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Theorizing Homophobia(s) Project

Call for Submissions, from Angelique Nixon, PhD.

The Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network (IRN) seeks to connect academic and community-based researchers, artists, and activists around the Caribbean and in the diaspora in areas related to diverse sexualities and genders. The IRN is housed at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York, funded through the Ford Foundation, and located on the web at http://www.irnweb.org.

Homophobia in the Caribbean has received a lot of given international attention recently. Certain Caribbean countries have been targeted by international organizations because of publicized violence committed against LGBT people and the apparent absence of public condemnation. However, the public and international human rights discourse that describes Caribbean homophobia rarely includes the larger contexts of poverty, structural adjustment, neocolonialism, and violence in general within the region. It has been accepted that homophobia in the Caribbean has its roots in laws, religion, and social perceptions of gendered identity. But LGBT activists and others living in the Caribbean have also recognised that there is a complex range of viewpoints and attitudes that must be accounted for in our defining of homophobia. Some scholars and activists have argued that what we need is a new set of theories, writings, and understandings of the kinds of homophobia(s) that exist across the region, and clear distinctions among Caribbean island-nations in terms of the work being done on the ground and the various cultural landscapes and shifts regarding LGBT identities. These theories, writings, and understandings should necessarily include discussions about gender performance, hetero-sexism, and transphobia that encompass homophobia(s), as well as the economic and social contexts mentioned above.

Questions we hope to address in this project include : How is homophobia perpetrated and experienced in different Caribbean communities? What have been the strategies for organizing against homophobia and homophobic violence? What are the successes and challenges in this work? What new strategies do we need? How is the Caribbean shifting in terms of tolerance and acceptance of diverse genders and sexualities? And why? How do we bridge the gap between theory and practice, home and abroad/diaspora, policies/law and cultural norms?

To that end, we propose a collection of articles / essays, non-fiction, fiction, stories, poetry, activist reports, visual art, music, interviews, and other works that will reflect on the complexities of homophobia(s) in the Caribbean and to expand awareness about Caribbean LGBT lives, experiences, and activism in the region and its diaspora. We seek to disrupt the divide between academia and community, while locating theories and knowledge in multiple sites and discourses.

This collection will be edited by the Caribbean IRN coordination consultant Vidyaratha Kissoon and its board members Natalie Bennett, Rosamond King, Angelique Nixon, and Colin Robinson.

Themes that may be addressed in the collection include:
● Caribbean Sexual Minorities, Citizenship and the State (Island-Nation)
● Religion and LGBT citizens in the Caribbean: Condemning the Sin or the Sinner
● Contextualizing Caribbean Homophobia: Religion, Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Poverty, and/or Structural Violence
● The Impact of Global LGBTQ Movements on Homophobia and LGBT activism in the Caribbean
● The Language of Homophobia: Caribbean Nuances, Silences, & Stigmas
● Politics of “coming out” and being publicly LGBT: concerning safety and visibility inside the Caribbean and its diaspora (Can we be safe and visible?)
● Symptoms of Homophobia: violence within institutions and popular culture (ex. music specifically Dancehall as scapegoat, often seen as cause of violence itself, without nuance or discussion of other aspects of Caribbean culture, particularly outside the region – i.e. “murder music” campaign)
● Costs of homophobia in the region: violence, gender-based violence, hypermasculinity, heterosexism, transphobia, bi-phobia, lesbo-phobia, etc.
● Caribbean LGBT anti-violence work, community organizing, and human rights discourse
● Migration and Diaspora: Politics of Asylum Discourse inside and outside the Caribbean
● Intersectional Analysis of Caribbean LGBT Violence (relationships among various kinds of violence – patriarchal violence, youth violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, LGBT violence, bullying, etc.)
● (Emerging) Queer Caribbean Diaspora(s) and its relationship to home
● Imported Homophobia: how non-Caribbean movements against homophobia are targeting the region

Works can be accepted in digital text format, digital audio (mp3 or OGG format), digital image format or digital video. Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted in MS Word or Open Document Format by April 30th with a short bio of the authors/producers. Please submit proposals via email to caribbeanirn@gmail.com. If accepted for detailed review, the completed work will be due by July 1st and it will be shared/published through our Internet platform in the Fall 2011. Eventually, we plan to approach a journal and/or publisher for a print publication.