“The Psychic Life of Racism in Gay Men’s Communities” edited by Damien W. Riggs— Privilege and Marginalization

Riggs, Damien W. (editor). “The Psychic Life of Racism in Gay Men’s Communities”, (Critical Perspectives on the Psychology of Sexuality, Gender, and Queer Studies), Lexington, 2017.

Privilege And Marginalization

Amos Lassen

“The Psychic Life of Racism in Gay Men’s Communities” deals with complexity of mapping out the operations of “racialized desire” as it exists among gay men. In order to explore this, the contributors to this volume examine the intersections of privilege and marginalization in the context of gay men’s lives, and in doing so argue that as much as experiences of discrimination on the basis of sexuality are shared among many gay men, experiences of discrimination within gay communities are just as common. By focusing specifically on race, the contributors give insight as to how hierarchies, inequalities, and practices of exclusion strengthen the central position for certain groups of gay men at the expense of other groups.

In considering how racial desire operates within gay communities, the contributors connect contemporary struggles for inclusion and recognition with ongoing histories of marginalization and exclusion. The book disputes the claim that gay communities are primarily organized around acceptance and homogeneity and shows us instead that there are both considerable diversity and ongoing tensions that affect gay men’s relationships with one another.

This is a very timely account of gay white racism, with much needed attention to Islamophobia, homonationalism, and sexual racism in today’s’ digital age. We see the continued importance of contesting libertarian accounts of racialized sexual desire by looking at the lines between individual subjectivities and the power structures that shape them. Besides acknowledging the continuities between racism in general and gay racism, in particular, it looks at specific articulations, enactments, and effects in diverse gay men’s communities and these include resistance to and even appropriations of racism.

We hear from new voices that give new life to discussions on racism in gay men’s communities. We are reminded of the difficulties many face when race and sexuality come together.

Leave a Reply