Presentation Title

Dropping the H-bomb’: Marriage, Language and Queering the Normative

Presenter Name

Sharif Mowlabocus

Presenter Title/Affiliation

Fordham University

Start Date

21-5-2021 2:30 PM

Event Name

Panel discussion

Panel Number

6

Panel Chair Name

William Leap

Zoom URL to Join

https://ciis.zoom.us/j/96687109619

Zoom Meeting ID

966 8710 9619

Abstract

When it comes to discussions of homonormativity, rare is it that you will read an article or book chapter that does not mention same-sex marriage. This is unsurprising given the fact that Lisa Duggan (2002) identified the right to marry as a key interest for those invested in what she termed ‘the new homonormativity’. In defining homonormativity, Duggan name-checked the likes of Bruce Bawer, Andrew Sullivan and the Log Cabin Republicans as examples of a gay and lesbian movement politically (and financially) invested in same-sex marriage legislation - often at the expense of other social justice issues. While offering an important counter to the rhetoric of Sullivan and his kind, subsequent critiques of homonormativity have fixated on same-sex marriage as a concept, rather than as a lived practice. Yet it is only through an examination of same-sex marriage as it is practiced today that we can begin to understand the ambivalent politics of such unions.

In this presentation, I draw on data from in-depth interviews with forty British men involved in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership. Focusing on their responses to the question “how do you refer to each other?”, I explore the politics of marital terminology and examine when, where and why participants choose (not) to ‘drop the H-bomb’ (‘husband’). My research illustrates the ways in which same-sex marriage in the UK represents both a privatizing force for homosexual relationships and a publicizing of queer desire. With marriage conferring a new form of visibility on gay (male) couples, I discuss how my interviewees negotiate, mitigate and celebrate this new status in public.

Through this example of ‘marital language’ in action, I draw attention to the need for a more complex, nuanced and ‘grounded’ interrogation of homonormativity; one that calls into question the boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private’, between ‘political’ and ‘domesticated’, and between queerness’ and ‘homonormativity’.

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May 21st, 2:30 PM May 21st, 3:00 PM

Dropping the H-bomb’: Marriage, Language and Queering the Normative

When it comes to discussions of homonormativity, rare is it that you will read an article or book chapter that does not mention same-sex marriage. This is unsurprising given the fact that Lisa Duggan (2002) identified the right to marry as a key interest for those invested in what she termed ‘the new homonormativity’. In defining homonormativity, Duggan name-checked the likes of Bruce Bawer, Andrew Sullivan and the Log Cabin Republicans as examples of a gay and lesbian movement politically (and financially) invested in same-sex marriage legislation - often at the expense of other social justice issues. While offering an important counter to the rhetoric of Sullivan and his kind, subsequent critiques of homonormativity have fixated on same-sex marriage as a concept, rather than as a lived practice. Yet it is only through an examination of same-sex marriage as it is practiced today that we can begin to understand the ambivalent politics of such unions.

In this presentation, I draw on data from in-depth interviews with forty British men involved in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership. Focusing on their responses to the question “how do you refer to each other?”, I explore the politics of marital terminology and examine when, where and why participants choose (not) to ‘drop the H-bomb’ (‘husband’). My research illustrates the ways in which same-sex marriage in the UK represents both a privatizing force for homosexual relationships and a publicizing of queer desire. With marriage conferring a new form of visibility on gay (male) couples, I discuss how my interviewees negotiate, mitigate and celebrate this new status in public.

Through this example of ‘marital language’ in action, I draw attention to the need for a more complex, nuanced and ‘grounded’ interrogation of homonormativity; one that calls into question the boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private’, between ‘political’ and ‘domesticated’, and between queerness’ and ‘homonormativity’.

https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/lavlang/2021/friday/1