Homo-urbanism: Homonationalism and the case of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv

Authors: Gilly Hartal*,
Topics: Sexuality, Middle East
Keywords: sexualities, Middle East, homonationalism, urban activism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Galerie 3, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since its inception, the concept of homonationalism has been zealously applied to describe the relationship between nation-states and LGBT communities, particularly in urban settings. It is considered an organizing principle in LGBT politics and discourse. However, most discussions of homonationalism are not scaled down but rather represent, much like homonormativity (Brown, 2009, 2012), a globalizing, homogeneous and extrapolated effort, positioned outside the power at play. In this paper I would like to discuss homonationalism within two divergent urban localities – Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Discussing located practices of homonationalism I will claim that although both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are placed within the Middle East and within Israel (an exceptional state within the Middle East), both cities “use” homonationalism in distinct manners. This distinction is not merely due to the different character of the cities – Jerusalem as a contested city, a segregated space of walls and separations, oriented towards the local (the East); and Tel Aviv as a global city promoting gay tourism (from the West) and constructing itself as a gay capital. Homonationalism, as I will show (even within Israel which is perceived a clear case of homonationalism), should be characterized as a multidirectional political stance, operating differently in diverse locations and LGBT spaces, that has various manifestations emanating from grassroots and activist spaces.

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