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date: 14 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the notion of visibility and its place in the politics of queer oppression and queer liberation. In theory as well as activism, visibility is often considered necessary for the advancement of LGBT rights. However, some researchers challenge the reliance on visibility in queer politics, arguing that visibility may be related to control, normalization, increased violence, and backlashes; may contain biases with regard to race, class, and gender; and may rest on Eurocentric assumptions. Queer visibility has varied meanings and effects both in different national contexts and in international political arenas, ranging from instrumentalization of pro- or anti-LGBT discourses to the invocation of hypervisibilized “queer folk devils.” Moreover, discourses of queer invisibility may legitimize certain forms of politics. An approach to visibility is proposed that focuses on regimes of visibility, their multiple and differentiated effects, and the possibilities of resistance, highlighting the relation between queer visibility and community formation.

Keywords: visibility, invisibility, queer politics, LGBT rights, activism, backlash

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