This website is an interactive academic
tool for CEA-UNH course:
Gay Paris:
Culture, Society, & Urban Sexual Identity

CEA GlobalCampus | Spring 2009
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Can One Be 'Gay' and French?

excerpts from Thomas J.D. Amrecht's article in "The Gay & Lesbian Review," May-June 2005.

"To become an organized force and to effect change in the United States, queer people have had to identify themselves as a 'community' analogous to women, African-Americans, or other minorities. This kind of identity-based politics is known as either communitarianism or particularism in France, and is generally seen to be at odds with the universalist ideals upon which the Republic was founded, ideals considered to be a direct legacy of the Enlightenment." (p. 20)

"Grossman and Miclo contend that being homosexual has no meaning in French society: 'What does it mean to be homosexual? In the French Republic, neither more nor less than it means to be heterosexual. Happily so. As soon as the State gets involved in the private life or the morality of its citizens, one can be sure that the worst will happen.' What the authors do not seem to realize is that being homosexual does have meaning in France: it still means both cultural and legal disenfranchisement to some degree. They ignore the fact that the State is already involved in the life and morals of its citizens, although for most citizens (i.e., those heterosexuals who enjoy full enfranchisement in the culture and under the law), this involvement is usually invisible...

The legality of homosexual marriage is still in question in France...An even more blatant example of lingering discrimination in France are laws governing adoption, which do not recognize the rights of unmarried couples (including opposite-sex couples) to adopt, even if one member of the couple is the child's biological parent. The fact that French gay people can neither marry nor adopt proves that, contrary to Grossman and Miclo's assertions, being homosexual does have a particular meaning - a negative one - in the French Republic." (p. 21)

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