October 6, 2012, in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, an international interdisciplinary conference ‘Queer Sexuality: Policies and Practices’ was held. It was organised by the feminist project ‘Gender Route‘ and advocacy project ‘GayBelarus‘. Conference programme included theoretical papers, research reports and activists’ discussions of their actions. Scholars and activists from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Sweden and Kyrgyzstan took part in the conference.
My aim was to inform the public on my own vision of what queer-theory is about. In my paper, I tried to show how basic assumptions of the theory may contribute to the understanding of political actions and scientific work. In order to explain these points, I used illustrations from Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble. Butler deconstructs feminist movement to demonstrate, how ontological arguments of feminism may produce inequalities. She argues for new configuration of politics that does not require concrete political subjects (such as ‘women’ for feminist politics, ‘LGBT’ for gay and lesbian rights struggle, ‘proletariat’ for workers’ movement). Departing from Butler’s analysis, I offered to look at advocacy practices of LGBT-activists in Russia. Some of them claim that they have many problems due to absence of LGBT-community in Russia. I think that the actual problem is the lack of understanding of how (homo)sexualities may be manifested in our society. Those sexualities may have week ties with what we got used to understand as ‘L’, ‘G’, ‘B’ or ‘T’, mobilised by the activists. I also tried to pose the question of further existence of the theory, now known as ‘queer’, in the academic discourse in the situation when it starts to produce its ‘queer’ political identities and, therefore, loose its theoretical bases.
It was a pleasure to contribute to this wonderful event. Thanks to the organisers!
– Queer –