Cultural Strategies and Political Challenges in Southeast Asian Queer and Trans Communities
Time & LocationSession 6
Thu 11:00–12:30 Room 1.103
- Peter A. Jackson Australian National University
- Peter A. Jackson Australian National University
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- A Lexicon of Beloved Men: Genderqueer/Transfeminine Perspectives on Masculinity in Current LGBTQ Vernacular Poetry in the Philippines Jaya Jacobo University of the Philippines
How do genderqueer/transfeminine poets writing in the languages of the Philippine archipelago craft their poetic personas in relation to their amorous objects, particularly, men? This paper seeks to intuit the lover’s discourse that can be assembled from the 1st GlobalGRACE (Gender and Cultures of Equality)-University of the Philippines National LGBTQ Writers Workshop held in the monsoon of 2018. Close reading poems written in Tagalog/Filipino, Bikol, Rinconada, and Kinaray-a, I explore the various ways in which gender and sexuality are interrogated when these categories are traversed in the imagination of genderqueer/transfeminine romance, particularly when “beloved men” (lalaking mahal) are troped in a certain way, that is, from the Philippine dispositions of “bakla”, “bading”, “bayot”, “binabae”, and “agi.” What happens to the predicament of violence and the terms of toxicity which overdetermine the Filipino male before the revision of his image in genderqueer/transfeminine poetics? Does their/her persona let the beloved man speak? If so, what kinds of Filipino masculinities are narrated and described in such a queer/trans opportunity? And finally, what then becomes of love (pagmamahal/pag-ibig/gugma/pagkamoot/pagpadangat) in these poetic engagements?
- Exploring Queer Models of Affective Companionship and Solidary with LGBTQ Allies in (and Beyond) the Philippines Mark Johnson University of London
Kate Ramil De La Salle University
The idea and concept of LGBTQ allies is now widely recognised and discussed in the context of North America especially. It commonly refers to cis gendered / heterosexual women and men who challenge forms of queer/transphobia and support publically gender and sexual equalities. While there is a growing body of literature to suggest that active and visible allies within educational institutions are associated with more inclusive and safer spaces for LGBTQ+ people there are also critical voices that raise questions about whether and how putative allies and alliances simultaneously reinforce systems of hetero / cis gendered privilege and elide critical differences between people in terms of what is at stake in their commitments to and participation in equality practices.
In this paper we want to ask a different but related set of questions about how the concept of queer allies travel and circulate beyond its North American contexts and within the Philippines in particular. How might the premises of queer & cis / heterogendered allies be troubled by different regimes of various eroticised genders? In what ways might the notion of queer – straight alliances stabilise rather than contribute to the undoing of categorical boundaries that produce the conditions of possibility for socially differentiated subject positions? Finally, what alternative models of affective companionship and solidarity might be imagined?
- Indonesia’s Two Sexual Moral Panics Compared: 1965 and 2018 Saskia Wieringa University of Amsterdam
In 1965 the first sexual moral panic was created in Indonesia: the slander that communist women would have castrated and killed army generals. This moral panic served to help legitimize the rise to power of General Suharto and incited militias to murder possibly one million people. Since late 2015 another sexual moral panic is raging. It is again directed from above by political and religious elites. This time the LGBT community is targeted. Though same-sex relations between consenting adults has never been criminalized, and Indonesia has been known as relatively tolerant of homosexuality, raids on gay saunas and bars are held, and lesbian couples evicted from their boarding houses. Activists are targeted, foreign funding is blocked, and anti-LGBT legislation is being prepared. In this paper I will compare both campaigns, discuss the political and religious motivations behind them, as well as the underlying patriarchal forms of heteronormativity.
- Timidity and Excess: The Postconfessional Poetry of Young Filipino LGBTQs Jose Neil Carmelo Garcia University of the Philippines
The GlobalGRACE-University of the Philippines National LGBTQ Writers Workshop took place in July of 2018. Focusing on the genre of poetry, it was the first in a four-year series of competitive and national workshops devoted to LGBTQ creative writing by young Filipino LGBTQs. This paper seeks to examine the aesthetic strategies deployed in the anglophone poetry suites from this workshop under the rubric of postconfessionalism. This critical term refers to a kind of self-aware poiesis or “making,” in which the confessional “I,” the anguished “self” who expresses and unbosoms a personal shame, is understood to be the performative effect of the repetitive citation of the confessional norm, and it is this very performativity that produces the illusion of autobiographical self-presence. Hence, postconfessionalism is a deliberate kind of autobiographical writing, that understands the confessional lyric in terms not of experiential accuracy, but rather of the artistically realized simulation of the supposedly faithful relationship between life and art. As a literary form, the postconfessional poem willfully aspires to create powerful personal fictions or “myths”—in this case, of the LGBTQ self—couched in lyric expressions that may be seen to oscillate between timidity or understatement on one hand, and excess or hyperbole on the other. A close historicist reading of the poems will suggest the possible reasons why these are the expressions being favored by young Filipino LGBTQ poets today.
This regionally comparative, cross disciplinary panel of four paper presentations will focus on some of the key political and cultural challenges facing lesbian, gay, trans and queer (LGBTQ) communities across Southeast Asia today. It will also explore some of the cultural and other strategies that gender and sexual minorities and their allies in the region and internationally draw upon in resisting minoritisation and attempting to establish safe and secure spaces for Southeast Asian LGBTQ people within often homophobic and transphobic social and political settings. The paper presentations will concentrate on the contemporary situations in the Philippines and Indonesia, while the chair/discussant will provide comparative viewpoints from the perspective of LGBTQ communities in mainland Southeast Asia. Our panel will include scholars from Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia and disciplinary perspectives will include political and cultural history, anthropology as well as literature and cultural studies.