Through the identity and personality categories, the interactive functions of these sites, and types of encounters they facilitate, user participation entails specific types of engagement that conform to the sexualized meanings and norms inherent in the ways the sites frame queer sexuality.
For example, the act of checking a sexual identity box as gay, bisexual and rarely straight or trans requires users to place themselves in the taxonomy of sexual subjectivity. People log into these sites the same as other users around the world, but the immediate structural interface, or home-page, differs in that it organizes specific information and user profiles based on a physical location. In other words, users are at once connected to an expansive mass of queer sexual acts, images, fantasies, and dispositions, while being bound to those of their territorial realities through constant circulations of people, images, practices, and words.
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Structurally, profiles represent individuals through the identity fields that all users complete. At the least, profiles include descriptions and images of bodies, demographic information, and sexual and romantic desires, all bastians of visibility and affective subjecthood.
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In sites geared more towards dating and not just sex, there are fields for users to indicate hobbies, favourite activities, economic circumstances, and futures plans. With these categories animating their online self, users move within the virtual walls of these sites, interacting with others based on the information they read in the profiles. In their exchange of words, virtual glances, and images, users create modes of engagement assembled according to how they want to represent themselves, the types of interactions they want, and what the websites allow them to do.
Profiles then are representations of user bodies that act within the site. They serve as a unitary body that is interpolated and re-constructed from images and categories of personhood and are intentionally made to meet inherent norms of desirability and sexuality in order to be seen as a queer desiring subject and object of desire. This structuring of user self-representations has a totalizing effect on the ordering of subjectivity by creating a plane upon which engagement and recognition as a queer subject is regulated for all users, regardless of territorial location.
It is a stylization of the messiness of dating and sex based on the site's narratives and imaginaries of queer identity and sociality. In fact, the politics of visibility are so central to the existential foundations of these sites that several of them are part of larger commercial ventures in addition to the revenue they generate , like the media conglomorate Here Media, which owns Gay. Even Grindr, which facilitates sexual encounters without pesky identity categories to get in the way, has their Grindr For Equality wing that informs users of important political and social activities geared towards community building and political activism.
For example, during the recent presidential election, they sent out mass messages to users, regardless of citizenship, encouraging US voters among them to support Obama. These various ventures expand the principles of these sites beyond business into a realm of citizenship, activism, and democracy. These same issues are found in the ways that international and diplomatic relations conceptualize and mobilize notions of queer subjects within human rights and western liberal politics.
She avers that that sexual minorities emerged historically as a distinct social group with separate needs and rights, with the creation and spread of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender identity categories and narratives of common characteristics and shared perspectives. This was a process of defining and recongizing their minority position within dominant social and political instutions.
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She goes on to say that individuals who identify as or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender require protection from nations and global institutions. To this end, she announced several US initiatives to promote and regulate this new agenda at the international level. With this new political bent seeping into formal foreign relations, on June 26th, , the US embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan organized a gay pride event, prompting several counter protests in the country.
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We are committed to standing up for these values around the world. They hosted a similar event in June , but this time did not issue a press release. Clinton's speech came on the heels of the development of the Yogyakarta Principles, finalized in March The document deliniates a series of 29 clauses for the application of human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender.
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The Principles, in addition to defining gay rights, obliges states to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights for people of sexual minority status, which is determined by western dervied sexual identity categories. In this political environment, new political tools are wielded for alienating nations whose antagonistic laws and social attitudes towards sexual minorities belie their modernity and progress.
At first, gender and sexual rights were a rhteorical tool for characterising Muslims and Islam as homophobic, and therefore subject to violent US violence and antagonism. Since then, sexual rights discourses have expanded into larger global politics used against any nation antagonistic towards sexual minorities. Global legal institutions are being mobilized to incorporate sexual rights in binding international law. There are legal-political mechanisms to hold state responsible for flouting sexual minority rights, they become dangerous, backwards, and in need of at least verbal sanctioning.
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For example, the post-revolutionary government in Libya, in rebuilding political structures and legal institutions under the thumb of the western-brokered military intervention, announced their opposition to extending human rights to sexual minorities as political subjects. This is a confrontation with a social category vis-a-vis liberalizing state institutions and relationship building within international politics.
The state is confronted by diplomatic and legal pressures promulgating a gay rights paradigm, and is scrambling to classify these newly named people into political structures, but are failing. I say no, they don't. Soulmates is dedicated to helping you find your perfect gay partner.
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If you are new to online dating or want to find out more about the online dating scene then check out the Soulmates Blog for great tips and advice and to hear from gay couples who've found love through Soulmates. Gary, 35, is a social work manager living in the West Country.
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