Building the Gay Future on Stolen Land August 25, 2011Posted by Summerspeaker in Queer politics, Transhumanism.
This morning I read “Settler Homonationalism” by Scott Lauria Morgensen. The experience proved intense. Morgensen draws on Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages and Native studies to call for a critical exploration of how contemporary queer subjects come from the context of and either implicitly or explicitly support the colonial project. Morgensen provides a sweeping overview of U.S. history in order to show how Anglo-American settlers coded Native population as queer and used this as a justification for domination through terror. The accounts of how Native groups such as the Crow protecting members who didn’t conform to Ango-American gender norms almost brought tears to my eyes. Normative modern sexuality results from this process of straightening out Native peoples.
Morgensen supports Michel Foucault’s notion that the rise of the modern nation-state marked a shift from power based on the right to kill to power based on fostering life. The biopolitics of engendering white settler growth and success went alongside the narrative of Native peoples as always already disappearing and destined to fade away. By embracing inclusion into the U.S. state while ignoring or downplaying its colonial nature, the queer movement can naturalize the dispossession and marginalization of Native groups. Appropriation of Native culture by non-Native queers adds a further problematic element. In this way Morgensen’s label of settler homonationalism becomes appropriate.
This afternoon I saw a non-Native member of the local Queer Straight Alliance drape eirself in a rainbow U.S. flag in order to attract recruits to the organization. I felt a little sad. Perhaps a hour later I biked down to a protest against development on the San Francisco Peaks, which are sacred to Native groups such as the Apache, Dineh, Hopi, Hualapai, and Yavapai.
Colonialism hasn’t ended. The dispossession and marginalization of Native peoples continues daily. Any movement concerned with social justice in the Americas must confront this dynamic and find ways to further the process of decolonization.
Both the mainstream GLBT and transhumanist movements tacitly support settler colonialism in their embrace of whiteness, capitalism, and the U.S. nation-state.