologies in order to foster a better understanding of how vastly different conditions for LGBTQ people are globally based on race, religion, gender, and geography.

What is Pinkwashing?
It is a common practice today for a government body to point to or exaggerate LGBTQ rights in order to present itself as progressive. This practice of “whitewashing” various racial and religious oppressions with claims of “gay rights” is called Pinkwashing. Because LGBT people have been actively oppressed by society for so long, many people mistakenly interpret some forms of “gay rights” (ex. Pride parades, gay people participating in military service, etc.) as evidence of increased modernity. However, due to homonationalism and the shifting position of LGBTQ people, this is no longer an accurate measure of social advancement. In the locations where Homonationalism is active, LGBTQ people of the dominant racial or religious demographic may actually have far more secure social rights and political power than people who exist in subordinate racial and religious communities (which of course themselves include LGBTQ people). Pinkwashing is of profound and engaged interest to scholars around the world who are interested in social justice and LGBTQ studies.

Who is Presenting?
The Homonationalism and Pinkwashing Conference promises to be one of the most diverse conferences in the history of LGBTQ studies, with broad participation across nationality, religion, race, gender and geography. At this conference, 189 speakers will be presenting on their specific experiences concerning these topics.

(Keynote) Speakers
Among the 189 speakers who will be presenting, we are featuring three keynote speakers: Dr. Jasbir Puar (Rutgers University), Rabih Alameddine (Author of Kool Aids: the Art of War [1998]), Haneen MaiKey (Founding director of alQaws: For Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society). A small sample of some of our other presenters includes: Dr. Julia Creet (York University, Canada), Dr. Lisa Duggan (New York University), Dr. Roderick Ferguson (University of Minnesota), Dr. David Gerstner (City University of New York, College of Staten Island), Dr. Gayatri Gopinath (New York University), Dr. Aeyel Gross (Tel Aviv University, Israel), Dr. Samantha King (Queens University, Canada), Dr. Scott Morgenson (York University, Canada)

Who Will be Represented?
We have a number of schools who will be represented at this conference, including: Bryn Mawr, Arizona State, University of Toronto, Yale School of Architecture, Harvard Kennedy School, Syracuse, University of British Columbia, Marquette, University of California Davis, The Graduate Center, CUNY, College of Staten Island, Concordia, Columbia University, University of Texas, The New School, University of Alberta, Williams College, Oregon State, McMaster, University of Warwick, University of Berlin, University of Mains, McGill, University of California Riverside, Fairleigh Dickenson University, Northwestern, Indiana University, Wesleyan, University of Iowa, University of Chicago, UCLA, Kingsborough Community, University of Wisconsin, the United Nations Development Program. The following countries will also be subjects of presentations: Iran, Lithuania, Poland, Italy, Greece, France, Canada, India, The United States, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, South Africa, Cyprus, Serbia, Cherokee Nation, Bulgaria, Uganda, Brazil, Malaysia, Norway, Germany, Chile, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, Pakistan, Taiwan, and the Philippines.