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The Rainbow Flag as Friction: Transnational, Imagined Communities of Belonging among Pakistani LGBTQ Activists

Journal article
Authors Erika Alm
Lena Martinsson
Published in Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research
Volume 8
Issue 3
Pages 218–239
ISSN 2000-1525
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Pages 218–239
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.3384/cu.2000.1525.168...
Keywords rainbow flag, transnational imagined communities, LGBTQ, decolonial activism, Pakistan
Subject categories Gender Studies, Cultural Studies

Abstract

is article analyzes the frictions the rainbow ag creates between transnational, national and translocal discourses and materialities. It focuses on the ambivalent role that the transnational ‘rainbow’ space plays for community building for LG- BTQ activists in in Pakistan. e rainbow ag can function as a way to mobilize an imagined transnational community of belonging, enabling people to politicize their experiences of discrimination as a demand of recognition directed at the sta- te. But it can also enable homonationalism and transnational middle class forma- tions that exclude groups of people, for example illiterates and people perceived of as traditional, such as Khwaja Siras. e article is based on auto-ethnographic re ections on encounters with activists in Pakistan, and critically discusses the problem of feeling ‘too comfortable’, as white, Western, middle-class researchers, exploring ‘imperial narratives’ dominating the feminist and LGBTQ activist trans- national imagined community of belonging. It argues for the importance of recog- nizing the transnational space as a space in its own right, with di erent positions, communities and con icts stretching around the globe.

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