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Declining Homophobia, ‘Softening’ Masculinity and Liberalism in the UK: Evaluating the Evidence
Örebro University, School of Music, Theatre and Art. (Aestethics, Culture and Media)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9067-9496
(Centre for the Study of Democracy)
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the last few years, there have been numerous claims, by both academics and journalists, regarding the declining significance of homophobia in the UK in particular. Legal and institutional gains won through the actions of LGB [sic] activists have seen the repeal of Section 28, the passing of the 2014 Same Sex Couples Act and its public championing by the UK’s Conservative Prime Minister, as well as the condemnation of other countries’ repressive policies on sexuality.

These significant gains have been theorized against a backdrop of increasing inclusivity in gender relations. Anderson’s (2009) concept of ‘inclusive masculinity’, particularly, has generated significant interest because it claims to explain the processes behind ‘decreased’ levels of cultural homophobia and reduced ‘homohysteria’. The central tenet of which is that heterosexual-identifying men, and Western societies more generally, no longer construct ‘ideal’ masculine genders through the subordination of gay individuals in everyday life. This clearly has important repercussions for gender equality at large.

However, in focusing on rights-based gains and observable physical violence against some gay-identifying individuals, the case for ‘declining homophobia’ has been overstated. Such a narrow definition of homophobia has the potential to divert attention from persistent systemic discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and we must be cautious of research which couches broad notions of ‘decline’ and ‘inclusion’ in liberal terms. These supposedly historically unprecedented trends may not be as novel as they seem. This paper therefore looks at work around hybridity (Demetriou 2001; Bridges and Pascoe 2014) and ‘homonationalism’ (Puir 2007) in the 'declining homophobia' thesis in order to suggest that the incorporation of ‘acceptable’ gay subjects (at the expense of others) into discourses of ‘progress’, rest on dubious theoretical and methodological assumptions. These have potentially damaging policy implications for LGBT rights.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
homophobia, liberalism, homosexuality, UK
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies; Sociology; Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46978OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-46978DiVA: diva2:877469
Conference
4th European Conference on Politics and Gender, Uppsala, Sweden, June 11-13, 2015
Available from: 2015-12-07 Created: 2015-12-07 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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