Understanding LGBTQ inter-ethnic sociality in London
(Birkbeck College, University of London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper aims to ethnographically explore inter-ethnic sociality in London LGBTQ 'targeted' sites via the lens of sexual health outreach, while focussing on the instances and dynamics in which encounters exceed outreach communication, opening up to spaces of potentiality.
Paper long abstract:
Considering cultural participation sites in LGBTQ London, within the range of such spaces as 'urban' and 'world' club nights, particular religious groups and bath-houses, subjects from 'ethnic minorities' background or descent who articulate same-sex desire, appear to be explicitly and implicitly targeted in various capacities and exclusively addressed to as either particularly 'ethnic-bound', or in absence, as 'assimilated' Londoners. Within the context of HIV/sexual health outreach in the aforementioned sites, ethnographic research is employed to 'queer' the regulation of embedded norms in 'admission's policies', 'dress code', 'target grouping' and 'outreach action', as normative tools enforced through contemporary technologies of containment. Participant observation in HIV prevention outreach reveals an opening to the potentiality of everyday interaction occurring in the 'peri-performative' (Sedgwick, 2003) space of these sites, where communication's normative objectives are not met. Referring to critiques of 'epidemiological' and 'tropical' approaches in the understanding of HIV and migratory patterns (Patton, 2000), this paper proposes to look beyond the lens of sexual health in order to critique the ways bodies are hierarchically positioned in relation to each other during outreach activity. Therefore, I juxtapose a 'queer diasporic', intersectionally informed analysis (ibid.) to the prioritisation of lines of difference as exclusive to one another. Lastly, this paper aims to challenge the institutionalisation of such spaces through hegemonic discourses around safety, suspicion and surveillance, by focussing on the potential ways encounters exceed the targeting model, through 'flesh'. (Esposito, 2002)
Same-sex sexualities and ethnic minorities in Europe (Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality and the European Network for Queer Anthropology)