Active Agency or Passive Agent? Securitizing LGBT+ Activism and its Transnational Influences in 21st Century Iraq
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The primary aim of this thesis is to analyze how men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSW) in Iraq attempt to securitize by performing a speech act that leads to the implantation of extraordinary measures against their existential threat. According to the critique of Sarah Bertrand on securitization theory, subaltern groups are unable to securitize due to their voice being silenced in addition to them being represented by other groups. This study scrutinizes Bertrand’s critique by taking an LGBT+ perspective on securitization theory. First, the histories and contemporary circumstances of Iraqi MSM and WSW are divulged to provide a thorough understanding of their current state of affairs. Subsequently, the activism of IraQueer, Iraq’s only local LGBT+ organization, is studied by employing a discourse analysis and conducting interviews to uncover their attempts at securitization and the potential challenges they encounter. The findings of this study suggest that, although their speech act is still ignored or distorted, IraQueer is not represented by transnational Euro-American organizations or their discourse. The Iraqi MSM and WSW maintain agency and are purely aided by these organizations and their corresponding discourse. Moreover, voicing the concerns of their constituency is the raison d’etre of IraQueer. It can be expected that a favorable environment for a successful securitizing move can be created if the dominant negative discourse on Iraqi MSM and WSW is reshaped by consistent LGBT+ advocacy and education.