GOING GLOBAL: CLAGS Workshop at ILGA Conference

In late August, the International Lesbian and Gay Association held its XXI World Conference in
Oakland, CA. The theme of the conference was “Building a Worldwide Lesbian/ Gay/ Bisexual/
Transgendered Movement” and delegates included hundreds of activists from around the globe.
As part of our ongoing international project, CLAGS participated in the ILGA conference. We organized a
workshop to discuss the potential—and the challenges—of links between LGBTQ scholarship and activism
internationally. The CLAGS workshop, which was one of the best-attended events of the conference,
consisted of a panel presentation followed by a lively and productive discussion. The panelists reflected
on their diverse experiences with international queer academic and activist communities.
Amber Hollibaugh, an independent writer and filmmaker (and CLAGS board member) spoke about
queer organizing outside of the academy and how to create and sustain grassroots networks that support
intellectual and activist work. Gloria Carreaga, Professor of Gender Studies at the National University of
Mexico and the Chair of the ILGA Womens’ Secretariat, discussed the problematic space of LGBTQ
concerns within the strong network of academic and activist feminism in Latin America. Paul Amar, a
recent Political Science PhD, presented “Stonewalled at the Queen Boat: The LGBTQ Impasse in the
Middle East and the Potential for Scholar-Activist Collaboration.”
Amar’s paper reflected on recent crackdowns on gays in Egypt
and how progressive queers should draw on a complex
understanding of history to confront these “new forms of
criminalization.” Shanti Avirgan, the International Project
Consultant for CLAGS and a doctoral student in Anthropology,
spoke about existing international LGBTQ resources and led a
discussion about the challenges and opportunities for international
collaborations between activists and scholars.
The workshop participants, representing countries from
Argentina to Slovakia to Zimbabwe, discussed their concerns
about the use of the identity-based model of LGBTQ studies
internationally. We talked about how language and labels can
foreclose potential collaborations between queer scholars and
feminist, health and human rights advocates. Another theme
was the necessity for our communities to tell our own stories.
Keith Goddard, of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
spoke about how GALZ members are interested in moving
beyond being “resources” for the steady stream of outside
scholars to being empowered to record their own history.
For CLAGS, the ILGA conference was an important
opportunity to connect with a network of international activists.
We look forward to continuing our collaboration with these
activists, as well as facilitating collaborations between researchers
– working within and outside of the academy – and LGBTQ
activists around the world

In 2001 CLAGS received
funding from the Rockefeller
Foundation to continue
pursuing a number of the
themes—including ways in
which movements of global
capital shape emerging
identities and the
intersections of tourism and
sexuality—that came out of
six successful years of
Rockefeller Residencies in
the Humanities. CLAGS is
now undertaking an
International Resource
Networks project, which
ultimately aims to connect
LGTBQ scholars around the
world, whether in universities,
NGOs, or other
community spaces. As a key
part of the planning stage of
this project, CLAGS
organized a roundtable at the
International Lesbian and
Gay Association’s August
2001 conference. Here is a
report on CLAGS’s participation
in this gathering of
LGTBQ scholars from
around the globe.