CSBR hosts Project CARE: A regional program on holistic well-being & the sustainability of queer, trans and intersex activism in Asia
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In February 2018, CSBR launched Project CARE: Continuous and Responsive Empowerment through well-being initiatives for LGBTI human rights defenders in SSEA–a regional program in partnership with Asia Pacific Trans Network (APTN), ASEAN SOGI Caucus (ASC), …

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The Road from Antipinkwashing Activism to the Decolonization of Palestine

Submitted by on July 10, 2015 – 4:07 pmNo Comment

The Road from Antipinkwashing Activism to the Decolonization of Palestine
by: Lynn Darwich, Haneen Maikey

In lieu of an abstract, here is an excerpt from the text: 

The Combahee River Collective Statement (1977) articulates a firm stand against sexism in movements for Black liberation and racism in white women’s movements in the United States. It is a compelling and inspiring call by Black feminists to dismantle interlocking sociopolitical and economic systems of oppression, namely capitalism, imperialism, racism, and patriarchy. The statement reflects a tense political moment in which a set of principles for consciousness-raising and political engagement are discerned for the sake of the liberation of all oppressed people. Oppressions experienced by Black women, and lesbians in particular, are centered in the statement, especially, says the Combahee River Collective, as “the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else’s oppression.” Now, more than four decades later, anchoring one’s political work in personal and collective experiences of oppression is as relevant and meaningful.

In our own organizing toward the decolonization of Palestine, and with the rise of antipinkwashing activism, both nationalist and identity-based forms of political organizing have continually been questioned and contested for their inherent limitations in forging strong coalitional politics. After all, antipinkwashing activism did not emerge within a vacuum but as a response to Israel’s use of gay culture and rights to distract from and normalize Israeli occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid. It is at the intersection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer movements and the Palestine solidarity movement. Before antipinkwashing, these two movements had rarely been perceived as ones that could potentially connect or interact. As a result of this binary understanding, antipinkwashing has been formulated as a new form of organizing, a new tactic, aimed to reform both movements: adding a bit of “solidarity” to LGBT movements and a little “gayness” to Palestine solidarity work. But is the task of antipink-washing activism to politicize LGBT movements, or is antipinkwashing an attempt to queer up Palestine solidarity movements? In other words, does antipinkwashing have the potential to expand beyond these limitations and become, not a reformist, but a radically transformative strategy?

Nearly four years have passed since the launch of antipinkwashing campaigns the world over. Since then, we’ve seen pro-Israel organizations counterattack with much anticipated allegations of anti-Semitism and racism, we’ve witnessed organized efforts against Israeli pinkwashing from an antiwar/antiracism lens, and we’ve also taken note that many LGBT activists and groups have integrated antipinkwashing within the framework of international gay solidarity activism. Aside from Palestinian Queers for BDS (pqbds.com) and alQaws (alqaws.org), both in Palestine, and a network of Arab activists, mainly through Pinkwatching Israel (pinkwatchingisrael.com), most initiatives have sprung within the global North. Antipinkwashing activism has rapidly become a striking and tense embodiment of all the questions that could emerge (or rather erupt) from the nexus of sexualized, gendered, and racialized politics within a modern gay transnational solidarity movement.

In light of emerging politics of solidarity and our inherently different positionalities, would it be useful to assume that everyone in this movement is here for the same reasons and is fighting for the same cause? Does “gayness” charge our activism, and if yes, toward what, and how? The Combahee River Collective Statement, for example, contextualizes and centers Black lesbian sexuality within wider movements in order to disrupt the heterosexism, racism, and economic oppressions circulating in those movements. Sexual orientations, however, in their contemporary depoliticized and neoliberal forms, cannot but narrow and limit antipinkwashing as a transnational solidarity movement. Framing antipinkwash activism through the familiar mainstream LGBT lens does not work: sexual orientations and gender identities cannot be the sole driving forces through which we relate to antipinkwashing efforts, especially as this takes away the focus from the central issue of Palestine. This is because pinkwashing in itself relies heavily on the logic of “gay rights” as it is commonly understood and practiced—a single-issue struggle based on one’s sexual identity to the exclusion of a range of interconnected categories of identification, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, nation, and so on. It reinforces the isolation of gay identities and conceals the structural inequalities that make certain (Jewish, Israeli) bodies…

Full text available from: WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, Volume 42, Numbers 3-2, Fall/Winter 2014, pp. 281-285 | 10.1353/wqs.2014.0057

From Antipinkwashing to Decolonization of Palestine

 

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