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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32972

Title: Gay Pride on Stolen Land: Homonationalism, Queer Asylum and Indigenous Sovereignty at the Vancouver Winter Olympics
Authors: Sykes, Heather
LIoyd, Jeff
Keywords: Winter Olympics
sporting homonationalism
gay imperialism
white settler colonialism
Issue Date: Aug-2012
Abstract: In this paper we examine intersections between homonationalism, sport, gay imperialism and white settler colonialism. The 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver, Canada, produced new articulations between sporting homonationalism, indigenous peoples and immigration policy. For the first time at an Olympic/Paralympic Games, three Pride Houses showcased LGBT athletes and provided support services for LBGT athletes and spectators. Supporting claims for asylum by queers featured prominently in these support services. However, the Olympic events were held on unceded territories of four First Nations, centered in Vancouver which is a settler colonial city. Thus, we examine how this new form of ‘sporting homonationalism’ emerged upon unceded, or stolen, indigenous land of British Columbia in Canada. Specifically, we argue that this new sporting homonationalism was founded upon white settler colonialism and imperialism—two distinct logics of white supremacy (Smith, 2006).1 Smith explained how white supremacy often functions through contradictory, yet interrelated, logics. We argue that distinct logics of white settler colonialism and imperialism shaped the emergence of the Olympic Pride Houses. On the one hand, the Pride Houses showed no solidarity with the major indigenous protest ‘No Olympics On Stolen Land.’ This absence of solidarity between the Pride Houses and the ‘No Olympics On Stolen Land’ protests reveals how thoroughly winter sports – whether elite or gay events — depend on the logics, and material practices, of white settler colonialism. We analyze how the Pride Houses relied on colonial narratives about ’Aboriginal Participation’ in the Olympics and settler notions of ‘land ownership’. On the other hand, the Pride Houses provided support for LBGT people filing asylum claims during the Olympics. The Pride Houses’ support for queer asylum relied upon imperialist logic about ‘Other’ homophobic nation-states which constructs Canada as the global, humanitarian ‘protector’ of same-sex rights. Thus, the Pride Houses actively promoted narratives of Canadian gay imperialism and liberal same-sex rights into the context of elite sport. We explore how these narratives about Canadian same-sex immigration rights naturalize settler colonial attitudes about British sovereignty which, again, makes current political debates about indigenous sovereignty disappear. Thus, even as these settler colonial and imperial logics seem to be contradictory in political terms, they both functioned to uphold white supremacy in Canada. Further, we argue settler colonialism and imperialism were central to the formation of homonational gay pride on stolen land of the Vancouver Olympics.
Description: This article has not been published.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32972
Appears in Collections:Faculty (CTL)

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