Queer NL, an autonomous, non-funded activist collective in the Netherlands, applauds Judith Butler’s recent refusal of the Zivilcourage Prize at Berlin’s 2010 Pride celebrations and re-dedication of the award to SUSPECT, ReachOut, GLADT – local queer and trans activist groups of colour in Germany. We congratulate the intelligent activism of these groups who lobbied to make Butler more aware of the politics of the CSD Pride and who found a representative voice of authority and partner in solidarity in her.
Butler’s sharp and timely criticism addresses mainstream gay politics in the West in a very direct manner, pointing out how their seemingly progressive gay agenda is becoming increasingly homonormative and commercially oriented on the one side, as well as accompanied by a covert Islamophobia and racialised prejudices about migrant communities on the other.
The issues that Butler spoke out for at the Pride celebrations in Berlin are also a matter of deep concern in the Netherlands. Within the current national political scenario, where migrants are by default assumed to be homophobic and have to prove their liberal credentials in naturalisation tests, where gay rights are being misappropriated by right-wing neoliberal parties to promote anti-immigrant and anti-poor national policies, Queer NL believes that debates around sexuality rights must be seen in the specific context of race and class inequalities and depart from an intersectional analysis of oppression that recognizes race, gender, class and sexual oppression as interlocking systems. We denounce fear mongering and all forms of minority bashing, stereotyping and intolerance. Queer NL wishes to emphasise that queer politics should not create its own peripheries. Nuance and sensitivity to the very fragile life situations of queer people of colour is required more than promoting a universalised “With-us-or-against-us”-formula of Western homosexuality. A constructive, collective and creative opposition to sexism, transphobia, racism, cultural exclusion and neoliberalism are all of great importance to our struggle. Instead of commercially celebrating an illusion of tolerance and diversity, pride events should address these important issues until they are solved and a dignified existence is ensured for all members of the queer community.