Sirma Bilge, “Developing Intersectional Solidarities”

First, you’ll read Sirma Bilge’s (2012) “Developing Intersectional Solidarities: A Plea for Queer Intersectionality” from Beyond the Queer Alphabet: Conversations on Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectionality. Beyond the Queer Alphabet is an open-access book edited by Dr. Malinda S. Smith and Dr. Fatima Jaffer, which you can download here. You are only responsible for reading Chapter 2 for this module, but this book is an excellent resource for your future studies of queer identity and politics.

As you read:

  • Try to explain Bilge’s critique of “speaking for” others
  • Identify Bilge’s critiques of SlutWalk, It Gets Better, and Occupy Wall Street. If you are unfamiliar with these movements, look them up and identify their primary goals. What do Bilge’s critiques of these movements have to do with queer politics?
  • Try to explain how Bilge thinks queer political movements can learn from Black feminist theory.
  • Reflect on the politics of reappropriating pejorative terms, like ‘slut’ and ‘queer’. Why can some groups appropriate the term ‘slut’ in ways others cannot?
  • How do critiques of IGB reflect the distinction between LGB rights and queer politics described in the “big idea” lecture?
  • Does Bilge think that there can be solidarity across groups experiencing different forms of oppression? What might that look like?

content warning: anti-Black racist language; rape

Alexa DeGagne, “Pinkwashing Pride Parades”

Next, you’ll read “Pinkwashing Pride Parades: The Politics of Police in LGBTQ2S Spaces in Canada” by Dr. Alexa DeGagne of Athabasca University. Dr. DeGagne’s chapter explains the transformation of pride parades from “angry, politically radical protests and marches” to “corporate-sponsored, ‘family-friendly’, and pro-police celebrations”. DeGagne’s chapter helps us understand how homonormativity has shifted the politics of pride, and why contemporary queer movements are agitating to ban uniformed police officers from pride events. Her research on the politics of pride parades in Calgary and Edmonton offers a local lens for those of us studying at the University of Alberta. DeGagne’s research is an example of what Bilge calls queer intersectionality: an approach that refuses to separate sexuality, gender, queerness, race, and colonialism as categories of analysis.

As you read:

  • Note how DeGagne defines key terms, such as “pinkwashing”.
  • Take notes on DeGagne’s main argument, and write 2-3 sentences summarizing each section of the chapter.
  • Reflect on the importance of queer presence in public space — why does DeGagne think asserting presence in public space is important?
  • Reflect on the discussion questions DeGagne poses at the end of the chapter. Use examples from the chapter.

Dr. DeGagne’s chapter is posted on eClass.