In my 2007 monograph Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (hereafter TA), I develop the conceptual frame of “homonationalism” for understanding the complexities of how “acceptance” and “tolerance” for gay and lesbian subjects have become a barometer by which the right to and capacity for national sovereignty is evaluated. I had become increasingly frustrated with the standard refrain of transnational feminist discourse as well as queer theories that unequivocally stated, quite vociferously throughout the 1990s, that the nation is heteronormative and that the queer is inherently an outlaw to the nation-state. While the discourse of American exceptionalism has always served a vital role in U.S. nation-state formation, TA examines how sexuality has become a crucial formation in the articulation of proper U.S. citizens across other registers like gender, class, and race, both nationally and transnationally. In this sense, homonationalism is an analytic category deployed to understand and historicize how and why a nation's status as “gay-friendly” has become desirable in the first place. Like modernity, homonationalism can be resisted and re-signified, but not opted out of: we are all conditioned by it and through it.
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