Editorial: Queer Cultural Producers

Article excerpt

This issue of the Review takes as its starting place a forum that was convened as part of the 2006 Adelaide Feast Festival, a yearly cultural programme featuring local and international LGBTIQ events. The forum marked a second collaboration between the Cultures of the Body Research Group from the University of South Australia and was convened by the outgoing Feast director Fanny Jacobson. It provided an important venue for LGBTIQ issues from within both the academy and community to come together in one place. Speakers presented theoretical analyses, shared personal narratives, screened performance pieces, read poetry and presented artworks for display. What came out of the event was a sense that theory, art and activism are often intimately interwoven in the lives of LGBTIQ people, and that paying attention to just one aspect could result in a failure to understand the breadth and diversity that exists within LGBTIQ communities.

The forum took as its starting place the notion of "queer cultural producers', and the presenters examined, in varying ways, the ways in which queer cultures are produced, how queer cultures destabilise or challenge mainstream cultures, and importantly, how queer cultures destabilise themselves - how the diversity within LGBTIQ communities presents a radical challenge to notions of coalitionism. Nonetheless, the overall message from the forum was that links and supportive frameworks can be developed through a shared commitment to examining and challenging cultural production, in its normative and queer forms.

The papers presented in this issue of the Review demonstrate the breadth of the forum and its attention to cultural production across a range of spaces, both public and intimate. All of the authors call into question the ways in which cultural norms function to produce particular bodies, and importantly the authors turn this critical gaze upon LGBTIQ communities as well as the broader Australian and international community. Covering issues from "same-sex marriage' to representations of gay men in comics, from creative industries and queer cultures in Singapore to narratives of lesbian embodiment, the authors contribute to an understanding of the complex ways in which cultural production takes place, and the multiple ways in which cultures themselves can be read.

In the first paper Audrey Yue, the keynote speaker at the forum, examines how the development of creative industries within Singapore represents an "illiberal pragmatics', whereby queer people are included in some respects and excluded in others. Questioning the hegemony of the "post-Stonewall' logic of queer liberation, Yue asserts the specificities of queer cultural production in Singapore, and its role in the queering of Singapore itself.

Barbara Baird takes up the issue of postStonewall politics in her insightful paper on "gay marriage'. Baird places this term under question in order to examine how calls for "same-sex marriage rights' may be understood as an aspect of the normalisation of queer rights that have persisted in varying forms in the Western world since Stonewall. Baird challenges us to consider how the "sex' in "same-sex' disappears when marriage becomes all about the "respectable same-sex couple'. Baird's paper is a salient reminder of the complexities of debates over queer rights and their location within broader political and personal economies whereby the "pink dollar' plays a significant role in the production of particular (dominant) queer cultures. …