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My Spivak is bigger than yours: (Mis-)representations of polyamory in the Portuguese LGBT movement and mononormative rhetorics

Cardoso, Daniel (2014) My Spivak is bigger than yours: (Mis-)representations of polyamory in the Portuguese LGBT movement and mononormative rhetorics. Digital Journal on Lesbian Issues, 6. pp. 45-64. ISSN 1647-3868

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Abstract

In this paper, I seek to contextualize the fight for the (already accomplished) legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Portugal within the wider frame of LGBT activism in this country (Cascais, 2006), and in the interplay of several differently positioned activists. Within this frame, I will analyze how the theoretical work of Miguel Vale de Almeida (2008), in seeking to legitimize the fight for monogamous same-sex marriage, seems to have engaged in identitary Othering and misrepresentation vis-à-vis polyamory. Such misrepresentation is contingent to the non-empirical confounding of polyamory and polygamy, along with the essentializing of gendered dynamics in intimate relationships, and the erasure of lesbian and gay ethical non-monogamous relationships. Thus, by deploying similar straw-men fallacies as those used by conservatives to fight against LGBT rights, polyamory is (apparently) successfully critiqued and shown to have to subsume or silence itself to an alleged strategic essentialism required for passing legislation in favor of same-sex marriage. This paper concludes with a reflection of the (political) dangers of petitioning for silence of Othered identities, and how such petitions are based on the same identitary violence and disciplining that LGBT movements have been trying to fight for decades, and that draws on homonationalism, homonormativity and heterosexual privileges to affirm itself.

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