Querying the queer from Africa: Precarious bodies–precarious gender

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10 Scopus citations


A large body of scholarship across several disciplines has convincingly illustrated how the gender binary–the distinction between males and females as complementary and desirable opposites–is constantly reproduced through everyday, apparently ‘banal’, practices. Such process is not innocuous but is part and parcel of hegemonic ideological formations of gender and sexuality that contribute to positioning some individuals as ‘normal’ and ‘desirable’ whilst recasting others as ‘unwanted’ and ‘deviant’. Against this backdrop, this Article seeks to offer a different perspective, one that focuses less on the reproduction than on the ambivalence of collusion and contestation in relation to the gender binary. In order to do so, it investigates a drawing made by Gabrielle Le Roux in collaboration with Silva, a Namibian trans activist, which featured as part of the exhibition queer & trans Art-iculations at Wits Art Museum in 2014. With the help of an eclectic theoretical apparatus that brings together visual analysis with an African perspective on queer theory, the Article shows how the portrait simultaneously reproduces and contests normative gendered and sexualised scripts. Moreover, it is argued that Le Roux's work and collaboration with transgender and intersex activists can be seen as the beginning of a decolonising project that emerges from Africa, questioning northern, colonial ideologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies


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