Thursday, June 19, 2008
Conceptualizing the relationship between sexuality and democracy requires not only an interrogation of both terms, but also an exploration of the ways in which democracy seeks to accommodate and appropriate the sexual. Recent litigation and legislation regarding same-sex relationships in South Africa casts a spotlight on the interaction between sexuality and democracy, but the illumination is partial. It is necessary to explore sexuality in a broader context, including discomfiting sexual practices, as a matter of the democratic constitutional norms of equality and dignity. Otherwise, a sentimentalized version of sexuality, with certain lesbians and gay men installed as a model minority, threaten to become the democratic standard.