A Legacy of “Aloha”: The Politics of Homonationalism and Empire in Queer Hawai‘i

Date
2018-11-15
Authors
Gushiken, Greg Pōmaikaʻi
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3
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1
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Morgensen (2011) postulates that LGBT settler projects employ “the apparent existence and acceptance of marginal sexual subjects in “primitive” societies” as justification for their own claims to rights; however, by exploiting Indigenous histories in their activism, these settler projects generate “implications for nonnative political attachment” to Native conceptualizations of desire (Rifkin, 2014). In summation, the propagation of settler LGBT rights is often predicated upon the suppression of Indigenous voices and the progression of an LGBT nationalist empire. Analyzing the implications of settler colonialism and homonationalist discourses after the 2013 Hawaiʻi Marriage Equality Act, this paper critiques the ways in which settler LGBT projects equate Kānaka Maoli desire and resistance with Western conceptions of sexuality and capital. This analysis begins with a critique of the queer “nonnative political attachment” found in “The Legacy Of Aloha: What Marriage Equality Means To Hawaii,” an article from the Huffington Post’s Queer Voices column, which erases Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) resistance and replaces it with a new imperial projects in an “inclusive” Hawaiʻi. This field of inquiry continues with a rhetorical analysis of Kānaka Maoli who were against the 2013 Marriage Equality Act. This paper argues that these Kānaka did not oppose the legislation because they were homophobic but, instead, because they aimed to identify the epistemological dissonances between Western liberalism and Kānaka movements for Ea (sovereignty). Through this analysis, I call upon queer settlers to acknowledge their complicity in crafting and reproducing settler binaries and urge Kānaka to challenge the captivity of our desires.
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