Performing postcolonial homophobia: A decolonial analysis of the 2013 public demonstrations against same-sex marriage in Haiti

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Abstract

This article analyzes a public demonstration against same-sex marriage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The author provides a thick description of this performance led by Protestant Haitians, focusing on creative displays of evangelical Christian antigay sexual politics. While the author intends to represent the demonstration in ways that are recognizable to its organizers and participants, the author comes at this project through a concern about the public performance’s effects on Haitians with same-sex desires, with whom the author has been conducting multi-sited ethnographic research since 2008. As the author contends, the demonstration was more than an enactment of “Haitian homophobia.” The author situates the contemporary conflicts and controversies about (homo)sexual politics in the context of French colonial and U.S. imperialist legacies, as performances of “postcolonial homophobia.” Postcolonial homophobia refers to the cumulative effects of historical and contemporary Western imperialist biopolitical interventions to discover, regulate, manage, control, govern, and/or liberate (homo)sexuality in postcolonial nations. Here, postcolonial homophobia is played out by two seemingly antithetical transnational social movements: evangelical Christianity and LGBTQI human rights. Debates about whether Haiti is too queer (the evangelical Christian discourse) or too homophobic (the LGBTQI rights discourse) ultimately work together to erase histories of imperialist intervention and promote American exceptionalism, which negatively impacts all Haitians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-175
Number of pages16
JournalWomen and Performance
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2017

Keywords

  • Haiti
  • LGBTQI human rights
  • US imperialism
  • evangelical Christianity
  • missionaries
  • postcolonial homophobia

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