My Trouble with Queer

Roman Kuhar


Gay Bosnians are struggling with the (US-based) concept of ‘coming out’. Homosexuality here is shameful and is only possible when it is secret, hidden, anonymous. My problem with queer theory and activism is not the theory itself. Indeed queer theory’s most important contribution is to disclose how the gay movement of the 1970s and 1980s only dealt with white gay male experience, thus centralising some identities and marginalising others. However my problem (or, to be more exact, my concern or maybe my own ignorance) is how to translate queer theory into the practice of everyday politics, especially in the
postwar areas of the former Yugoslavia. As yet, it seems that the (radical) US queer model does not translate well into those societies on the doorstep of the European Union (EU). Even so, as someone at the Queer Zagreb conference mentioned, New York and San Francisco are not the USA, which means that ‘queering’ in some other parts of the country would provoke similar hostile reactions, or, to put it differently, one can find Bosnia in many parts of the USA. The million-dollar question, therefore, is how to translate the queer sensibility of identities into policy papers and government resolutions.


Bosnia; homosexuality; queer identity; queer theory; identity; activism; coming out; United States

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