Dean Durber, Perth (Australia):

The Attack of Queer Bodies on Gay Beings:
The Death of The Homosexual

The establishment of the homosexual species emerges from an assumption that corporeal pleasures with same-sexed bodies are indicative of the real existence of a particular kind of being. This social construction complies with a bourgeois demand for the regulation of bodies within the discourse of modernity. But the pathologising of acts into sexual types is not a closed chapter in nineteenth century history. Rather, it is an ongoing process, reinforced today by a discourse of gay liberation.

In this paper I argue that the gay liberation movement offers no epistemological shift in understandings of same-sex sexualised contact. In contrast to the suggestion that this movement has helped to free the homosexual, I assert that the labelling of all men who have sexualised contact with other male bodies as “homosexual” reveals its willingness to participate in the bourgeois surveillance of bodies. The continuing failure of the discourse of gay liberation has been a refusal to recognise that in its own insistence on speaking of the homosexual is an act of corporeal colonisation complicit with the desires and pleasures of a pervasive bourgeois discourse.

In contrast, the queer body is one that does rather than one that is. Challenging the culture’s preference for interior orientation over exterior flesh, I argue that male bodies are able to do corporeal contact with other male bodies without this action being driven by a desire for a male-sexed object. Moreover, I suggest that bodies are able to engage in sexualised pleasure with other bodies without reference to anatomical sex as a component of or instigator of such pleasure. Recognition of the sexed body is essential to the maintenance of the naturalised homo-hetero binary. But if anatomical sex is not the focus of a desire that leads to sexualised contact, there can be no heterosexual, no homosexual. In the case of male-male sexualised contact, I argue that a penis is not always a penis.

About the Author:

I am currently enrolled in doctorate research at Curtin University in Western Australia. The focus of my thesis considers the marginalisation of non-homosexual male-male sexualised pleasures within the discourse of gay liberation. In particular, my thesis considers notions of desire that are possible outside of a sexed object within man-boy, mateship, and brother-to-brother sexual relationships. I tutor and lecture on a casual and sessional basis at a number of universities in the Perth area, and have also recently completed a semester contract as an Associate Lecturer at Curtin University. I am a published author of journalistic articles and queer fiction. I have lived, worked and studied extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Australasia.

Institutional Affiliation: Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
Discipline: Department of Communication and Cultural Studies
P. O. Box 233, Hamilton Hill, WA 6963, Australia
Phone Number: (61) 08 93178349
E-mail: d.durber@curtin.edu.au

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