AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

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AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

JUDIT TAKÁCS: How to put equality into practice?easily concluded that only “normal” or “good citizens” should beentitled to full rights of citizenship and as the “good citizen” tends tobe heterosexual, it seems that “heterosexuality is a necessary if notsufficient basis for full citizenship” (cf. Phelan, 2001 – cited byRichardson, 2004a:1).In the context of sexual citizenship the great dilemma of politicalemancipation is whether to claim equal rights for LGBT people on thebasis of a normalising politics presenting them as normal, good citizens– deserving respect and integration because of their conformity todominant social norms – who are “expected to be gender conventional,link sex to love and a marriage-like relationship, defend family values,personify economic individualism, and display national pride”. Thisapproach would imply a “political logic of tolerance and minority rightsthat does not challenge heterosexual dominance” (Seidman, 2002:133).There is a certain ambiguity in interpreting the extension of certainrights associated with citizenship to embrace lesbians and gay men as asuccess, if equality and normality is still “defined in terms of samenesswith heteronormative mainstream values and practices” (Richardson,2004b:407). This kind of mainstreaming can be – and according to someshould be – challenged. In Steven Seidman’s view a rights-orientedpolitical agenda should be broadened at least in three dimensions: ingaining respect and representation in national institutions including thegovernment, the workplaces, schools, families, welfare and health careinstitutions; in having social dialogues encouraged by institutions, and inthe manner of equal partnership where concerns of all the parties can bevoiced and heard; and by revisiting the norm of the “good citizen”. Themain problem with a narrow rights agenda is that it “leaves the dominantsexual norms, other than gender preference, in place and removed fromthe political debate”, while it “ignores the ways ideas of sexualcitizenship establish social boundaries between insiders (good citizens)and outsiders (bad citizens). And, while same- or opposite genderpreference is surely one boundary issue, there are many otherdimensions of sexuality that are used to separate the good and the badsexual citizen; for example gender norms, the age of the sex partners,whether sex is private or public, commercial or not, causal or intimate,monogamous or not, gentle or rough” (Seidman, 2002:189).Sexual citizenship can be a useful reference point in the politicalstruggle gaining “full community membership”, if carefully applied.However, one of the main questions here is whether equality is86

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