The Global Politics of Pride: LGBTQ+ Activism, Assimilation and Resistance
Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship
Gay Pride (more commonly referred to as Pride) originated in the United States in 1970. As a specific festival, season of public events and site of protest, Pride aims to celebrate and affirm the LGBTQ+ community, generate greater visibility and campaign for increased rights. Now held in over 200 towns and cities across the world, Pride festivals attract millions of attendees every year and have been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights activism. However, in recent years Pride has become controversial, with its political and social purpose widely debated by LGBTQ+ groups and in the media. In the West, LGBTQ+ and other activists have protested against Pride for its perceived commercialisation, militarisation and de-politicisation.
The existing research on Pride generally focuses on the West, and neglects other global contexts. My research focuses on the global politics of Pride, in particular examining the politics of Pride in non-Western and global south contexts. Pride events in Asia, Africa and Latin America are both significant forms of protest for LGBTQ+ rights, and key moments when the state and other forces demonstrate homophobic harassment and repression. The research has involved attending Pride events in South Africa, India, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and Cuba. By talking with activists, attendees and policy makers, and analysing local media coverage, I interrogate the various political purposes of Pride, the issues Pride encompasses in transnational and local terms, any controversies about Pride and how queer activism manifests across global contexts.