Global Gay | Frédéric Martel‏

Summary of: Global Gay: How Gay Culture Is Changing the World (The MIT Press)
By: Frédéric Martel‏


Dive into the captivating journey of how the LGBT community has transformed the world and shaped societies. In ‘Global Gay: How Gay Culture Is Changing the World,’ Frédéric Martel‏ explores the impact of the gay liberation movement, the growing globalization of LGBT rights, and the influence of commerce and activism in gay communities. Discover the varying ways nations recognize LGBT people and their rights as well as the internal divisions within continents and civilizations. Through engaging storytelling, you will learn about the complexities of Asian and former British colonies’ attitudes toward homosexuality, the different models of gay neighborhoods, and the international battle for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

The Global LGBT Movement

In 1969, a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City sparked a riot that marked a turning point for the gay rights movement. Today, the movement has gone global with the help of digital transformation. The societies in which gays live influence their progress, but trade and tourism unlock gay rights by enticing creative individuals, entrepreneurs, and tourists to become part of a community. Gay TV and movies are making inroads worldwide, and social networks provide safe environments for LGBT people to meet and discuss shared topics and news. However, nations vary drastically in the recognition and rights granted to the LGBT community. Nevertheless, the push for universal gay rights is now a “multipolar” effort that is becoming less and less Western. Ultimately, as activist Mary Bonauto puts it, “there is no such thing as gay marriage, just marriage, with the same love and commitment.”

Geopolitics of Gay Rights

Asia and African countries face challenges with homosexuality due to both Western colonialism influences and religious beliefs. Many Muslim countries criminalize homosexuality and even impose the death penalty. In India, the caste system, arranged marriages and the risk of being disinherited further negatively affect the LGBTQ community. However, individuals find creative ways to adapt, including integrating partners in family lives and forming underground networks. Some French colonies and Central African countries exhibit more liberal attitudes, while former British colonies continue to criminalize homosexuality through penal codes such as Section 377.

The Six Models of Gay Neighborhoods

Gayborhoods, known for their thriving culture and commerce, fall into six distinctive models, with unique variations existing worldwide. These models are clusters, villages, strips, colonies, alternative, and sprawl. The absence of antigay laws does not necessarily translate into greater tolerance, and sometimes, it is challenging to mobilize as it looks like everything is just fine. Despite this, gay Pride is celebrated worldwide annually, and these events signified significant milestones in the LGBTQ+ community worldwide. However, violence has marred some pride events, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting, where 49 people were killed, and 53 others were injured, signifying hatred toward the Latino and homosexual communities.

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