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, March 22, 2009

Queer French | Introduction and Chapter 1: An Assault on French Gay Culture

excerpts taken from: Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France
_Denis M. Provencher

Is there a "universal gay identity?"

The emergence of various North-Atlantic constructions of gay culture has resulted in the circulation of a 'universal gay identity' across various national boundaries. Both print and electronic media have helped to transmit this 'universal gay identity.' (Specifically Gai-Pied and TÊTU in France).

Têtu appeared on French newsstands in July 1995 and represents the most recent attempt among politically engaged French sexual citizens to establish a national gay magazine geared specifically toward a gay male and to a lesser extent lesbian readership. (Started with the financial support of Yves Saint-Laurent) (p. 32).

Being 'Gay' in French Culture and lesbian movements around the world: 'demonstrate a Foucauldian point - they are both a part of and apart from the societies around them, both resisting and participating in - even reproducing - dominant public discourses' (p. 33). (* Read from top of page 34).

'French Singularity' is due to a spirit of universalism in France that stems from centralized, hierarchical control. In theory, French egalitarian philosophy provides a sweeping, universal experience/outlook for the French citizen regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

...unlike US gays and lesbians who exhibit a strong sense of individualism and at times identify so closely with their sexual identity that it is seen as a kind of 'ethnic' separateness, gays and lesbians in France see themselves, first and foremost, as citizens of the French republican state (p. 34).

As soon as the homosexual transgresses the boundaries of the private - leaves the closet of the ghetto - to claim social, civil and fiscal rights (or, even more alarming, the right to parenthood), the institutions of family and nation are threatened. Institutionalized homophobia is not triggered, as in the US and Canada, by traditional moral values, but by a 'demand for assimilation' that, in French opinion, contradicts a life-style that is out of the ordinary...In this context, French gays and lesbians demand 'equal' and not specialized rights in order to address French universalism, heteronormativity, and homophobia (18).

Important examples from the text:

(Read from p. 40): "Voici 12 choses que vous ne pourrez plus..."

(and from p. 42): "Les différences entre hétéros et homos"

...studying sexual languages in terms of grammar, discourse and text-making - not just words and phrases - draws attention to the tensions between sexual politics (that is, the social contestation of sexual ideologies and practices) and sexual desires and to the effects these tensions have on a speaker's understanding of his or her own sexual subjectivity (23).

(and from p. 44): McDonalds

Think about the PaCS example as well. Did homosexuals gain the right to have civil unions through their identity category in this case?

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