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  • "Queer (Un)like Me":Contesting Sameness, Im/possibilities of Queer/Trans Allyship In Transnational Contexts
  • Godfried Asante (bio)

Thinking through the intricacies of transnational allyship and solidarity, I am reminded of Audre's Lorde's powerful words on alliance: "you do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our fights are the same. What we must do is to commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work towards that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities."1 Audre Lorde imagines allyship as the space of our relational becoming: where we are not competing with each other for material resources and spaces. She motivates us to envision allying as a process where we are committed to each other's success. In this vision, allyship across differently positioned subjects allows us to imagine a queer future not bound to the normative commitment of white capitalist heteronormative kinship structures but one where we can tap into the particular strengths of our intersectional identities. Jose Muñoz echoes this queer future when he reminds us that "queerness is an ideality." He notes that "we are not yet queer. We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality."2 This imagination of queer future––where queerness remains an ideal––can bring to the surface the possibilities inherent in our imagined collective, but different identities, even though we don't know in advance what our collective enactment of solidarity and alliance will encompass. The [End Page 145] queer possibilities of our connections to each other stand in direct contrast to our relational commitments to national solidarity, imperialism, and global neoliberal capitalism. However, these commitments remain vulnerable to neoliberal capitalist manipulation and regulation. Thus, it needs to be consistently critiqued and reimagined through collective narratives of successes and allyship failures.3

The commodification of LGBTQI+ politics in the West, such as the corporate sponsorship of gay pride events––where their sponsorship is represented as evidence of the corporation's liberal inclusiveness of LGBTQI identities, and the creation of "gay neighborhoods" that serve as evidence of a country's "gay friendliness" and progress has implications on the creation of transnational allyship with non-white, non-Western queers. The Global South offers the possibility to reimage transnational decolonial possibilities. I define decolonization as the process of delinking from the logics of queer modernity through "critical reflection, deconstructing and reconstructing."4 I refer to the Global South not as a region but as a "provisional placeholder that can be used to explore conditions of dispossession and survival."5 Calafell notes that queer communication studies must continually use analytics that attend to the racialized identities, bodies, experiences, and voices of the Other (queer people of color, trans folks, Global South queers) as a way to provide radical spaces for solidarity and coalition on their terms.6 In the following, I map out the conceptual terrain of "Onua do." Then I provide a personal narrative that showcases how it manifests in my transnational relationship with an LGBTQI focused human rights NGO in Ghana.

"Onua do:" A Transnational Love Ethic

It is necessary to define how I am using queerness in this article. I align my exploration of queerness with José Muñoz's conception of queerness because his definition shifts attention away from an understanding of queerness as an individual desire to reject the fanatical obsession of the child as the organizing principle of social and political life––a fantasy that Lee Edelman describes as "reproductive futurism."7 Muñoz rejects this notion of queerness and instead postulates that queerness is about constituting communities through the rejection of the social order and, more important, the "here and now" of queer politics.8 For Muñoz and others located in the anti-anti-relational camp of queer theory, such as Jack Halberstam, David Eng, Shinsuke Eguchi, Bernadette Calafell, and Ahmet Atay, queerness is a communal desire for a future where we understand the trauma and pleasures of others. However, advancing Muñoz's hopes for a queerness based...

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