Mapping US homonormativities

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In this paper I argue that the Orientalist invocation of the 'terrorist' is one discursive tactic that disaggregates US national gays and queers from racial and sexual 'others', foregrounding a collusion between homosexuality and American nationalism that is generated both by national rhetorics of patriotic inclusion and by gay, lesbian, and queer subjects themselves: homo-nationalism. For contemporary forms of US nationalism and patriotism, the production of gay, lesbian and queer bodies is crucial to the deployment of nationalism, insofar as these perverse bodies reiterate heterosexuality as the norm but also because certain domesticated homosexual bodies provide ammunition to reinforce nationalist projects. Mapping forms of US homo-nationalism, vital accomplices to Orientalist terrorist others, is instructive as it alludes to the 'imaginative geographies' of the US, as the analytic of race-sexuality provides a crucial yet under-theorized method to think through the imaginative geographies of the US in an age of counter-terrorism. It is through imaginative geographies produced by homo-nationalism, for example, that the contradictions inherent in the idealization of the US as a properly multicultural heteronormative but nevertheless gay-friendly, tolerant, and sexually liberated society can remain in tension. This mapping or geography is imaginative because, despite the unevenness, massively evidenced, of sexual and racial tolerance across varied spaces and topographies of identity in the US, it nonetheless exists as a core belief system about liberal mores defined within and through the boundaries of the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-88
Number of pages22
JournalGender, Place, and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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