The Multidimensional LGBTQ Activism in Contemporary Kuwait; a Critical Media Analysis

Jood Alkibsy, Dr. Yasemin Ipek, George Mason University 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States

With the research question “How does LGBTQ activism operate in contemporary Kuwait, a sociopolitical environment that actively marginalizes LGBTQ people?”, this paper explores the means in which the Kuwaiti LGBTQ community and its allies navigate the various forms of activism in Kuwait, a country that criminalizes homosexuality and transgenderism and legally restricts free speech. Through critical media analysis, I examine Kuwaiti queer activists’ social media presence and the different forms of activism performed on outlets including Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. A goal is to highlight the contexts of historical and institutional marginalization of LGBTQ people in Kuwait and to study how such contexts explain the different forms of activism engaged with by Kuwaiti LGBTQ people and allies. Using intersectional methods, I explore the different forms of activism practiced by different social groups and divide my group of interest— LGBTQ activists for Kuwait— into four subgroups: LGBTQ people in Kuwait, LGBTQ allies in Kuwait, the LGBTQ Kuwaiti diaspora in LGBTQ-friendly states, and LGBTQ allies outside of Kuwait. I further employ an intersectional framework to study how factors such as class, gender identity, sexuality, and nationality impact the differences in forms of activism by people belonging to these subgroups. Based on recent scholarly works that focus on the promises and limitations of LGBTQ activism in the Middle East, I emphasize how contexts of crisis and moral discourses of “privilege” and “danger” additionally shape LGBTQ activists’ politics. I argue that individuals facing the least possible legal repercussions— whether due to them being outside of Kuwaiti rule or protected from it— engage in more vocal and visibly-defiant forms of activism due to their protection. Furthermore, I conclude that LGBTQ people in Kuwait are most likely to blatantly demand justice and protection in events where they are directly targeted by Kuwaiti authorities and laws.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Jood Alkibsy

Institution: George Mason University

Type: Poster

Subject: Anthropology & Archeology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 1
Date/Time: Mon 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 2033