How are various lines drawn across /within and around queer intimacies in belligerent times, when the scope extends from significant divergencies from age, citizenship, political history background to status, economics and aggressive states?

Where does the queer community come to matter when these borders get drawn, negotiated, and struggled within a couple form, often – as one of the strange desires of the State – in the scene of the mighty institution of marriage (or civil partnership) and citizenship? How queer theory could better approach the questions of internal borders and silenced belligerencies within queer communities and relationships?

If the queer diaspora or political exile (ref. Eng, Spade) requires individual resources then what is queer about it? Could we sophisticate the discussion about the often criss-crossing lines between the adventurous and political exile while keeping a sharp eye on the wildfires between untamed powers of desire and the willful machinery of State?

My discussion on these questions relies, on the one hand, on initial auto-theoretical notes on a decade-long transnational lesbian marriage. This provides an investigation of the struggles of a lesbian couple where one party immigrated to other partner’s country during drastic changes in her own country and the surrounding world politics, and highlights a combination of bigotry and the confusion around the significant age gap that shapes their lives. Not only does she have to face structural barriers to acquiring a permanent visa, but the couple also face lack of employment opportunities and microaggressions at work due to the lesbian/queer (migrant) status. On the other hand, it leans on my two own interviews - by the Folks Archives in Helsinki - on my experience of anarchist lesbian community-making in the 1980s and in initiating and building the Finnish Queer Studies Society (SQS) and creating queer research projects in the 1990s and 2000s.

The empirical-theoretical ideas of the article spring from the complicated shared struggle between queer scholars from different national and socio-political-disciplinary backgrounds. My discussion is also drawing from the forthcoming book on Queer/y/ing Kinship in the Baltic Region (2023, eds. Dahl, Mizielinska, Uibo, Sorainen) and The 2022 Special Issue of The Journal of Lesbian Studies on “Migrant and Refugee Lesbians: Lives That Resist the Telling” (2019).

These sources provide a context for better understanding the preconfigurations, mundane practices and novel intellectual pathways through which we can recognize and understand how queer communities engage in processes of queer-world making and radical possibility through everyday acts of resilience and self-care in the midst of individual, familial, institutional, and state violence and belligerence.

I hope that the article continues to identify unique cultural values and queering experiences that explore the ways lesbian women are hurt in our world as well as ways our transnational communities could better work to heal during the State harassment of queer folks, or during even wider belligerent times.

Specifically, I will discuss whether and where we could improve the solidarity bonds of the Baltic Region queer (academic) community. To open the field for general discussion, in the Conclusion I will ask if we could better support queer communities to better support those individuals who struggle with/in such intimate relationships wherein the larger political landscape brings disturbing but sometimes hard-to-define personal belligerencies, where secrets and silences are required for the survival, and where the State poses its requirements; and where personal histories might come to counter the powers of desire and introduce destructive forces on the fragile stage of the desired queer love and open communication.
TidskriftSQS : Suomen queer-tutkimuksen seuran lehti
Antal sidor24
Status!!In preparation - 20 feb. 2024
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

Bibliografisk information

Dr. Antu Sorainen, PhD, is Docent in Gender Studies, working at the University of Helsinki. She is the Director of the research team “CoreKin – Contrasting and Re-Imagining Margins of Kinship” (funded by the Academy of Finland, 2016-2020). Her current 3-year research project on Protolesbian Life HIstory and Nationalist Sentiment in 1920-30s Finland is granted by the Cultural Fopundation of Finland (2019-2022). She has conducted empirical studies in the area of queer sexualities in the legal field. She is the co-author of a book on the conceptual history of “Sittlichkeit”, and has published recently on queer inheritance practices. Sorainen was an Academy Fellow at the Academy of Finland and the PI of the research project titled “Wills and Inheritance Practices in Sexually Marginalised Groups” (2014-2019). •


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