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Destabilizing homonormativity and the public/private dichotomy in North American lesbian domestic violence discourses

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Developing and circulating community-based educational materials and offering workshops are common feminist approaches to addressing violence in lesbian relationships. This article explores the racialized exclusions in the public/private dichotomy in community-based educational discourses about 'lesbian domestic violence'. An examination of community-based educational materials and interviews with lesbian and queer feminist educators illustrates how the public/private dichotomy produces exclusions and makes certain forms of violence enacted on certain bodies unthinkable and unintelligible. While these discourses challenge heteronormative constructions of violence, they have relied on a simple conceptual framework that has had the effect of promoting a dominant narrative or regime of truth privileging white, middle-class lesbian experiences. This article seeks to destabilize homonormative constructions by arguing for an anti-colonial feminist spatial analysis of violence in same-sex/gender relationships.

Keywords: domestic violence; homonormativity; lesbian; public/private; whiteness

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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