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Heroes and Invaders: gay and lesbian pride parades and the public/private distinction in New Zealand media accounts

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Public space is constructed as heterosexual space in at least two senses. First, heterosexuality in public is regarded as unproblematic, whereas lesbian and gay identities are policed by subtle or overt means. Second, heterosexuality is not obviously marked in public. In this article these positions are used as a starting point to investigate the complexities of the relationships between heterosexuality, homosexuality and the public and private spheres. Much of the discussion takes as its basis the media coverage of New Zealand’s lesbian and gay pride parades. Recent heterosexist discourse in New Zealand implies that gay men and lesbians are leaving the private sphere and are forcing a politicisation of both the public sphere and the metaphorical space of the private, heterosexual mind. A discursive inversion occurs whereby the homosexual subject becomes powerful and tyrannous, and the heterosexual is coerced and oppressed. Crucial to such discourse is a mobilisation of the conservative tendencies of liberalism, and an attendant denial of the privileged position granted to heterosexuality .

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2000

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