(Un)Holy Alliance: Islamism & the Gay International

Desiring Arabs I‘ve waited half a year for this book to come out. But now that it has come out, I‘m too busy to read it. What a crap! But let’s have a sneak preview:

A puritanical Islamism (and secular conservatism, at times) borrowing most of its puritanism from Western Christianity and Western conservatism built up an unwitting alliance with the crusading Gay International in identifying people who practice certain forms of sex. The Gay International and the Islamists agreed that such practitioners must be identified. Where they disagreed was on whether they should be identified and endowed with rights and accorded the protection of the state, as the Gay International demands, or identified, repressed, and subjected to the punishment of the state, as the Islamists and other conservatives demand. In the history of Western homosexuality, as Michel Foucault noted, the discourses of power that produced and controlled „homosexuality“ made „possible the formation of a ‚reverse‘ discourse: homosexuality began to speak in its own behalf, to demand that its legitimacy or ‚naturality‘ be acknowledged, often in the same vocabulary, using the same categories by which it was medically disqualified.“ As we saw in this chapter, a similar operation was repeated in the Arab world when Islamists adopted the very same vocabulary and classifications of the Gay International to disqualify the very same gayness that the Gay International had been trying to legitimize. Making the state the arena where sexual practices are transformed into identities was indeed the novelty that the last two decades have fostered. In a context where the state has been the enforcer of repression of society at large, the Islamist call is consistent with such a role. What is ironic is that the state would be called upon by the Gay International, which is seeking liberation from repression but who claim it as the liberating organ.

Joseph A. Massad, Desiring Arabs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 265.