Homonormativity Inside Out: Reading Race and Sexuality Into an LGBT Film Festival Opening Gala
This chapter explores how racial discourses inform notions of sexuality by critically unpacking audience reactions to an opening gala film screening at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival in Toronto. Specifically, I question how audience reactions mobilize dominant discourses of race and sexuality that silence and Other those who threaten the inherently unstable white gay identity. I ask how race and sexuality are regularly implicated in (re)producing a whitened homonormativity that excludes racialized bodies from gay or queer sexuality. I argue that along with the dominant white subject, non-white gays are implicated in (re)producing homonormativity’s racial itinerary and consolidate whiteness in ways that permeate racial boundaries. By way of praxis, I reflect on how I employed a strategy of decentring whiteness to bring awareness to how sexuality is regularly (re)produced as white, and especially how non-dominant or racialized bodies also reproduce homonormativity. Throughout this chapter I employ a narrative structure, in which I weave personal reflections as well as the issues the film surfaced in the audience members with whom I engaged, to illustrate the racial discourses used by dominant and non-dominant gay subjects to regularly reify a singular, white shade of gay.
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