chapter  11
Corporeal Silences and Bodies that Speak: The Promises and Limitations of Queer in Lesbian/Queer Sexual Spaces
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Queer emerged from the rubble of the gay liberationist agenda of the 1970s and 1980s. Gay liberationism, which was akin to an ethnic identity model (Seidman 1994), espoused and embraced ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ as core sites for mobilisation and used a ‘politics of normalization’ (Meeks 2001) for assimilation purposes (although lesbian feminists were carving out their own separatist politics and community). Yet, it soon became clear that the mobilising force of ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ and the notion of a unitary gay identity could only be sustained via the refutation of difference. For instance, sex rebels and lesbians and gay men of colour challenged queer solidarity by showing that this ‘liberation’ was in fact based on a white (male) middle class subject (Hemphill 1991) who was, relatively speaking, sexually ‘normal’. As a result, this ‘gay subject’ could no longer hold as the anchor for the gay and lesbian movement.