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5 - Sexuality and Empowerment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 November 2020

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Summary

Abstract

This chapter shows how the sexualization of grassroots practices resists against the desexualization of the institutionalized lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) movement. It studies how activists reappropriate forms of sexualization in order to give meaning to their militant participation by repoliticizing sexuality. These practices may be decentralized, dissident, or even marginal, yet they “reenchant” LGBTQ mobilizations. Though they may seem of little significance compared to the dominant trend in the movement, such practices convey a politics of emotions that is in keeping with the role of desire and pleasure in the politicization of LGBTQ sexualities.

Keywords: LGBTQ movement desexualization, grassroots LGBTQ activism, repoliticization of sexuality, LGBTQ mobilization reenchantment, politics of emotions, desire and pleasure in politics

Let us now look at the ways in which activists appropriate forms of sexualization to instill more meaning into their activism. With this in mind, this chapter will analyze various initiatives in favor of the “sexual reenchantment” of LGBTQ mobilizations. Often these actions rely on forms of organization that are decentralized, weakly institutionalized, and break away from the dominant discourse and normalized trend of the movement. They frequently operate through repertoires of action such as LGBTQ sociability networks, countercultural practices, or the subversion of the movement's official actions. Another major question is that of young people's sexuality – a stumbling block for many pro-LGBTQ rights discourses that seek to dodge the risk of stigma inherent in this highly incendiary issue.

These types of action invite us to rethink the boundary between the politicization of intimacy and hedonistic solipsism. Does merely raising the question of nonconforming or disqualified sexualities in the public sphere amount to an advancement of the LGBTQ social movement? In order to answer these questions, this chapter investigates (more or less collective) approaches and (more or less organized) groups that address intergenerational sexual relations, sex in public or, somewhat surprisingly, the commercialization of queer eroticism. In order to identify and situate this boundary between politics and solipsism, I focus here on the question of subjectivity: Which mobilizations reflect intimate experience and generate a sense of empowerment in social actors?

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Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Sexuality and Empowerment
  • Guillaume Marche
  • Book: Sexuality, Subjectivity, and LGBTQ Militancy in the United States
  • Online publication: 21 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9789048528646.006
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  • Sexuality and Empowerment
  • Guillaume Marche
  • Book: Sexuality, Subjectivity, and LGBTQ Militancy in the United States
  • Online publication: 21 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9789048528646.006
Available formats
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To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Sexuality and Empowerment
  • Guillaume Marche
  • Book: Sexuality, Subjectivity, and LGBTQ Militancy in the United States
  • Online publication: 21 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9789048528646.006
Available formats
×