Daniel Conway, University of Westminster
15th January 2019
Gay Pride (more commonly referred to as Pride) originated in the United States as a specific festival, season of public events and site of protest aiming to celebrate and affirm the LGBTQ+ community, generate greater visibility and campaign for increased rights. Now held in over 200 towns and cities across the world, Pride festivals can attract up to 3.5 million attendees and have been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights activism. However, in recent years has attracted controversy, with its political and social purpose widely debated by LGBTQ+ groups and in the media.
This paper draws from research conducted as part of a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship and explores the contemporary global politics of Pride, examining the politics of Pride in selected contexts outside of Europe and North America. The paper investigates Pride as a transnational and global phenomenon, documenting and analysing the contemporary politics, performances, effects and trajectories of Pride. It seeks to analyse the political purposes of Pride, the issues Pride encompasses in local terms and the points of controversy about Pride. Using research material gathered at Shanghai Pride, Soweto Pride, Taiwan Pride and Hong Kong Pride, the paper will argue that Pride remains a significant site of LGBTQ+ politics and protest in multiple forms.
The paper reassesses earlier literature on Pride, which has mainly focused on the history of Pride and on Pride in Global North (primarily the US). It also interrogates existing theorisations of queer activism, as a distinct form of activism, which has predominantly been considered in Western-centric terms. This develops an understanding of the roles, importance and problematics of Pride and conceptions and practices of queer activism.
Daniel Conway’s work has mainly focused on how modes of privilege, specifically whiteness, masculinity and heterosexuality, are constituted and the moments and possibilities for their contestation and reformulation. His work draws from and contributes to Feminist International Relations, political sociology and queer theory. His work on white South African conscientious objectors and white anti-apartheid activists explored how militarisation was gendered and how contesting this process was destabilising for the state, but also subject to significant pressures to appear respectable and to conform with the heteronormative logics of the state. He has also explored how accounts of anti-war activism contribute to white liberal discourses that seek to obscure and reconstitute white privilege in South Africa. His interest in whiteness as a mode of privilege was extended in my co-authored monograph on the everyday lives of white British-born migrants in South Africa.
This qualitative project investigated British migrants transnational (and national), raced and classed identities as well as experience of places, spaces and belonging. He has researched other aspects of gender and intersectional identity and activism – having published on Margaret Thatcher, dress and the politics of fashion. Dr. Conway was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship studying ‘The Global Politics of Pride: LGBTQ+ Activism, Assimilation and Resistance’ and am working on this 2018-2019.