Bumps in the Map: The Infrastructure of LGBT and Queer Activist Subjectivities in the Middle East and North Africa
The literature on LGBT international advocacy work raises important concerns about the power imbalance between Global North and Global South actors. Scholars have documented the ‘flattening’ process by which identity-based professional LGBT NGOs seeking donor funds cram together three sexual orientations and one gender identity under the acronym LGBT, presenting non-normative and queer populations as if they were a homogeneous community. Focusing on Lebanon’s and the MENA region’s largest LGBT NGO, this paper examines the dynamics of and the resistance against this flattening process and how queer feminist and trans activists are putting bumps back into the map beyond the politics of representation.
Janine Clark is a Professor in the Department of Political Science. Her work focuses on decentralization and local politics, Islamist movements, civil society activism and women and politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Currently, she is working on a project examining trans-regional LGBT and queer activism in the MENA.
Maya El Helou is a PhD candidate at the Department of Anthropology in a collaborative program with Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. Her theoretical interest revolve around necropolitics, queer theory, embodiment, temporality, and spatiality along with urban infrastructure.