Mittwoch, 30. Juni 2010

Message from Queer NL (Netherlands)

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.

Sex Inter/National Introduction Talk, June 28, 2010 - by Andil Gosine

Good evening and welcome to all of you.

As many of our friends and neighbors continue to be detained or face charges related to this weekend’s demonstration of State-mandated violence, it must feel odd to turn our attention, now, this evening, to something—to anything else.

There are many links, of course, between this weekend’s events and tonight’s intended discussion of politics and nationalism.

I want to draw your attention to just one, captured in that wonderful protest chant of an upbeat and peaceful crowd cheering on those lovely boys offering lap dances to the police at the barricades: you’re sexy, you’re cute, take off your riot suit!

This beautiful queer moment showcased the kind of clever, ethical and meaningful creative political response that I think our conversation here tonight similarly aspires toward.

By that I don’t mean you’ll get to see any lapdances tonight – well none are planned – but you will hear from people trying to figure out creative ways to form ethical, informed and meaningful political responses to the policing of and punishments given to certain kinds of sex.

Over the last few weeks, Toronto’s queer community has witnessed a lot of creative political organizing. When four members of Pride Toronto’s Board voted to censor the words “Israeli Apartheid,” queer men and women rose in protest against the poor judgment of a small group.

A doctor and a writer, a DJ/lawyer and a social worker, a filmmaker and a Volunteer Coordinator, a newspaper publisher and a playwright, a Liberal Zionist and a bike mechanic, and of course those phenomenal Lesbian Revengers —one by one people from all walks of life—though shamefully not a single elected official!—came together to say no, we will not be silenced.

The Pride Coalition for Free Speech, whose overflowing meetings looked more like the City of Toronto than any other queer space I have ever encountered - has won this round. The ban is gone. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will march down Yonge Street next Sunday.

The reversal is an important step, but a first step, for the ban has worked to unleash anger and frustration about much more than censorship;

We have now heard from Blockorama and Asian Xpress, from Nik Red and Kenji Kenjiro about how they feel Pride has marginalized Black, Asian and trans communities;

We have heard from those who are fed up with the vapid and unfettered commercialization of what was once primarily a fight for sexual freedom, a fight for love;

We have heard from Dykes who will take the March back and from environmentalists opposed to the overconsumption that has come to characterize mainstream gay culture;

We have heard from some people invested in returning Pride to its political roots, and from others (myself included) who have said, this parade, these names, this rainbow flag is perhaps not for everyone everywhere, is perhaps not for me.

Tonight we will enter into a set of conversations that cut across many of the questions that have been raised over the last few weeks and that are also at the heart of QUAIA’s work.

Not just in Toronto but across the world, queer communities and LGBT organizations are being asked to account for some of their failures including: an often arrogant and dangerous tendency to impose one model of organizing and one understanding of sexual politics and culture for everyone, and without due attention to their sometimes violent implications; their reluctance to acknowledge or challenge racism, and their complicity with nationalist projects that punish and vilify the most marginalized and the most demonized peoples: immigrants and refugees, people living under occupation, people living in postcolonial states in the Global South, persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, trans people, economically dispossessed people.

Last week, a group of queer people of colour and trans activists, including the organization SUSPECT, helped convince the iconic queer scholar Judith Butler to refuse the ZivilCourage Award offered to her by the local Pride committee.

In refusing the award, Butler called attention to the ways in which Berlin LGBT organizations were inciting racism, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment in their declarations of gay pride. Not just in Berlin, but in Stockholm and London, in New York and San Francisco, in Paris and Amsterdam—invocations of hate against Muslims and Arabs, against people of colour, against immigrants, against people of the Global South—are being cloaked in cheers of gay pride.

Sometimes, this homonationalism is pursued explicitly, as in B’nai Brith President Frank Diamant’s recent reaction to Pride Toronto’s reversal of the ban on the phrase “Israeli apartheid.” Mr. Diamant commented,

“It is an irony that the same Islamists who propagate the lies about the Jewish State that the members of QuAIA are regurgitating, are also unequivocally homophobic.
It is a shame that the only Middle Eastern state that QuAIA wish to target, Israel, is also the only state in that region where a Pride parade could take place.”

Mr. Diamant recently shared a panel at a G20 conference on faith with such stalwarts of gay liberation as Karl Rove, and the Presidents of the Canadian Family Action and Canada Christian College – organizations that have poured enormous energy and a great deal of money into fighting gay marriage abortion rights and sex education here and the world over. But in the battle against QUAIA, Mr. Diamant recasts himself as Queer Hero, and pinkwashes the Israeli State as refuge for gay and lesbian Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians, despite its institutionalization of an apartheid system and maintenance of a blockade and violent militarism that punishes all Palestinians, including queer Palestinians.

Sometimes gay pride and racism-nationalism are strewn together with more subtlety.

Last fall I watched in horror as mostly queer Toronto audiences enthusiastically cheered on performances of “To Be Straight With You,” by my otherwise favourite dance company DV8. The centerpiece of the show was a literal splitting of the world into the “good” global North and “bad” global South, with characters taking African, Asian and, of course, Caribbean accents to tell stories of how brown and black and yellow queers have to be saved from the barbarism of their own people, and rescued by enlightened gays and lesbians like Peter Tatchell, and by extension, their nations like Israel, Canada, the UK and Sweden.

It’s what we hear from many organizations working at an international level.

It’s what we see in films like the one originally scheduled for screening tonight, which in its trailer trots out one body of colour after another to declare how homophobic his or her people are, and how much solace is to be found in the arms of liberal Canada.

As was put forward in Frank Diamant’s statement against QUAIA, events like Pride which typify a certain kind of gay liberalism, have come to be viewed as new markers of progress, allowing places like Canada and Sweden, and also Israel, to be tagged as “civilized and Open” and others like Jamaica, Uganda and Iran to be reviled as the most backward, homophobic places on Earth.

If a country has a big loud Pride parade with a lot of rainbow flags, that’s seen as a sign of progressive sexual liberation, and if it doesn’t that absence must mean oppression.

This view of freedom makes no room for an understanding that sexual cultures might not be universal, and might operate differently in different places—and does not recognize that the demand to experience and express love and desire in certain ways can have horrific consequences for the people whose lives are claimed to be help (I’m thinking here especially of the suicide of the Indian Professor Dr Sreenivas Siras after he was forced to take up the mantle of gay liberation in his retiring years).

One of the most commonly mentioned pieces of evidence of a people’s savagery is anti-sodomy law.

The irony of using existence of laws criminalizing anal sex to name who is civilized and who is not is that they were put in place by Britain and other colonial powers in Jamaica, in India, in Uganda, to do the very same thing: mark civilized peoples from uncivilized ones—only now the conditions have been reversed.

Now, if you’re a country with anti-sodomy laws, you’re marked as a barbaric state, but not so long ago, having the laws meant were what made you civilized, having been concocted by Europeans anxious about open and freer forms of sexuality, including homosexuality, they encountered in colonies.

It’s as ridiculous for Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and Uganda’s Musevni to claim those laws as defenses against “imperialist” pressures to legalize homosexuality as it is for LGBT rights activists to use their existence to condemn whole cultures of people.

Anti-sodomy laws are of course a problem, and ought to be opposed everywhere. Homophobia and heterosexism are certainly urgent problems requiring redress in Uganda and Jamaica and Palestine as they are also, in different ways and with different strengths of punishment and protections, in Canada and Israel.

To take a State law or a form of music or a religious code as a clear indicator of a whole society’s complex views of sexuality is extraordinarily arrogant.

Take my birth country of Trinidad and Tobago, which has some of the worst laws in the world. There, both male and female same-sex sexual activity are illegal with punishments of up to 25 years imprisonment, and an immigration act forbids gay men and women from entry to the country. And yet: Trinidad is by many other measures a very queer place, and I am certain that you are more likely to end up flirting with an Immigration officer than being kicked out by him or her, because no has ever been stopped from entry to Trinidad for being gay.

It is one thing to voice opposition to a law and quite another to make grand declarations that overlook the particular histories and contexts of how sexual regulation laws and anxieties developed in certain places, and to demand the same strategies and forms of politics for everyone everywhere.

As Angela Davis recently commented,

“The assumption that somehow people from the Global South, people of colour are more homophobic, is a racist assumption.

If you consider the extent to which the ideological structures of homophobia, of transphobia, or heteropatriarchy are embedded in all our institutions, the assumption that one group of people is going to be more homophobic than another group of people misses the mark.”

Perhaps no one quite appreciates the complexity of the task of simultaneously challenging homophobic ethno-nationalism and homonationalist racism, in these inescapably transnational times, as the people whose lives operate in spaces in these multiple pressures are strongly felt.

Tonight, we have the honour and the pleasure of hearing from two people who have taken a leading role in struggles for sexual rights in such places, who will share with us their insights on how to negotiate some very difficult tensions. Please join me in welcoming to the stage the Director of al-Qaws, a nonprofit organization working for sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society, Haneen Maikey, and the Co-Founder of Caribbean Pride and the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation, Colin Robinson.


Dienstag, 29. Juni 2010

Statement of Solidarity with BAB, GLADT, LesMigraS, ReachOut and SUSPECT

NextGenderation Homonationalism Working Group
June 30, 2010

The NextGenderation Homonationalism Working Group joyfully supports the subversion of the Civil Courage Award ceremony at the Christopher Street Day 2010 in Berlin. We applaud the way in which Judith Butler refused to accept the award in her own name, took a stance against racism and homonationalism within the LGBT movement, and offered the award to GLADT (, LesMigraS (, SUSPECT (, and ReachOut ( We wholeheartedly recognize the powerful critical intersectional politics and organizing of queers racialized as non-white, who have incessantly and insistingly put critiques of racism and homonationalism – a term coined by Jasbir Puar – on the gay agenda, at the expense of marginalization and accusations. It is the consorted work of local and transnational organizing, including at least three decades of women-of-color feminism and migrant feminism that made this subversion of the Civil Courage Award possible. We would also like to acknowledge the work of Berlin Academic Boycott, as they side with Butler’s criticism of the Israeli regime and its attempts to use the LGBTI community to whitewash Israeli occupation and oppression, as well as with her support for the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) campaign. We stand in solidarity with GLADT, LesMigraS, SUSPECT, ReachOut and Berlin Academic Boycott in the struggle against racism, homonationalism and occupation.

In the aftermath of the subversion of the award ceremony, we were delighted to witness an outburst of transnational anti-racist and anti-colonial queer solidarity. We see this moment of solidarity as an opportunity to learn more about the insidious similarities and differences of homonationalist politics in different historical places. As a group that critically investigates, and strategizes against, homonationalist tendencies rising across many different national contexts, we know that the LGBT movement in Germany is far from the only one that is implicated in a rise in racism and nationalism. We have seen in many different countries how the signs of “gay rights” and “gay acceptance” have become yet more ammunition in an arsenal of weapons used to draw the symbolic and material borders of who belongs to ‘the nation’, ‘the civilized’, ‘the west,’ a ‘Europe’ – and who does not, i.e. specifically those racialized as migrants and Muslims. This occurs through a partial incorporation of sexual minorities and rights into the national imaginary, which goes hand in hand with the exclusion of a whole range of queer lives which are racialized as ‘other’. Many times it also goes hand in hand with the violent promotion by the state of heteropatriarchal norms in poor communities, communities of color and immigrant communities—for example through marriage incentives for welfare recipients, the prison industrial complex or immigration law.

Single-issue politics can only ignore these contradictions or see them as a limiting factor, and so many white and mainstream LGBT movements are lured into national incorporation and effectively become agents of racism and homonationalism, and at times apologists for heteropatriarchy. We know thanks to the work of women-of-color feminists like Kimberlé Crenshaw that the turn to the contradictions between seemingly different struggles enables movements to grow stronger. We too seek to strengthen those queer and anti-racist politics that are capable of connecting the struggles against the racisms, nationalisms and wars of our times with the struggles against heteropatriarchy, homophobia and transphobia, and we certainly refuse the instrumentalization of gay rights for racist, nationalist, Islamophobic, and civilizational agendas.

Montag, 28. Juni 2010

Where Now? From Pride Scandal to Transnational Movement

June 26, 2010

What in Germany has become ‘The Butler Scandal’ – Butler’s refusal of the Zivilcourage Award from Pride Berlin (,, which spread like wildfire through daily newspapers, facebook, queer blogs and e-lists, and even German TV ( – has shaken up and reconstituted the local and transnational terrain of anti-racist queer politics and critique in exciting but also challenging ways. The topic of gay racism, maybe for the first time, has found a sizeable public. In the past, the terms “racism” and “anti-Muslim racism” have made only rare entries into a mediascape which normally prefers to talk of prejudice against Ausländer – ‘foreigners.’ For a week, people of colour in Berlin – both queer and straight – have had the rare privilege of being ecstatic.

Nevertheless, the public and counter-public production of this event entails certain problems and dangers which need to be critically addressed and carefully managed. We have already discussed the whitewashing of Butler’s refusal by the mainstream media, which has largely erased not only gay racism, but also the basic fact of queer/trans of colour existence ( On a smaller yet more immediate scale, this was repeated by some of our alternative white friends who, having missed the whole problem with Pride, let alone with the nomination of a public intellectual who has opposed the incorporation of gay rights into racism, border control and militarism, began to wonder out loud whether the prize money should now rightfully be theirs. (The ‘awarded’ groups, meanwhile, were almost bemused when Pride belatedly announced they should come to pick up Butler’s leftovers.) The event has certainly ushered in a feel-good moment which may have de-politicizing effects. On the upside, some queer left spaces have begun to address racist complicities (, raising hopes that the homonationalist ( establishment will be isolated in its obsession with ‘homophobic Muslims’, and its queering of racist and neoliberal agendas of safety, security, crime (including hate crime), gentrification, disentitlement, and border control.

As the event enfolds, and is produced as both newsworthy and worthy of scholarly attention, discussions have tended to focus on Butler as a person rather than the issues at hand, or at stake. This again threatens to sideline queer and trans people of colour in Germany, whose struggle may seem a little too far away for some to attend to in its own right. Besides the fight over the celebrity pie, there is now also the very real danger of backlash, as the offended ‘majority,’ to return to the Pride stage moderators’ remarkable assertion (, is rushing to find the culprits: For why on earth would a famous white person do such a thing – thus alienating hosts, fans and readers? To whom did Butler talk in advance of her refusal? If the dialogue over Butler’s response was just as transnational as the homonationalism and homocolonialism she responded to, the conspiracy theorists are already working hard to scapegoat and isolate individual queers of colour and queer migrant organizations. As Angela Davis put it in her commentary on the situation (, the terrain of struggle has changed, yet the division of labour, risk, and gains is lagging far behind.

How, then, may we channel the possibilities created by this moment into more helpful directions? How can we sustain the current interest, commitment and visibility without reproducing dominant frames of politics and knowledge production that prolong or even intensify the status quo?

Labour, Risks and Gains

As queer and trans people of colour and allies, we are painfully aware of dominant hierarchies of political and intellectual labour, pervasive both in the academic, media and non-profit industrial complexes (, and in less institutionalized and professionalized spaces. These are parasitic upon the bodies, experiences, and labour of those who are kept in the place of the deviant, developmental or exotic object of study, and who all too often are structurally excluded from formal education and employment. The claiming of a queer or trans of colour position is a complicated one, both demonized and desired, and often immediately dismissed for lack or excess of intelligence or authenticity. While these injustices need to be named and redressed, especially by those who currently benefit from them, we believe that the politicization and democratization of knowledge production must go far beyond this. How can we begin to understand knowledge and skills as something that must end in radical struggle and transformation, rather than on a CV? How do we redistribute not only the credit, but also the risks of labour? Take the question at hand: how has Butler’s refusal already been turned into an event from which some will gain while others may lose? Can it serve as a catalyst for white people and those with privileges (e.g. around racism or job precarity) to start confronting racist Pride oligarchies or addressing the violence in the spaces – from Pride stage to activist group to university to nation – which are more likely to invite them, and less likely to kick them out? On one of our blog pages (, we put it this way:

Radical movements and individual acts of bravery or brilliance in speaking out against injustice do not come from nowhere but are the result of collective labour and local and transnational histories of organizing. SUSPECT was initially formed in order to monitor the arrival of the racist hate crimes debates in Germany. Recognizing the importance of emancipatory peer education outside the academic industrial complex, we started off as a reading group in the rooms of a local queer of colour NGO in Berlin. In this bibliography, we would like to share some of the resources which we managed to get hold of here. We felt we needed to learn from our siblings and allies in places where the punitive turn of LGBT organizing had already happened. The work of Incite!, the women/trans of colour anti-violence organization in the US, was a particular inspiration to us. We focused on German-speaking texts and texts dealing with the consequences of relying on a criminal ‘justice’ system which disproportionately incarcerates poor people, people of colour, people with mental health problems, and gender non-conforming people – but we know there is lots more out there. Please help us annotate this bibliography and list of resources, and send us further links and references including short descriptions!

Different Futures: Where Now?

If Butler’s refusal was neither the work of an isolated individual, nor an event that can be either credited or blamed on individual queers of colour, neither was Pride Berlin 2010 an isolated event. The success in Berlin had forerunners in the struggle of queer and trans people of colour and their allies in Toronto against the displacement of Blockorama, the Black stage (, and the banning of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, which culminated in the collective return of Pride awards by all twenty-three nominees ( and QuAIA’s re-admission, at least for now, into the march ( The globalizing significance of Pride parades in not only corporatizing LGBT politics worldwide, but also drawing the line between those countries that are modern and those that need to either catch up or be punished, invaded, targeted through visa and other anti-immigration campaigns, or deprived of aid, echoed in our ears when the Pride stage moderator lectured at us that Pride will ‘just continue in its programme… No matter what… Worldwide and here in Berlin.’ Outside Pride, and overlapping with it, we have witnessed a worrying racialization of gender and sexuality, and a willingness to accept membership privileges in national communities which now like to represent themselves as friendly towards women, gays, and less frequently, trans people. If Butler’s refusal has become a scandal, much work remains to be done to expose how these new sexual contracts are brokered on the backs of those who are forced to carry the residues of homophobia, and are not incidentally marked as disposable through their race, class and inability to pass as a productive citizens and consumers. Neither are punitive approaches to sexual/criminal justice unique to Berlin. On the contrary, hate crimes legislation is rapidly exported as part of a ‘holy trinity’ ( of hate crimes legislation, marriage, and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, through an increasingly globalized LGBT politics whose travels across the Atlantic, Europe, the Middle East and Africa often follow in the older footsteps of global feminisms. How do we turn this moment of celebrity scandal, and celebration, which has hit at the heart of the gay establishment, into one that outs and scandalizes homonormativity, homonationalism and gendered and sexual neo-colonialisms everywhere? How do we do this, again, in a way that spreads the risks, redistributes the gains, and tears the doors wide open?

For queer and trans people of colour in Berlin, the massive support we have received (including messages of solidarity from qtpoc activists, intellectuals, groups and allies in Canada, Turkey, France, UK, Russia, the US and South Africa, and countless unsolicited and often anonymous acts of labour, such as translations of our statement into Russian, French, Turkish, Spanish and Italian) promises immense opportunities for local and transnational community building. Alliances between queer and straight migrants, too, have been strengthened: one example is the opportunity of doing a special issue on racist and homophobic violence with a big migrant newsletter, whose editors reached out to us to in order to offer practical allied support. We ask for your help in sustaining the radical possibilities of the moment, and channelling it into practical solidarity and movement building. Visit our blog, endorse, leave messages of support (, include us in your networks, let us know about your struggles. Put us in touch with other anti-racist feminist, queer, trans, prison abolitionist groups that do related work, or have experience fighting criminalization and violence without taking recourse to state racism and neo-colonialism. Add our blog to your website, and spread the news. We love to hear from our allies everywhere, and we know that it gives others hope, too, to see us connect with and grow into a transnational movement for justice, of a kind that deserves this name.

Sonntag, 27. Juni 2010

How to contact us

Freitag, 25. Juni 2010

Cool Logo, Donated from Overseas!

Thank you to the generous artist, Andil Gosine, who is happy for this to be used everywhere, for postcards, flyers, T-shirts, etc! No credit needed, he says.

Donnerstag, 24. Juni 2010

Guidelines for Using this Blog

This blog is meant to fill a gaping hole in the political landscape: to enable queers and trans people who struggle against gay racism, homonationalism and gay imperialism, and our allies, to form local and transnational coalitions. It is thus meant as a networking tool to express solidarity and share about each other’s work in various places and connect multiple struggles against violence, in all its forms – from the intimate and interpersonal to the everyday, normalized violence of the market and the systematic targeting of racialized people inside Europe and in the countries of occupation and war by the prison and military industrial complex. Some of the comments which we received were openly racist or anti-Semitic, or simply abusive (along lines such as 'all Muslims are fundamentalists', or spouting conspiracy theories about Butler or SUSPECT as Hamas). Others were very supportive but consisted in short exclamations. Thank you for these, but please bear in mind that this blog is dedicated to queer/trans of colour networking and coalition building. If you simply wish to repeat what we hear every day, that people of colour are dangerous homophobes who should be locked up, deported, demonized or stripped off their rights, we will not publish your comment. Please write to the local daily newspapers instead – they will be glad to have you.

Thank you for supporting us,


Solidarity Message from the Bent Bars Collective, London UK

The Bent Bars Project would like to publicly support and celebrate the ongoing work of SUSPECT and other queer and trans groups of colour in Berlin who are actively challenging racism within gay organisations and Pride activities. We also applaud Judith Butler’s decision to refuse the Zivilcourage Prize at Berlin’s 2010 Pride celebrations in order to highlight racism, particularly anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant racism within white gay movements in Europe.

As an organisation that works to build solidarity and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer communities across prison walls, the Bent Bars Project is painfully aware of how racism and criminalisation work to expand imprisonment and increase violence, not only against LGBTQ people, but against all those who are disproportionately targeted by the criminal justice system.

Despite a long history in which LGBTQ people have been, and continue to be, targeted by the state violence, imprisonment, border controls and criminalization, many gay groups are taking up political strategies that allow such harms to be imposed on others. Whether allowing the language of “gay rights” to justify war and military occupation abroad, supporting hate crime laws which strengthen racist criminal justice systems or repeatedly suggesting that particular groups (e.g. Arabs, Muslims and immigrants) are inherently homophobic, backwards and ‘uncivilized’, many LGBTQ groups in Europe and North America are feeding harmful patterns of racism and violence.

Given the globally devastating effects of imprisonment, militarism and border controls, it is now more important than ever for queer and trans groups to refuse complicity with such trends. Judith Butler’s decision to turn down the Zivilcourage Prize and instead dedicate it to the organisations GLADT(, LesMigraS (, SUSPECT and ReachOut ( marks an important example of such refusal and highlights the vital work of anti-racist queer groups in Berlin and elsewhere.

Bent Bars Project Organising Collective, London UK

Mittwoch, 23. Juni 2010

Siz Azınlıksınız, Biz Çoğunluğuz!

Pazartesi, 21 Haziran, 2010
Haber: Ulaş Yılmaz

Judith Butler, 19 Haziran Cumartesi günü Berlin’de yapılan Eşcinsel Onur Günü Yürüyüşünde kendisine verilen Medeni Cesaret Ödülünü geri çevirdi.

Butlar, konuşmasında, ödülü almanın cesaretini kıracağını söyledi. Berlin’de gerçekten medeni cesaret gösteren GLADT, LesMigraS, LesbenBeratung, ReachOut ve Suspect gibi derneklerin bu yürüyüşte bulunmadıklarının altını çizen Butler, onu bu ödüle layık görenlerin, ırkçı, Yahudi düşmanı ve savaş yandaşı politikalar yapanlarla işbirliği halinde olduklarını vurguladı. Butler, yürüyüşe katılanları bir hafta sonra yapılacak olan Alternatif Eşcinsel Onur Günü Yürüyüşüne davet etmeyi de ihmal etmedi.
Judith Butler’in düzenleyicilerde soğuk duş etkisi yapan bu tavrı, katılımcılardan büyük alkış aldı. Daha sonra sahneye çıkan düzenleme komitesi üyesinin Butler'i alkışlayanlara “Siz, çoğunluk değilsiniz!” demesi ise kalabalıktan büyük tepki aldı.

Butler’a ödülünü vermek için onu sahneye çağıran Yeşiller Partisinin meclis grubu başkanı Renate Künast ve Sol Parti meclis grubu başkanı Gregor Gysi ise Butler’in konuşmasından sonra sahnede görülmediler. Berlin Belediye başkanı Klaus Wovereit’in da sahne arkasında hazır bulunduğu skandal, Berlin Eyalet televizyonuna yansıtılmadı. Hatta Wovereit’in aynı akşam yapılan röportajında Butler’in ödülü aldığı iddia edildi.

Butler, Ankara'da, Homofobi ve Transfobiye Karşı Yürüyüşe katılmıştı. (Fotoğraf: Ali Özbaş)

Ana sloganı “Normal olmak farklıdır!” olan bu yılki Berlin Eşcinsel Onur Günü Yürüyüşünün bu farklı normallik karşısındaki şaşkınlığının Berlin, Almanya ve dünya çapındaki etkileri pek çok çevreyi şaşırtacağa benziyor.

Kaos GL

On behalf of the Kent Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality (UK)

The Kent Center for Law, Gender, and Sexuality celebrates and supports Judith Butler’s refusal of the Zivilcourage Prize at Berlin’s 2010 Pride celebrations. Butler's refusal was intended to draw critical attention to the deeply troubling ways in which racism, islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiment have been used by some Berlin-based LGBT organizations in their efforts to contest homophobia. Butler’s decision to highlight racist and imperialist complicity in European white gay movements is part of a larger project of challenging “homonationalist” agendas (Puar 2007) which intimately weave together state-propagated agendas of securitization with hyper-individualized, corporate gay pride events and organising. Significantly, Butler points out in her speech delivered on 20 June 2010 that gay, bi, trans and queer people can be used by those who want to wage war. Indeed, in the current political climate of a long-standing anti-islamic and anti-arab global “war on terror”, these interlaced discourses strengthen the power of state-based and international laws that legitimize the use of violent detainment, deportation, and the tightening of borders as well as imperialist invasion and occupation. These strategies are disproportionally targeted at Muslim, Arab, and other racialised individuals and communities. As a feminist organization, we applaud Butler’s high profile refusal, which lends support to other antiracist feminist legal-oriented organizations such as LesMigraS (, ReachOut (, and SUSPECT (Berlin) that continue to struggle daily against homonationalist agendas the world over.

Solidarity from Communities of Resistance UK

On behalf of Communities of Resistance (UK),

As an organization committed to fighting the prison industrial complex (PIC), we celebrate and support Judith Butler’s refusal of the Zivilcourage Prize at Berlin’s 2010 Pride celebrations. Butler’s decision to highlight racist and imperialist complicity in European white gay movements is part of a larger project of challenging islamophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments which maintain and perpetuate the prison industrial complex.

The prison industrial complex is the network of governmental and private interests that uses prisons as a response to social, political and economic problems. The PIC includes all institutions, government branches, agencies, NGOs and businesses that have a financial, organisational or political interest in maintaining the prison system, such as border agencies and detention units, security corporations, prison construction companies, surveillance technology vendors, etc. This also includes the public discourses that circulate to legitimize the use of violent detainment, deportation, and tightened borders. In Western Europe this includes popular racist depictions of Arab, Muslim, and other immigrant individuals and communities of colour as homophobic, barbaric, and uncivilized – a discourse explicitly drawn upon by Berlin Pride in their media and organizing.

Of course, tactics that work in tandem with imperialist, war-mongering, and neo-liberal state-propagated agendas of securitization, are not isolated to Berlin Pride. These strategies are part of a trend of what Jasbir Puar has termed “homonationalism” (Puar 2007), and are resisted by anti-racist, anti-colonial, and anti-imperialist queer organizing such as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (Toronto, Canada), and SUSPECT (Berlin, Germany). Unfortunately however, it is often queers of colour, who, after calling out complicity in hyper-individualized, racist white gay agendas, personally bear the brunt of the backlash from well-organized and well-funded (thanks to the growing corporatism of apolitical, identity-based pride events) white gay movements.

Judith Butler’s refusal of the Zivilcourage award was a high profile example of the resistance that anti-racist queers of colour do everyday in their challenging of homonationalist agendas the world over. This resistance also fights against the dominant discourses of racist, anti-immigrant sentiments that are so intimately tied to the prison industrial complex. It is with great respect and admiration that we celebrate not only Butler’s refusal, but the ongoing work of anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, and anti-racist queers of colour in Berlin, Toronto, and elsewhere.

Communities of Resistance (CoRe)

X:Talk Migrant Sex Worker Rights Project in London Endorses the Struggle of Queers of Colour Against Homonationalism

Against homo-nationalism

Judith Butler turns down civil courage award from Berlin pride: ‘I must distance myself from this racist complicity’

x:talk fully endorses the struggle of queers of colour against homo-nationalism, racist and Islamophobic campaigns against homophobia. In our work and our activism for the rights of migrant sex workers we strongly argue against the use of emancipatory discourses (e.g. LGBT rights or women’s rights) for the legitimisation of war, of the criminalisation of migrants and of deportations. Also, we recognise that in many instances mainstream, majority white western LGBT and feminist groups engage in reproducing practices and discourses that are racist, Islamophobic or awakening moral panic around migration and sex work, contributing to the criminalisation of both. We believe it is crucial to raise awareness over the effects of ‘well meaning’ political moves that in order to fight one oppression, reproduce or reinforce others. In this respect, we welcome the decision by Judith Butler to turn down the civil courage award from Berlin Pride on June 19th 2010.

Dienstag, 22. Juni 2010

Judith Butler rechaza el Premio del Orgullo Berlin por Valentía Civil 2010. “Debo distanciarme de esta complicidad racista”

Comunicado de prensa del colectivo SUSPECT sobre los acontecimientos del 19 junio 2010.

Como activistas queer y trans de color (y sus aliados) en Berlin, damos la bienvenida a la decisión por parte de Judith Butler a rechazar el Premio Zivilcourage otorgado por el Orgullo de Berlin. Nos alegra que una teorica renombrada ha utilizado su fama para llamar la atención a las críticas lanzadas por lxs queers de color sobre el racismo, la guerra, las fronteras, la violencia policial y el apartheid. Valoramos especialmente su valentía a la hora de criticar y explicitar la proximidad entre los organizadores y las organizaciones homonacionalistas. Su valiente discurso es testimonio de su apertura a las nuevas ideas, su disposición a involucrarse con nuestro largo trayecto de trabajo académico y activista que suele existir en condiciones de aislamiento, precariedad, apropriación y instrumentalización.

Desgraciadamente esto está ocurriendo una vez más, porque las organizaciones de personas de color que, según Butler, merecían el premio más que ella, no han recibido mención en ninguno de los informes de prensa hasta ahora. Butler ofreció el premio a GLADT (, LesMigraS (, SUSPECT y ReachOut ( y sin embargo el único espacio político que se nombra en los informes es el Transgenial Christopher Street Day, un evento alternativo del Orgullo principalmente compuesto por personas blancas. En vez de hablar del racismo, la prensa se limita a una sencilla crítica de la comercialización. La propia Butler fue muy clara en su discurso: “Debo distanciarme de la complicidad con el racismo, incluyendo el racismo anti-musulman”. Insiste en que no sólo los homosexuales sino también “las personas bi, trans y queer pueden ser utilizadas por aquellos que quieren la guerra”.

El CSD, a través de Renate Künast de los Verdes (que parecía tener dificultades a la hora de prenunciar el nombre de la premiada, y captando elementos básicos de su obra) introdujeron a Butler como una crítica persistente. Cinco minutos despues, esta misma persistencia crítica dejó a los organizadores con la boca abierta. En vez de recoger parte del discurso, a Jan Solloch y Ole Lehmann, no se les ocurrió otra cosa que negar de forma total cualquier sugerencia de racismo, y atacar los 50 queers de color y aliados que respaldaban a Butler, “Podeís gritar todo lo que queraís. No soís la mayoría. Ya está”. El final fue una fantasia imperialista a juego con la Puerta de Brandenburgo de fondo: “El Orgullo seguirá su programa… venga lo que venga… en todo el mundo y aquí en Berlin… así es como siempre ha sido, así es como siempre será”.

En los últimos años, el racismo ha sido el hilo rojo que ha atravesado los acontecimientos del Orgullo, desde Toronto a Berlin, como también el paisaje gay en un sentido más amplio (vease la crítica presentada por las teóricas queer Jasbir Puar y Amit Rai en su articulo “Monster Terrorist Fag” de 2002). En 2008, el lema del Orgullo de Berlin era “Hass du was degegen?” que podría traducirse como “¿Que te pasa?”. Homofobia y transfobia se redefinen como problemas asociados a los jovenes de color que, según esta visión, no hablan bién el alemán, cuyo alemanedad está siempre cuestionada y que sencillamente no pertenecen. 2008 también es el año que el discurso sobre los “crimenes de odio” entra con fuerza en la política sexual en Alemania. Su rápida acogida fue facilitada por el hecho de que ya se había identificado el homófobo criminal: los migrantes, ya criminalizados, se encarcelan y incluso se deportan con cada vez mayor facilidad. El pánico moral se legitimiza a través de prácticas dudosas por parte de los medios de comunicación y por algunos estudios supuestamente científicos: cada caso de violencia que podría relacionarse con una persona gay, bi o trans (tanto si el agresor es blanco como si es de color, y sin distinguir entre agresiones homófobas y altercaciones viales) se circula en los medios como más evidencia de lo que ya sabíamos – que los queers, sobre todo los hombres blancos, están en apuros, y que “los migrantes homófobos” son la causa principal de esto. Esta noción, cada vez más aceptada como verdad, es en gran medida fruto del trabajo de organizaciones homonacionalistas como la Federación Alemana de Gays y Lesbianas y la línea telefonica Maneo, cuya colaboración con el Orgullo fue el motivo determinante en el rechazo del premio por parte de Butler. Este trabajo consiste principalmente en campañas mediaticas que repetidamente representan a migrantes como “arcaicos”, “patriarcales”, “homófobos”, violentos y inasimilables. Sin embargo, una de estas organizaciones irónicamente recibe financiación pública para “proteger” a las personas de color del racismo. El “Circulo arco iris de protección contra racismo y homofobia” en el barrio gay de Schöneberg fue recibido por el alcalde del districto con un aumento en el número de patrullas policiales. Como anti-racistas, lamentablemente conocemos lo que significa más policía (sean LGBT o no) en un barrio donde viven muchas personas de color, sobre todo en tiempos de “guerra contra el terror” y “seguridad, orden y limpieza”.

Es esta tendencia de la política gay blanca de sustituir una política de solidaridad, de coalición y de transformación radical por otra de criminalización, militarización y vigilancia de las fronteras que denuncia Butler, como respuesta a las críticas y analisis presentados por personas queer de color. En contraste con otros muchos queers blancos, ella estaba dispuesta a arriesgarse por esto. Para nosotros, representa una decisión de lo más valiente.

20 junio 2010.

SUSPECT es un nuevo grupo de migrantes queer y trans, personas negras, personas de color y sus aliados. Nuestro objectivo es seguir las consequencias de los debates sobre “crimenes de odio” y construir comunidades libres de violencia en todas sus formas, interpersonales e institucionales.

Traduccion: Maggie Schmitt

Asian Arts Freedom School Statement of Solidary

Asian Arts Freedom School would like to extend support to SUSPECT and local queer groups of colour advocating for anti-racist change in Berlin's Pride. We also really respect Judith Butler's contribution to queer and feminist theory and want to extend our appreciation to her in declining the civil courage award from Berlin Pride. We are pan-Asian anti-racist artists and arts educators in Toronto where Pride Toronto continually marginalizes queers not considered to be part of the gay mainstream and bans anti-colonial sentiments, namely the recent banning of the words "Israeli Apartheid" from Toronto Pride (thus censoring the queer human rights group, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid). Many of us are having to deal with the gay mainstream's racism towards and exclusion and depoliticization of our communities in Toronto and it helps to know that we are not alone in the struggle against the homonationalist crusade for homogeneity.

3 Sat Kulturzeit on 22 June, 2010

German TV reporting on gay racism and Butler scandal at Pride Berlin. Apart from a few racist slips (some queers are 'farbig' - 'coloured', apparently), it's not too bad - thanks to the labour of two rad interviewees!

Endorsements and Messages of Support and Solidarity

We have received many messages of solidarity. As queers of colour internationally have let us know that our work, and the support it has drawn, give them courage and inspiration, we will do our best to keep this list updated. Please let us know when contacting us if you would like your name to be added to this list.

Leslie Feinberg: 'thank you for the information and the opportunity which allowed me to express my solidarity! -- in struggle, Leslie Feinberg'

Andil Gosine: 'Thank you, SUSPECT, for daring to challenge racisms and nationalisms in queer communities, for refusing complicity with the demonization of people of colour engaged by so many in the contemporary LGBT movement, and for demanding recognition of the complexities of the lives and cultures of people in the Global South. I stand with you.'

Suhraiya Jivraj

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Toronto

Bobby Noble: 'you've my support and respect and labour 110% in these wars!'

Sivia Posocco

Jasbir Puar

Asian Freedom Arts School, Toronto

Proma Tagore

Rinaldo Walcott

Hevjin, LGBT Organisation in Amed

Çukurova, LGBT Initiation

Kaos GL Association and the Kaos GL Magazine

Queer Beograd

Transgenialer CSD

Queers of Color Reading Group, Philadelphia and Oakland

Alexey Timbul Bulokhov (Russia): 'Such awesome powerful moves by POC organizers and allies in Toronto, Berlin, Kansas City and elsewhere this Pride season. Pride is not a luxury brand. Don't whitewash the rainbows. Thank you and queer on, friends, queer on!'

Romi Chandra Herbert, Vancouver Activist: "It is with the greatest pride that I send my 100% support to the incredible and powerful work SUSPECT and all those directly and indirectly involved are engaged in. It's been a while since I've felt this kind of pride in my community and I thank you for helping me find it. Sadly, Vancouver has recently gained a statistical reputation of being one of the top places for hate crimes in Canada. Sadly when incidents of hate crimes occur here, the queer community's response is to blame another minority group and in our case it's the South Asians (I'm sure there are many other groups out there that are scapegoats for this kind of hate). Yes our queer community is often the victims of hate, but we do a damn fine job of dishing this hate out to others, pretending we are a catalyst for change when in reality we are the perpetrators of hate.
Until the queer community understands this, pride and everything about it, will still be my protest!
Judith Butler and Angela Davis are inspirational women!
In solidarity"

Espace d'Expressions Lesbiennes of Color

Crystal Mason, San Francisco: 'I would like to take a minute to express my pride in this month of pride celebrations, in the Queer and Trans People of Color groups in Berlin for their hard work and political savvy in smashing the status quo and choosing the right hammer.'

X:Talk, Migrant sex workers rights project in London


Sylvie Tomolillo

Johanna Rothe

Blackness Yes!, Toronto

Next Genderation Homonationalism Working Group

Paola Bacchetta: "Thank you to SUSPECT and all the queer of color and anti-racism queer groups in Germany that organised this protest. Thank you also to our ally Judith Butler for taking such a clear stand. Brava, bravo, all."

Tavia Nyong’o on ceding platforms to those whose work is ignored and scapegoated rather than rewarded and encouraged

Judith Butler 1 - Homonationalism 0

Ironically, the very reasons I gave Berlin Pride a pass this year — rampant commercialism, body fascism, and apolitical torpor — are the reasons I wish I had now been there to see Judith Butler turn down the organizer’s Prize for Civil Courage. Delivered in German to a surprised but delighted crowd, Butler’s scathingly political remarks rained on the parade of complacency with her pointed barbs against anti-immigrant and anti-muslim racism.

While the press focused on her critique of commercialism (which, truth be told, can hardly hold a candle to the corporate crassness of your average Pride event in the US nowadays), they had a much harder time bringing into focus her critique of homonationalism, which she also delivered in a longer talk at the Volksbuhne on Friday evening. They also neglected to mention the organizations she cited as deserving the recognition she declined (Gays and Lesbians from Turkey, lesbische Migrantinnen und Schwarze Lesben, Reach Out and SUSPECT) in what might be the new definition of a politically efficacious speech-act from an intellectual: ceding the platform granted you by the celebrity system and professorial authority in an act of humility and solidarity with those whose work is ignored and scapegoated rather than rewarded and encouraged. In a sense, declining an award for civil courage was the only way of possibly displaying such courage under these circumstances.

The drone of vuvulezas and eery recrudescence of German flag-waving occasioned by the World Cup may quickly drown out this strategic strike against Pride-as-usual. But, due to the exigencies of Pride’s coincidence with that other spectacle of homoerotic nationalism (watch men watching the games and you will see what I mean), there is an opportunity to build momentum through the breach Butler opened has up.

Mainstream Pride was moved a week earlier because of the all-powerful World Cup schedule, but the alternative Transgeniale march — anti-commercial, filled with trans- and feminist politics and at least aspirationally anti-racist and inclusive of queers of color — stayed on the traditional “last weekend in June.” Next weekend also sees a big conference on queer studies and anti-capitalism at the ICI, a sort of anti-Ladies Auxiliary to the Big Boys doing Real Theory at the Volksbuhne the same weekend.

So it seems like the spirit of queer discontent is not going down without a fight. Pride avoiders of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your rainbow chains!

Angela Davis's supportive statement after the screening of Angela: Portrait of a Revolutionary at Hackesche Hoefe

I certainly hope Judith Butler’s refusal of the civil courage award will act as a catalyst for more discussion about the impact of racism, even within groups that are considered to be progressive. The assumption that.. somehow people from the Global South, people of colour are more homophobic, is a racist assumption. .. If you consider the extent to which the ideological structures of homophobia, of transphobia, or heteropatriarchy are embedded in a our institutions, the assumption that one group of people is going to be more homophobic than another group of people misses the mark. Because we not only have to address issues of attitudes, but we have to address the institutions that perpetuate those attitudes and that cause, that inflict real violence on human beings. And I was going to say in answer to the last question about the urgency of the late 60s, is that had people not acted with that urgency, that we would not perhaps have the expanded notion of social justice that we have, that we wouldn’t perhaps have the vocabulary, and there’s always been a struggle over language, over vocabulary. And I've come to believe that when we win victories in movements, struggles, that what we do is change the whole terrain of struggle. So we don’t simply add on. We don’t add on women to black people, we don’t add on LGBT people to women and to black people, we don’t add on trans people, and so forth. Each time we win a significant victory, it requires us to revisit the whole terrain of struggle. And so therefore we have to ask questions about the impact of racism in gay and lesbian movements, we have to ask questions about the impact of racism in the women’s movements, we have to ask questions about the impact of sexism or misogyny in black communities, we have to ask questions about the influence of homophobia in black communities or communities of colour. This notion of intersecting or crosspatched or overlaying categories of oppression is one that has come to us thanks to the work of women of colour feminists.

Montag, 21. Juni 2010

Judith Butler refuses Berlin Pride Civil Courage Prize 2010


Press Release by SUSPECT on the events of the 19th June, 2010
As Berlin Queer and Trans Activists of Colour and Allies we welcome Judith Butler’s decision to turn down the Zivilcourage Prize awarded by Berlin Pride. We are delighted that a renowned theorist has used her celebrity status to honour queer of colour critiques against racism, war, borders, police violence and apartheid. We especially value her bravery in openly critiquing and scandalising the organisers’ closeness to homonationalist organisations - a concept which was coined by Jasbir Puar's book Terrorist Assemblages. Her courageous speech is a testimony to her openness for new ideas, and her readiness to engage with our long activist and academic work, which all too often happens under conditions of isolation, precariousness, appropriation and instrumentalisation.
Sadly this is happening once again, for the people of colour organisations who according to Butler should have deserved the award more than her are not mentioned once in the press reports to date. Butler offered the prize to GLADT (, LesMigraS (, SUSPECT and ReachOut (, yet the one political space mentioned in the reports is the Transgenial Christopher Street Day, a white-dominated alternative Pride event. Instead of racism, the press focuses on a simple critique of commercialisation. This even though Butler herself was quite clear: ‘I must distance myself from complicity with racism, including anti-Muslim racism.’ She notes that not just homosexuals, but also ‘bi, trans and queer people can be used by those who want to wage war.’
The CSD, via Renate Künast of the Green Party (who appeared to have difficulties pronouncing the award winner’s name and grasping basic aspects of her writings) introduced Butler as a determined critic. Five minutes later, the same critical determination caused the faces of presenters to drop. Rather than engage with the speech in any way, Jan Salloch und Ole Lehmann could think of nothing better than blanketly refuse any charge of racism and attack the ca. 50 queers of colour and allies who had come out in Butler’s support: ‘You can scream all you like. You are not the majority. That’s enough.’ The finale was an imperialist fantasy matched by the backdrop of the Brandenburger Tor: ‘Pride will just continue in its programme... No matter what... Worldwide and here in Berlin... This is how it’s always been and will always be.’
In the past years, racism has indeed been the red thread of international Pride events, from Toronto to Berlin, as well as of the wider gay landscape. In 2008, the Berlin Pride motto was ‘Hass du was dagegen?’, which might translate as ‘You go’ a problem or wha’?’ (with 'Hass' a wordplay on 'hate'). Homophobia and Transphobia are redefined as the problems of youth of colour who apparently don’t speak proper German, whose Germanness is always questioned, and who simply don’t belong. 2008 is also the year that the hate crimes discourse enters more significantly into German sexual politics. Its rapid assimilation was aided by the fact that the hatefully criminal homophobe was already known: migrants, who are already criminalised, and are incarcerated and even deported with ever growing ease. This moral panic is made respectable by dubious media practices and so-called scientific studies: Where every case of violence that can be connected to a gay, bi or trans person (no matter if the apparent perpetrator is white or of Colour, and no matter if the basis is homophobia, transphobia or a traffic altercation) is circulated as the latest proof of what we all know already - that queers, especially white men it seems, are worst off of all, and that ‘the homophobic migrants’ are the main cause for this. This increasingly accepted truth is by no small measure the fruit of the work of homonationalist organizations like the Lesbian and Gay Federation Germany and the gay helpline Maneo, whose close collaboration with Pride ultimately caused Butler to reject the award. This work largely consists in media campaigns that repeatedly represent migrants as ‘archaic’, ‘patriarchal’, ‘homophobic’, violent, and unassimilable. Nevertheless, one of these organizations now ironically receives public funding in order to ‘protect’ people of colour from racism. The ‘Rainbow Protection Circle against Racism and Homophobia’ in the gaybourhood Schöneberg was spontaneously greeted by the district mayor with an increase in police patrols. As anti-racists, we sadly know what more police (LGBT or not) mean in an area where many people of colour also live – especially at times of ‘war on terror’ and ‘security, order and cleanliness.’
It is this tendency of white gay politics, to replace a politics of solidarity, coalitions and radical transformation with one of criminalization, militarization and border enforcement, which Butler scandalizes, also in response to the critiques and writings of queers of colour. Unlike most white queers, she has stuck out her own neck for this. For us, this was a very courageous decision indeed.


20 June, 2010.

SUSPECT is a new group of queer and trans migrants, Black people, people of colour and allies. Our aim is to monitor the effects of hate crimes debates and to build communities which are free from violence in all its interpersonal and institutional forms.

Judith Butler lehnt Berlin CSD Zivilcouragepreis ab!


Presseerklärung von SUSPECT zum 19. Juni

Als Berliner Queer und Trans-of-Colour-AktivistInnen und Verbuendete begrüßen wir die Entscheidung Judith Butlers, den Zivilcouragepreis des Berliner CSD e.V. abzulehnen. Wir freuen uns, dass eine renommierte Theoretikerin die öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit, die ihr zu Gute kommt, nutzt, um Queer-of-Colour-Kritiken gegen Rassismus, Krieg, Grenzen, Polizeigewalt und Apartheid zu würdigen. Wir schätzen vor allem ihren Mut zur Kritik und Skandalisierung der Nähe der Veranstalter zu homonationalen Organisationen. Ihre couragierte Rede ist nicht zuletzt auch das Resultat ihrer Offenheit für neue Anstöße, und ihrer Bereitwilligkeit, sich mit unserer jahrelangen aktivistischen und akademischen Arbeit auseinanderzusetzen, die allzu oft isoliert, prekarisiert, angeeignet und instrumentalisiert wird.

Dies ist auch jetzt schon wieder zu bemerken, denn die People of Colour Organisationen, die ihrer Meinung nach den Preis eher verdient hätten als sie, werden in sämtlichen bisherigen Presseberichten mit keinem Wort erwähnt. Butler bot den Preis laut und deutlich GLADT (, LesMigraS (, SUSPECT und ReachOut ( an, doch die einzige politische Veranstaltung, an die sich Leute erinnern, ist eine weiß dominierte - der transgeniale CSD. Statt Rassismus konzentriert sich die Presse auf eine plumpe Kommerzialismuskritik. Dabei drückte sich Butler ganz klar aus: „In diesem Sinne muss ich mich von der Komplizenschaft mit Rassismus, einschließlich anti-muslimischem Rassismus, distanzieren.“ Sie stellt fest, dass nicht nur Homosexuelle sondern auch „bi, trans, queere Leute benutzt werden können von jenen, die Kriege führen wollen.“

Vorgestellt wurde Butler von Renate Künast (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen) – Laudatorin mit deutlichen Schwierigkeiten, sowohl den Namen der Preisträgerin auszusprechen als auch die Kernaspekte ihrer Schriften zu erfassen, und zwar als beharrliche Kritikerin. Bei den Moderatoren Jan Salloch und Ole Lehmann bewirkte ebendiese Kritik jedoch Gesichtsentgleisung. Anstatt sich in irgendeiner Art mit der Rede auseinanderzusetzen, fiel ihnen nichts anderes ein, als den Vorwurf des Rassismus weit von sich zu weisen und die ca. 50 Queers of Colour und Verbündete, die zu Butlers Unterstützung gekommen waren, mit den Worten zu beschimpfen: „Ihr könnt so laut schreien, wie Ihr wollt, Ihr seid nicht die Mehrheit. Es reicht.“ Dem folgt die zur Kulisse des Brandenburger Tors passende Imperialismusphantasie: „Der CSD macht einfach weiter in seinem Programm.. egal was ist.. weltweit und auch hier in Berlin.. So wird es immer sein und so bleibt es auch.‘

Rassismus ist in der Tat in den vergangen Jahren der rote Faden internationaler CSD-Veranstaltungen, von Toronto bis Berlin, sowie auch der weiteren schwullesbischen Landschaft. Das Berliner CSD Motto 2008: ‚Hass du was dagegen?’ Homophobie und Transphobie werden hier als Probleme von Jugendlichen of Colour umdefiniert, die anscheinend nicht richtig Deutsch können, deren Deutschsein immer hinterfragt bleibt, und die schlicht nicht dazugehören. 2008 ist auch das Jahr, in dem der Hasskriminalitätsdiskurs Einzug in die deutsche Sexualpolitik hält. Dieser Aktivismus war bis dato in Deutschland kaum bekannt. Dennoch wurde Hassgewalt genau deshalb so schnell eindeutscht, weil ja bereits klar war, wer der hasserfüllte kriminelle Homophob ist: Migranten, die eh schon als kriminell gelten und immer leichter ins Gefängnis kommen und auch abgeschoben werden können. Diese Moralpanik wird von dubiosen Medienpraxen begleitet und von sogenannten wissenschaftlichen Studien „belegt“: Wo jeder Fall von Gewalt, mit dem eine homosexuelle, bisexuelle oder Transperson irgend etwas zu tun hat – egal ob der vermeintliche Täter weiß oder of Colour ist, und egal, ob der Hintergrund Homophobie, Transphobie, oder eine Verkehrsstreitigkeit ist, als der neueste Beweis von dem in Umlauf gerät, was wir eh schon alle wissen: Dass Homos (gerade anscheinend weiße Männer) es am allerschwersten haben, und dass ,die homophoben Migranten‘ die Hauptursache hierfür sind. Diese mittlerweile unhinterfragte Wahrheit ist nicht zuletzt auch die Frucht der Arbeit homonationalistischer Organisationen wie dem LSVD und Maneo, deren enge Zusammenarbeit mit dem CSD Butler zur Ablehnung des Preises bewog. Diese Arbeit besteht v.a. aus Medienkampagnen, die Migrant/innen immer wieder als ‚archaisch‘, ‚patriarchal‘, ,homophob‘ und gewalttätig darstellen, und People of Colour in Deutschland als unintegrierbar abstempelt. Dennoch erhält eine dieser Organisationen nunmehr öffentliche Gelder, um People of Colour vor Rassismus schützen. Der ,Regenbogenschutzkreis – Schöneberg gegen Rassismus und Homophobie’ wurde von offizieller Seite prompt mit einer Polizeiverstärkung begrüßt. Als Anti-rassistInnen wissen wir leider zu gut, was mehr Polizei (ob gleichgeschlechtlich oder nicht) in einem Viertel, wo auch viele People of Colour leben, bedeutet – gerade zu Zeiten des „Kriegs gegen den Terror“ und der „Sicherheit, Ordnung und Sauberkeit“.

Genau diese Tendenz weißer schwuler Politik, eine Politik der Solidarität, der Bündnisse und der radikalen Transformation durch eine der Kriminalisierung, Militarisierung und Grenzziehung zu verdrängen, skandalisiert Butler, wohl auch infolge der Kritik und der Schriften von Queers of Colour. Im Gegensatz zu vielen weißen Queers hat sie dafür ihren eigenen Nacken hingehalten. Für uns war dies in der Tat eine mutige Entscheidung.


20. Juni 2010.

Wir sind eine Gruppe von Queer und Trans Migrant/innen, Schwarzen Leuten, People of Colour und Verbündeten. Unser Ziel ist es, die Effekte von Hassgewaltsdebatten kritisch zu beobachten und Communities aufzubauen, die frei von Gewalt in all ihren zwischenmenschlichen und staatlichen Ausprägungen sind.

Active Writings and Resources for Organic Intellectuals (please add!)

Radical movements and individual acts of bravery or brilliance in speaking out against injustice do not come from nowhere but are the result of collective labour and local and transnational histories of organizing. SUSPECT was initially formed in order to monitor the arrival of the racist hate crimes debates in Germany. Recognizing the importance of emancipatory peer education outside the academic industrial complex, we started off as a reading group in the rooms of a local queer of colour NGO in Berlin. In this bibliography, we would like to share some of the resources which we managed to get hold of here. We felt we needed to learn from our siblings and allies in places where the punitive turn of LGBT organizing had already happened. The work of Incite!, the women/trans of colour anti-violence organization in the US, was a particular inspiration to us. We focused on German-speaking texts and texts dealing with the consequences of relying on a criminal ‘justice’ system which disproportionately incarcerates poor people, people of colour, people with mental health problems, and gender non-conforming people – but we know there is lots more out there. Please help us annotate this bibliography and list of resources, and send us further links and references including short descriptions!

Agathangelou, Anna, Bassichis, Morgan, Spira, Tamara (2008), Intimate Investments: Homonormativity, Global Lockdown and the Seductions of Empire, Radical History Review 100: 120-143, (Also see other articles in this resource!)

Aken'Ova, Dorothy (2007), 'African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders Warn Public against Participation in Campaigns Concerning LGBTI Issues in Africa Led by Peter Tatchell and Outrage!', posted on MRZine.

Alliance for a Safe & Diverse DC (2008), Move Along: Policing Sex Work in Washington, D.C. A report by the Alliance for a Safe & Diverse DC, Washington, D.C., Creative Commons: Different Avenues.

Amnesty Int’l USA (2005), Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in the United States,

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Bassichis, Morgan (2007), It's War In Here: A Report on the Treatment of Transgender and Intersex People in New York State Men's Prisons, Sylvia Rivera Law Project,

Bassichis, Morgan, Lee, Alexander and Spade, Dean (forthcoming), 'Building an Abolitionist Trans & Queer Movement with Everything We’ve Got,' in Eric Stanley and Nat Smith (eds.), Captive Genders Anthology.

Bridges, Lee (1993), The Racial Harassment Bill: a missed opportunity, Race & Class 34: 69-71.

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Castro Varela, María do Mar (2009), ‘Migration, Begehren und Gewalt’, Homophobie in der Einwanderungsgesellschaft, URL:

Çelik, Yeliz, Petzen, Jennifer, Yilmaz, Ulaş & Yılmaz-Günay, Koray (2008), ‘Kreuzberg als Chiffre: Von der Auslagerung eines Problems bei der Thematisierung homophober Gewalt’, in Apabiz, MBR (eds.), Berliner Zustände 2008: Ein Schattenbericht über Rechtsextremismus, Rassismus und Homophobie,

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Darkmatter (2008), Special Issue (No. 3) on Postcolonial Sexuality

DeGruy Leary, Joy (2006). Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.

del Moral, Andrea (2005, April 4), 'The Revolution Will Not Be Funded,' Lip Magazine,

Dyer, Carolina Cordero (2000, June 12), The Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation – No Cause to Celebrate,

El Tayeb, Fatima (2003), ‘Begrenzte Horizonte: Queer identity und Festung Europa, in Steyerl, Hito and Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación (eds.), Spricht die Subalterne deutsch? Migration und postkoloniale Kritik, Muenster: Unrast.

Erdem, Esra (2009), 'Feminismus und die Integrationsdebatte,' Hess, S. (eds.), No Integration ?!, Bielefeld: Transkript.

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Gosine, Andil (2008), “Fresh Off the Boat to banana boy: Queer youth cross sex, ‘race,’ nation in Toronto, Canada,” in S. Driver (ed.), Queer Youth Cultures, New York: SUNY.

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Haritaworn, Jin, Tauqir, Tamsila and Erdem, Esra (2007), ‘Queer-Imperialismus: Eine Intervention in die Debatte über “muslimische Homophobie”,’ in K.N. Ha, al-Samarai, N.L. and Mysorekar, S. (eds.), Re/Visionen: Postkoloniale Perspektiven von People of Color auf Rassismus, Kulturpolitik und Widerstand in Deutschland, Münster: Unrast, p. 187-206.

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INCITE! Stop Law Enforcement Violence Tool Kit,

INCITE! (2001), Critical Resistance – INCITE! Statement: Gender Violence and the Prison Industry Complex,

Jindal, Priyank (2004), 'Sites of resistance or sites of racism?', in Mattilda Bernstein (ed.), That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press.

KFPA Radio (2010), Interview by Paola Bacchetta with SUSPECT (19 July 2010)

Kohn, Sally (2002), Greasing the Wheel: How the Criminal Justice System Hurts Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered People and Why Hate Crime Laws Won’t Save Them, New York University Review of Law & Social Change 27: p. 257.

Kumari, Amita (2010), 'Pride through Solidarity', Electronic Intifada, URL:

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Lamble (2008, August), The Queer, Feminist and Trans Politics of Prison,

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(Also see other articles in this special issue.)π=0

Lane, Christopher (2010), 'How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease: An Interview With Jonathan Metzl,' Psychology Today, URL:

Lee, Alexander (2003), Nowhere to go but out: The collision between transgender & gender-variant prisoners and the gender binary in America’s prisons,

Long, Scott (2009), 'Unbearable witness: how Western activists (mis)recognize sexuality in Iran,' Contemporary Politics 15(1): 119-136.

Luibhéid, Eithne (2002), Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Luibhéid, Eithne. (2008) ‘Queer/Migration: An Unruly Body of Scholarship’, GLQ- A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 14 (2-3): 169-190.

Macharia, Keguro (2010), 'Homophobia in Africa is not a single story,' The Guardian (26 May), URL:

Maikey, Haneen and Ritchie, Jason (2009), 'Israel, Palestine, and Queers', MR Zine, URL:

Metzl, Jonathan (2009). The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease.

Migrationsrat in Zusammenarbeit mit SUSPECT/Migration Council with SUSPECT (2010), Special: Homophobie und Rassismus, URL: (Dezember 2010).

Mitchell, Nick (2009), ‘Marriage and Military: Missing the Point of Queer Advancement,’ New American Media Ethno Blog, URL:

Morgensen, Scott Lauria (2010), 'Settler Homonationalism: Theorizing Settler Colonialism within Queer Modernities,' GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 16: 105-131.

Nair, Yasmin (2009), 'Why I won't Come out on National Coming Out Day,' Bilerico Project, URL:

Nair, Yasmin (2006), 'The Gay Movement is Over,' Windy City Times, URL:

Nair, Yasmin (n.d.), 'What's Lef ot Queer? Immigration, Sexuality, and Affect in a Neoliberal World, Immigrant City-Chicago, URL:

Ndashe, Sibongile (2010), 'Laws that criminalise same sex intimacy are making a mockery of our democracies,' Black Looks, URL:

Nisreen and Dayna (2009), 'Palestinian Gays under the Hijab,' Nizreen Mazzawi Blogspot, URL:

Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness and Raciality, York: No Nerve Books, 2008 (Sadly this first academic collection on queer and race in Britain got axed by the publisher after homonationalist backlash in Britain).

Petzen, Jennifer (2008), Gender politics in the New Europe: 'civilizing' Muslim sexualities, Ph.d. Disseration, University of Washington, Seattle.

Petzen, Jennifer (2005), 'Wer liegt oben? Tuerkische und deutsche Maskulinitäten in der schwulen Szene', Ifade (ed.), Insider-Outsider: Bilder, ethnisierte Räume und Partizipation im Migrationsprozess. Bielefeld: Transkript.

Puar, Jasbir K. (2007), Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Durham: Duke University Press. (The book after which this blog was named!)

Puar, Jasbir K. and Rai, Amit (2002), ‘Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots,’ Social Text 20(3): 117-148. (The first article on sexuality and the ‘war on terror’.)

‘Q&A with Jasbir Puar’, Darkmatter Postcolonial Sexuality issue, URL:

Queers for Economic Justice (2010), Act Queer! Teleconference in Queer Organizing URL:

Rage, Raju (2009), 'Why is involving the police in our communities a bad idea?', Race Revolt (British QpoC DIY zine) Vol. 3: 22.

Russell, Martha and Stewart, Jean (2001), 'Disablement, Prison, and Historical Segregation', Monthly Review Zine, URL:

Seehafer, Silvia (2003, January), Strafrechtliche Reaktionen auf rechtsextremistisch/fremdenfeindlich motivierte Gewalttaten – Das amerikanische „hate crime“ Konzept und seine Übertragbarkeit auf das deutsche Rechtssystem, Dissertation, Berlin,

Smith, Andrea (2007), Unmasking the State: Racial/Gender Terror and Hate Crimes, The Australian Feminist Law Journal, 26: 47-57.

Spade, Dean & Willse, Craig (2000), Confronting the Limits of Gay Hate Crimes Activism: A Radical Critique, Chicano-Latino Law Review 21: 38.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Flowchart: Disproportionate Incarceration

Sylvia Rivera Law Project (2009, April 6), SRLP announces non-support of the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

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Young Women's Empowerment Project (2009), Girls Do What They Have To Do To Survive: A Study of Resilience and Survival, URL:

Pembe Hayat Dayanişma LGBTT: Irkçılığın Her Çeşitiyle Suç Ortaklığından Uzak Durmak Zorundayım

Judith Butler: Müslüman karşıtlığı da dahil olmak üzere, ırkçılığın her çeşitiyle suç ortaklığından uzak durmak zorundayım
Geçen ay Kaos GL tarafından düzenlenen Homofobi Karşıtı Buluşma’ya konuk olan ünlü queer teorisyeni ve aktivisti Judith Butler, Berlin Onur Haftası Etkinlikleri sırasında kendisine verilmek istenen Sivil Teşvik Ödülü’nü, Onur Etkinlikleri’ni düzenleyen ekibin ana akım, göçmen ve Müslüman düşmanı tavırlarından ötürü reddetti.
Geçtiğimiz birkaç yıl içerisinde Toronto’dan Berlin’e birçok Uluslararası Onur Haftası Etkinliği’ne ırkçılık damga vurmakta. 2008 yılında Berlin Onur Haftası Etkinlikleri, homofobi ve transfobiyi “düzgün Almanca konuşamayan”, “Almanlıkları sorgulanan”, “oraya ait olmayan” göçmenlerin sebep olduğu sıkıntılar olarak tanımlayarak yola çıkmıştı. Almanya Lezbiyen ve Gey Federasyonu ve gey danışma hattı Maneo gibi homonasyonalist grupların Berlin Onur Haftası Etkinlikleri’ne katılımı, Butler’ın ödülü reddetmesine neden oldu. Göçmenleri “arkaik”, “ataerkil”, “homofobik”, “vahşi” ve “özümsenemeyen” olarak tanımlayan bu gruplar, bir yandan da beyaz olmayan insanları ırkçılıktan sözümona “korumak” için kamudan fon almakta.
Queer teorisyen ve aktivist Judith Butler da kendisine verilmek istenen Sivil Teşvik Ödülü’nü bu sebeple reddetti. “Müslüman karşıtlığı da dahil olmak üzere, ırkçılığın her çeşidiyle suç ortaklığından uzak durmak zorundayım” diye konuşan Butler, sadece eşcinsellerin değil, biseksüel, transeksüel ve queerlerin de savaş yanlısı kimseler tarafından kullanılmaya çalışılabileceğinin altını çizdi.
Siyasi duruşunu ısrarla koruyan Judith Butler’ı dünyanın birçok yerinden LGBTT ve queer örgütleri de destekledi. Biz de kendisinin bu siyasi direnişini destekliyoruz.

Çeviri:Elçin Kurbanoğlu

Letter of Support: from the Safra Project

As activists who work on the frontline, within our communities, on the interconnected issues of sexuality, gender and Islam, Safra Project wishes to appreciate the solidarity Judith Butler has shown in her public denouncement of racism and Islamaphobia that exists in gay organisations during Berlin Pride on 19 June 2010.

We welcome the personal refusal of the Zivilcourage Prize and instead dedicating the Civil Courage Prize to the organisations GLADT(, LesMigraS (, SUSPECT and ReachOut (

The evidence of inciting racism against Muslims and migrants to Germany by the Lesbian and Gay Federation Germany (CSD) and the gay helpline Maneo is exposed.

Thank you Judith for putting yourself on the line as we do everyday.

In solidarity and peace,
Safra Project

'The Safra Project is a resource project on issues relating to lesbian, bisexual & transgender women who identify as Muslim religiously and/or culturally. The Safra Project ethos is one of inclusiveness and diversity. We welcome input from all individuals and groups seeking to combat all forms of prejudice.'

Letter of support from Blockorama Toronto

Dear Judith Butler,

I am one of the organizers of Toronto’s BLOCKORAMA stage, put on by a volunteer group called Blackness Yes!. Since 1998 Blockorama has been a place at Pride Toronto where black queer and trans folks, their allies, supporters and people who love them came together to say no to homophobia in black communities and no to racism in LGBTQ communities. To say Blackness Yes at Pride – loud and proud. Pride Toronto’s inability to lead on racism in the LGBTQ communities and homophobia in black communities sends a strong signal to black queer and trans communities and their allies everywhere.

We have built Blockorama out of love, through sweat and toiling. For 12 years, we have claimed space, resisted erasure, found community, shared memories, built bridges, embraced sexuality, and found home. Blockorama is not just a party or a stage at Pride. It is a meeting place for black queer and trans people across North America- Blockorama is the largest space of its kind at any Pride festival on the continent.

Black queer and trans communities have been central to the diversity of Pride. At the same time Pride Toronto as an organization has continually marginalized those communities. It is indeed those communities that enable Pride to be the celebration of sexual life and freedoms that we all cherish. Pride Toronto’s inability to recognize its own constituencies is not only sad and disappointing it is indeed politically naïve and damaging to the still necessary struggles around sexual freedom in our city, province and country. We have been fighting a battle here in Toronto; one that insists that Black queer and trans people be represented and reflected in the programming at Pride, and in the infrastructure of the Pride Toronto organization. More and more, we are realizing that this may not be possible within Pride Toronto. We remain steadfast in our struggle, and will continue to create space to celebrate Black queer and trans people; resist systemic racism within larger LGBTTIQQ organizing, and resist homo and transphobia within Black and African Diasporic communities- but in future perhaps outside of the official Pride organization and festival.

Pride Toronto has come under a lot of fire this year- and several community activists and leaders have chosen to decline the awards or honours given to them by Pride Toronto in protest of its actions towards Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and its continued marginalization of racialized people. We were recently contacted about similar problems happening at Berlin Pride. We are concerned about the connection between homonationalism, systemic racism, and migrant-phobia that seems deeply inherent in Berlin’s Pride organization.

It seems that many Pride organizations around the world have distanced themselves from so many of the communities that helped build the LGBTTI2QQ activist movements. In North America, racialized queer and trans people, many of whom were street-involved, working class and poor started both the Stonewall and Compton Cafeteria riots that kick-started the “gay liberation movement”. It is on the backs of racialized and working class queer and trans people that mainstream queer organizations like Pride Toronto have been built. Around the world, working class racialized people have often been at the heart of the activism that ushered in more “mainstream” queer organization- yet it is exactly this history that is omitted from Pride celebrations around the world. It is very concerning that in Berlin, these same people have been openly mocked by Pride through slogans, media and left out of programming and organizing.

We are writing to encourage you, and all other honourees at this year’s Berlin Pride to consider pulling your support for an organization that is so openly disrespectful of migrant people and racialized people.

Blackness Yes is committed to creating a space by and for Black/African Diasporic queer and trans people and all of their allies and supporters at Pride. Blockorama will always remain a political space for resistance and celebration, and we stand in solidarity with so many other groups that have been left out or forcibly excluded from Pride organizations here and around the globe.

Thank you,

Syrus Marcus Ware,

Blackness Yes!
Blockorama Coordinating Committee