This article analyzes the work of Palestine's most established queer rights organization, alQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, to reveal the political power of being queer in Palestine. It argues that an open, feminist, queer space such as alQaws is a productive site to think and practice decolonization. Relying on the author's direct involvement with the group, the article traces the development of queer Palestinian thought to provide a critique of queer politics in Palestine: it recounts how since the establishment of the organization in 2001, alQaws activists have increasingly transcended exclusivist gay identifications and rejected singling out sexuality as a discrete site of oppression disconnected from Zionist settler colonialism. The discussion covers Israeli pinkwashing and its counter, Palestinian pinkwatching; it deconstructs pinkwashing narratives, rejects the myth of the colonial savior, and reveals how discourses of sexual progress reproduce Zionist colonialism. It also documents alQaws's challenge to normalizing development discourse.
Decolonial Queering: The Politics of Being Queer in Palestine
Walaa Alqaisiya is a doctoral student in the Department of Human Geography at Durham University. Her research examines the meanings of queer(ing) spaces within the current Palestinian context and their relevance in relation to decolonial geographies and imaginaries. She has worked with various groups and nongovernmental organizations in Palestine, including Youth Against Settlements and the International Palestinian Youth League. Along with other members of alQaws, she has participated in Decolonizing Sexualities Network, a project funded by the United Kingdom's Arts and Humanities Research Council.
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Walaa Alqaisiya; Decolonial Queering: The Politics of Being Queer in Palestine. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 May 2018; 47 (3): 29–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2018.47.3.29
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