Public Lecture

God hates Fa(n)gs: Homophobia, religious rights and pop culture in the USA

Essen – 15 December 2014

The recent gay and lesbian movement in the Western world started with the resistance against the police raids in the gay bar Stonewall Inn in New York's Christopher Street in the summer of 1969. Thereby, the US became the country of origin of the civil rights movements for sexual minorities. Although this process, both in Europe and in the US, is still considered incomplete, the most pressing question is how the US have developed not only models of gay identity and gay community, but also a special form of homophobia. This, for example, has been articulated in anti-homosexual legislation of certain states or in the propagandization of re-education therapies for lesbians and gays. In line with these questions, the British political scientist Angelia Wilson asks for instance: "Why is Europe gay friendly - and why will the US never be?" After all homophobic positions are more explicitly represented in the American public, than they would, at least not openly, be accepted by the political mainstream in Germany. How can the popularity of this right-wing populist and fundamentally religious homophobia in the US be explained? To answer this question, Peter Rehberg analysed both, examples of the political coverage in the US media and pop-cultural representations of the controversies on the rights of sexual minorities (True Blood, American Horror Story) using psychoanalytic, queer theory and cultural theory approaches.

The lecture was part of the lecture series "Homophobia in the global context", that is organised together with the Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI).

Peter Rehberg, born in 1966 in Hamburg, is teaching German Literature and Queer Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, USA, since 2011. He also worked as an editor and freelance journalist for various magazines as well as for the Norddeutscher Rundfunk. In addition to his numerous academic publications in the field of gender and sexuality Rehberg brought out novels like "Play", "Fag Love" and "Boymen".

Date: 15 December 2014, 19-20.30 h
Venue: Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI), Gartensaal, Goethestr. 31, 45128 Essen