A common European identity through LGBTI rights?
Universität Basel, Switzerland
Over the past three decades, the European Union has introduced some major legal and policy changes in the field of LGBTI rights and more recently has started to portray itself as a promoter of LGBTI rights. However, while LGBTI rights are, in certain areas, used to demonstrate modernity, exceptionalism and superiority of the EU in relation to its “others”, the internal debate shows a less consistent picture. In the European Parliament, anti-LGBTI and anti-gender rhetorics are on the rise again. This contribution argues that in this context, especially statements by individuals or institutions and symbolic action (e.g. flying the rainbow flag from the Commission building) often serve as a call for action or a critique of internal resistances by activist actors inside European institutions, rather than a demonstration of achievements. The almost ritualized reference to the human rights identity of the EU or to the idea of “leading by example” in discourses on LGBTI rights could be understood as a search for a common identity of the EU and the struggle to agree on basic values. This contribution investigates how LGBTI rights are currently constructed as norm and problem that needs to be addressed by EU institutions by different actors. It focuses on discourses used to justify action in this field, reaching from references to the “human rights myth” of the EU, the desire to “lead by example” to the neoliberal re-validation of diversity. Special attention will be given to the phenomenon that the practice of international solidarity in LGBTI activism and the construction of a shared identity and culture of LGBTI people surpassing national border turns them into models for the “ideal European citizen”.
Entitlement to Marriage, Entitlement to Fully-Recognised Family Membership and Citizenship: Discussion on Taiwan’s Case of Same-Sex Union Legislation
National University of Singapore, Singapore
There is growing literature on same-sex union. However, most existing studies are done in the Western context and therefore cannot fully represent the experience of LGBT people in different cultural contexts. This presentation aims to expand the cultural scope of relative literature by investigating the institutional barriers to and policy implication of same-sex union legislation in Taiwan.
Taiwan is the first Asian country which allows same-sex union. In 2017 Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex union should be legalised; consequent referendums in 2018 concluded that same-sex union would be legalised, though not in the name of marriage. Like other East Asian countries, Taiwan is heavily influenced by Confucianism. Confucianism does not explicitly reject homosexuality; nonetheless, its emphasis on the family obligation to have children and continue family line makes homosexuality invisible. Besides, the closely-connected kinship networks and the clear public/private-sphere divide makes the family (particularly immediate family members) rather than the state the main welfare provider. Thus, same-sex union legislation is both an issue of equality and a matter of welfare and personal long-term well-being.
This presentation begins with the cultural, social, and legal context of Taiwan’s LGBT equality movements. It then analyses the culturally-constructed function of family and marriage and the welfare regime designed around it. In the conclusion, it discusses the influence of same-sex union legislation on Taiwan’s future family and social policies, and shows possible paths to same-sex union legislation and LGBT right improvement in other East Asian countries.
Rethinking Sexual Citizenship: Embodying A Model That Includes People With Learning Disabilities.
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Historically, T.H. Marshall (1950) described citizenship in terms of legal, political and social rights. Sexual citizenship, as an element of citizenship, refers to sexual entitlements, such as the entitlement to free expression, the right to choose, and the right to participate in private/ intimate territories. It also refers to sexual responsibilities and the right to non-exploitation by others. Theorising around sexual citizenship has mainly been driven by academics and activists from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender movement. The experiences of people with learning disabilities in relation to sexual citizenship, has largely been invisible in these debates. This paper seeks to explore the extent to which people with learning disabilities have status as sexual citizens. The paper focuses, in particular, on issues of recognition/ visibility of people with learning disabilities in relation to sexuality, the influence of the state and ‘moral rights’. Using sexual citizenship as an analytical lens through which to view the experiences of people with a learning disability I will offer a critique and exploration of the relevance of the present literature to people with learning disabilities.
What’s Queer Got to Do with it? Queernormativity & Heterobrasilidade in Brazil’s QueerMuseu
University of Miami, United States of America
The August 2018 inauguration of the “Queer Museum” in Rio de Janeiro brings to the forefront controversial issues that dramatize and even metaphorize Brazil’s sociopolitical divisions: state involvement, support, and censorship of cultural initiatives designed to destigmatize creative production of and about gender/sexual minorities. The brief but volatile history of the museum’s opening, its subsequent censorship in Porto Alegre, the use of social media to rehabilitate itself in Rio with “crowdfunding” campaigns reveals larger debates on freedom of speech, citizenship as activism, art as a site of cultural resistance, and the limits of reception and spectatorship. For example, a judge ordered on the eve of its opening that children 14 and under not be permitted to visit the exhibit. While the order was suspended days later by another judge, these (re)actions stage current debates in Brazil on “ideology of gender” arguments that continue to suppress gender studies and LGBT/queer studies at all levels of the curriculum, from the "kit de anti-homofobia" at the secondary level to the repression and commission of aggression against Judith Butler’s (physical and scholarly) body of knowledge. This paper interrogates simultaneously conflictual and consensual relationships between aesthetics (artwork), the ethical imperative of the museum as a cultural institution invested in representing cultural artifacts of marginalized citizens, the rules of censorship and the roles of freedom of speech in a “democracy” positioning itself in an ambivalent “queer space and time” (Halberstam) consistently questioning the utopian foundations upon which it is employed and revoked in today’s Brazil.