Propagation Of The Homo-Norm

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Separating certain aspects of one’s life from mainstream media is becoming quite a complex task. Wherever we go, we are filled with images and statements plastered on billboards, television programs, the internet, films, and magazines. Over the past ten years, the slowly growing image of the LGBTQI community on these mainstream media outlets has created quite a storm, as well as an image and identity for what a member of the lesbian and gay community should look and act like to the public. In a sense, it is trying to project individualism, yet perpetuates herd mentality. In other words, the image of a successful, Western, Caucasian, mainly male and mainly Christian homosexual has been packaged and delivered to the world.

Furthermore, corporations have been crucial in selling this identity to the mass public and the LGBT community, making it an often classist and racist space.  This phenomenon can be perceived in gay public spaces and merchandise, such as clothing, accessories, and the mainstream entertainment culture.  By selling the gay identity, corporations immediately exclude a big sector of the community from the pre-packaged presentation of what lesbian or gay should look like, enjoy, and be. Expanding on what was previously mentioned, the projected identity is that of an affluent, white, and Western individual, which completely disregards all other cultural and ethnic specificities. The long list of examples includes but is not limited to: Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, George Michael, Neil Patrick Harris, T.R. Knight, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Maddow, Rosie O’Donnell, and the list goes on and on.

This ideology of the rich and white homosexual makes the assumption that any member of the LGBTQI community who does not fill these criteria immediately belongs to a nation or culture that is either sexist or homophobic.  For example, while discussing the issue of Israeli LGBTQI vs. Palestinian LGBTQI, the international community falls into the trap of siding with the country that seems more progressive and democratic when it comes to LGBTQI or women’s rights, seemingly overshadowing the fact that Israel is a colonial apartheid state (for further information, read the queer Arab statement against Israel’s Pinkwashing: Therefore, the Western image and identity promote the colonialist ideology that the West can save the ‘poor religious backward people’ – as if the solution to everything lies in adopting Western ideologies, values, and clothes. Becoming the mass propaganda of the LGBTQ community on mainstream channels, this exclusivity encourages those who do not fit into this picture to replace their identity with the Eurocentric framework (whose values are regarded as a  ‘superior’ standard by which other cultures are judged and scrutinized) in order to belong.

In a world where the image of a ‘good gay’ is represented daily in the mainstream media as the modern, progressive and wealthy Westerner, as opposed to all other characteristics considered regressive, there is a need for a paradigm shift to allow for the rest of the spectrum to exist. Outside of this oppressive stereotype, a deconstruction of the image of the white homosexual should be initiated in order to allow others identifying as homosexuals to fit in the larger public picture. For as history has shown, with every identity comes a counter-identity(ies), and the objective should be to make room for the presence of different cultures and forms of expression in order to break the exclusivity of how homosexuality is understood and represented.

– Contributed by شنيكوة / Shaniqua

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