Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Violence denied, bodies erased : towards an interlocking spatial framework for queer anti-violence organizing Holmes, Cindy 2012

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


24-ubc_2013_spring_holmes_cindy.pdf [ 1.81MB ]
JSON: 24-1.0071836.json
JSON-LD: 24-1.0071836-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 24-1.0071836-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 24-1.0071836-rdf.json
Turtle: 24-1.0071836-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 24-1.0071836-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 24-1.0071836-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

VIOLENCE DENIED, BODIES ERASED: TOWARDS AN INTERLOCKING SPATIAL FRAMEWORK FOR QUEER ANTI-VIOLENCE ORGANIZING by Cindy Holmes B.A., University of Waterloo, 1990 M.A., Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/ University of Toronto, 2000 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE COLLEGE OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Interdisciplinary Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Okanagan)  November 2012 © Cindy Holmes, 2012  Abstract  The research undertaken for this dissertation applies an interlocking spatial framework to the study of anti-violence strategies in queer communities in Canada, with a focus on British Columbia specifically. Drawing on anti-colonial feminist and queer activism and scholarship, it examines the implications of different ways of framing violence and space and their material effects. It encourages scholars and activists to expand the way we conceptualize and respond to violence, by examining the interlocking nature of different forms of violence and the spaces in which the violence occurs. This research asks: What are the stories that queer anti-violence organizers tell about the violence in our lives? What do these stories do? What, and whom do they make im/possible or in/visible, and how do they do this? What stories are told about place and space and what kinds of understandings of violence are made possible or erased through these imagined geographies? What strategies exist for resisting normative narratives and frameworks? To examine these questions, I focus on a discursive analysis of texts as well as on key social and historical moments through which I also engage in autoethnographic approaches. I critically analyze discourses in various texts including interview and focus group transcripts, lesbian anti-violence curricula, pamphlets and booklets, print and webbased news articles, a website for an urban development proposal, and a report from a human rights tribunal. To do this, I use an interdisciplinary framework, drawing on methodological tools from Women’s Studies, Geography, Social Work and Sociology. The research critiques the colonial, racialized, heteronormative and homonormative discursive practices and politics in queer and feminist anti-violence movements, and  ii  examines how different geographies and forms of violence, such as intimate partner violence and hate-motivated violence, are linked to the violence of imperialism, colonialism and nation-building. It also challenges normative and neoliberal constructions of subjectivity, health, safety, violence, belonging and citizenship in community-based feminist and queer anti-violence initiatives. My analysis reveals the way whiteness is produced through homonormative discourses, and offers anti-colonial and anti-normative strategies for change within feminist and queer anti-violence movements.  iii  Preface As per policy of UBC College of Graduate Studies, this preface gives a list of any publications or submissions arising from work presented in the dissertation. It was my original intention to use the UBC manuscript-based dissertation format (University of British Columbia, 2008), however in 2010 the university changed the policy and removed this format. I discuss this further in Chapter One. The following publications arise from my dissertation research:  1) A version of Chapter Five has been previously published. Sections from the published article also appear in Chapter One. I am the sole author and all research and writing was conducted by me. Holmes, C. (2009). Destabilizing homonormativity and the public/private dichotomy in lesbian domestic violence discourses. Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 16 (1), 77-95.  2) A version of Chapter Six has been previously published. I am the sole author and all research and writing was conducted by me. Holmes, C. (2011). Troubling normalcy: Examining constructions of healthy relationships in lesbian domestic violence prevention. In J. Ristock (Ed.), Intimate partner violence in LGBTQ lives (pp. 209-231). New York: Routledge.  3) Sections from Chapter Seven have been previously published. While I am first author, the writing and research was shared equally between myself and the second author Anne  iv  Fleming. In cases where I include material written by Anne in this dissertation, I specifically make note of this in the text. Holmes, C. & Fleming, A. (2009). The move. In R. Epstein (Ed.), Who’s your daddy and other writings on queer parenting (pp. 251-261) Toronto: Sumach Press.  v  Table of Contents Abstract .........................................................................................................................ii Preface .......................................................................................................................... iv Table of Contents ......................................................................................................... vi List of Figures............................................................................................................... ix Acknowledgements........................................................................................................ x Dedication.................................................................................................................... xii  Chapter One: Introduction - Reconceptualizing Violence and Resisting Normative Frameworks .......................................................................................... 1 Re-conceptualizing Violence ............................................................................... 6 Entry Points....................................................................................................... 10 Themes Explored............................................................................................... 12 The Challenges of Defining a Conceptual Framework in Interdisciplinary Research ...................................................................................................... 15 Dissertation Structure ........................................................................................ 17 Organization of Chapters ................................................................................... 18 Chapter Two: Intersectional and Interlocking Theories ........................................... 21 The Meanings of Intersectionality...................................................................... 26 Contexts, Case Studies, Events .......................................................................... 31 Tensions and Limitations................................................................................... 35 Interlocking Theory ........................................................................................... 39 An Argument for Interlocking............................................................................ 47 Chapter Three: Research on Violence in LGBTQ Communities.............................. 50 Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ Communities........................................... 51 Understanding the Problem: Forms of Abuse..................................................... 51 Prevalence and Research Contexts ..................................................................... 53 Limitations with Research ................................................................................. 56 Conceptual Frameworks for Explaining Same-Sex/Gender Partner Violence ..... 60 Conceptual Frameworks for Explaining IPV in the Lives of Trans People ......... 63 Conceptualizing Contexts .................................................................................. 70 Anti-LGBTQ Violence ...................................................................................... 80 Accessibility and Systemic Barriers................................................................... 88 Summary ........................................................................................................... 89 Chapter Four: Theoretical Framework and Methodologies ..................................... 92 Part One: Research Questions ............................................................................ 93 vi  Part Two: Interdisciplinary Theoretical Framework ........................................... 94 Feminist Poststructuralism ..................................................................... 95 Discourse and Power.............................................................................. 97 Regimes of Truth ................................................................................... 99 Discourse and Subjectivity ................................................................... 101 Power and Normalization..................................................................... 103 Anti-Colonial and Critical Whiteness Theories..................................... 104 Anti-Colonial Queer............................................................................. 108 Subjectivity and Space ......................................................................... 114 Part Three: Qualitative Research Design and Methods..................................... 121 Data Collection .................................................................................... 120 Case Studies......................................................................................... 122 Case study #1: White lesbian/queer anti-violence educators in Vancouver BC .................................................................... 122 Case study #2: “Healthy Queer Relationships Curriculum” in Vancouver BC .................................................................... 124 Case study #3: Kelowna’s Lesbian and Gay Pride Day and The LGBT Anti-Violence Project .............................................. 124 Data Analysis....................................................................................... 127 Research Journal .................................................................................. 129 Autoethnography and Personal Narratives............................................ 129 Part Four: Strengths and Limitations of Methodological Approach .................. 132 Chapter Five: Destabilizing Homonormativity and the Public/Private Dichotomy in Lesbian Domestic Violence Discourses ........................................ 139 Context of Educational Discourses .................................................................. 142 Theorizing the Public/Private Dichotomy ........................................................ 145 Public/Private Dichotomy in Lesbian Partner Abuse Pamphlets and Booklets .............................................................................................. 149 White Lesbian Educators Speak about Public/private Spaces and Violence.............................................................................................. 152 Chapter Six: Troubling Normalcy: Examining Constructions of “Healthy Relationships” in Queer Violence Prevention .................................................... 162 A “Healthy Relationships” Approach in the Context of Neoliberalism ............. 165 Analysis of the Curriculum: A Discursive Mosaic............................................ 172 Feminist Anti-Oppression Philosophy.............................................................. 173 Good Non-Racist Feminists ............................................................................. 177 Intersectional Identities.................................................................................... 179 Expert Knowledge – Psychology and Health Promotion Discourses ................ 181 Healthy Subjects = Normal Subjects? .............................................................. 185 Queer Sexual Subjects? ................................................................................... 188 Chapter Seven: Contested Geographies of Violence and Belonging: Queering Discourses of Tolerance and Gay Rights in a White Settler Western Canadian City....................................................................................................................... 195  vii  Autoethnographic Accounts of Kelowna.......................................................... 197 The LGBT Anti-Violence Project: Creating Strong and Safe Queer Communities ................................................................................... 199 An Insider Story? Moving to Kelowna............................................................. 204 Troubling Insider/Outsider Status, Confessionals and Truth Telling................. 209 Insider/Outsider ............................................................................................... 210 Troubling Hegemonic Discourses and Truth Claims ........................................ 212 Confessionals and Truth Claims....................................................................... 216 Making White Settler Space............................................................................. 219 Imagine Kelowna............................................................................................. 223 Lesbian and Gay Pride Parades........................................................................ 226 Kelowna’s Lesbian and Gay Pride Day............................................................ 227 Heterosexualization of Space........................................................................... 229 Media Discourses ............................................................................................ 231 Contesting Heterosexual Space ........................................................................ 232 Normalcy – Respectable or Degenerate Homos?.............................................. 233 A Crisis of Dominance .................................................................................... 235 Universal Lesbian and Gay Subject.................................................................. 237 Tolerance......................................................................................................... 238 National Story of Belonging ............................................................................ 243 Indigenous Rights to the City........................................................................... 245 On-going Settler Colonialism .......................................................................... 245 Summary ......................................................................................................... 247 Chapter Eight: Conclusion, Contributions and Implications.................................. 250 Summary Of The Study ................................................................................... 250 Contributions and Implications ........................................................................ 256 References.................................................................................................................. 265  viii  List of Figures  Figure 1. “Imagine Kelowna.” .................................................................................. 223  ix  Acknowledgements  This dissertation was researched and written on the traditional, unceded and occupied Syilx (Okanagan) and Coast Salish territories (Musquem, Squamish and Tseilatuth) in the cities also known as Kelowna and Vancouver. I express my appreciation to and solidarity with these nations in their on-going struggles for sovereignty and social, economic and spatial justice. I could not have completed this work without the incredible support of my family, friends and wider community of scholars/activists. During my six years as a PhD student, many close family members faced life-threatening illnesses, and five immediate family members died. I am grateful for support from my grandparents Margaret and Wilbert McFee, and my parents Allan and Shirley Ann Holmes. Thanks especially to my Mom for her generosity over the last three years when we were both experiencing so much loss and grief. My daughter Kate was 3 ½ when I started my PhD and is now 9 ½. She doesn’t remember a time when I was not a PhD student. Thanks to Kate for her sense of humour, wisdom, understanding, courage and sensitivity, and her understanding of social and environmental justice, which always inspires me. Thanks to my partner Anne Fleming, for her friendship and love, endless conversations about my research, editorial support, unwavering patience, a shoulder to cry on, parenting and kid support, and most importantly for believing in me, reminding me to laugh, never judging, and encouraging me to keep going. I could not have wished for a more supportive and collegial supervisor and supervisory committee — deep thanks to Dr. Lawrence Berg and Dr. Janice Ristock and Dr. Rachelle Hole for their insightful guidance, support, critiques and friendship, as well as publishing and employment opportunities. I also wish to thank Dr. Kath Browne, Dr. Sunera Thobani and Dr. Sherene Razack for their support. A wide community of friends, colleagues and fellow students sustained me during this long and challenging process. Thanks to: Benita Bunjun, Gwen Chapman, Fionna Chong, Emily Drew, Marlo Edwards, Michael Hathaway, Laura Hockman, Maria  x  Hudspith, David Jefferess, Jake Kennedy, ME Kish, Sheila Lewis, Deborah McPhail, Deborah Prieur, Marg Scott, Zara Suleman, Kelli Sullivan, Jocelyn Thorpe, Leslie Walker Williams and Caroline White. A special word of thanks to Caroline White for her longtime friendship and for giving me Audre Lorde’s book Sister Outsider in 1988 in the early days of our anti-violence activism. I would like to thank the four interviewees in the initial research from which I conducted a secondary data analysis. Thanks also to those at the Safe Choices Program at the Ending Violence Association of BC, including but not limited to: Christina Antoniuk, Susan Armstrong, Norine Braun, Cheyene Dyer, Lydia Kwa, Donna Lee, Tracy Porteous, Deborah Prieur, Habiba Rashid, Sally Shamai and Caroline White. Appreciation to Christina Antoniuk, Sarah Leavitt and Angela McDougall for their early vision and efforts to secure funding for the program, and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for their funding commitment to Safe Choices. I thank the anonymous reviewers with the journals Gender, Place and Culture and Antipode for their constructive feedback on earlier versions of articles that appear in this dissertation, and Dr. Janice Ristock and Dr. Deborah McPhail for editorial support and constructive feedback through the publication of my chapter in the book Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ Lives (2011). My PhD has been funded by a number of scholarships and awards and I would like to acknowledge the following: a Doctoral Scholarship from the “Sexual and Gender Diversity: Vulnerability and Resiliency” (SVR) Research Team funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); a Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian Federation of University Women (Kelowna); a University Entrance Scholarship from the University of British Columbia (UBC); a Graduate Fellowship from UBC; Tuition Awards from UBC; and numerous travel awards from SVR and UBC to present my research at international and national conferences.  xi  Dedication  I dedicate this dissertation to my parents and in loving memory of my father who died in 2011 before this PhD was completed and who so wanted to see his daughter become Dr. Holmes. Even though we would have disagreed about the politics in this research, I can still feel his love and pride. This is for you Dad.  xii  Chapter One: Re-conceptualizing Violence and Resisting Normative Frameworks This study looks at the way we define, understand and construct violence in antiviolence movements that address the problem of violence in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit and queer (LGBTQ1) people, with a focus on community programs that address intimate partner violence (IPV) in queer women’s relationships in British Columbia Canada. The research examines the way we conceptualize and respond to violence, by examining the interconnections between space, subjectivity, discourse and violence from an interlocking spatial framework.2 The analysis that I present in the following chapters attends to these overarching questions: What are the stories that queer anti-violence organizers tell about the violence in our lives? What do these stories do? 1  LGBT or LGBTQ is a frequently used (and contested) umbrella category to represent gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Two Spirit, and queer people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. In some contexts another “T” or “2S” is added to represent Two-Spirit. LGBTQ can have a homogenizing effect blurring differences between gender identity and sexual orientation, and erasing the specificities of power and privilege based on gender, race, class, ability. The distinct experiences of bisexuals, trans and Two-Spirit people are often not addressed or homogenized with this category. Although I use LGBTQ in this dissertation I feel unsettled by it and recognize the limitations and problems it creates. Two-Spirit is used by some Indigenous people to describe the diverse roles and identities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer people of Aboriginal descent in North America. Queer is often used as an umbrella term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit identities and communities, or as non-normative gender and sexual identity category, but it emerged in politics and theorizing as a critique of identity, norms and normalcy, where queer is less of an identity and more of an anti-normative practice (Sullivan, 2003). While some transgender people may identify with queer, others do not. In the dissertation I employ the term queer in all of these ways, recognizing the inherent contradictions in using it as an identity category and a radical critique of identity and normative discourses. This reflects the multiple uses and meanings of the term in social movements. I remain troubled by the tensions, contradictions and problems that arise here. 2 This interdisciplinary poststructuralist framework draws on analytical tools from Women’s Studies, Geography, Social Work and Sociology and it is described in detail in Chapter Four. Discourse refers to "a set of assumptions, socially shared and often unconscious, reflected in language" (Ristock & Pennell, 1996, p. 114) that constructs knowledge, produces meaning and organizes social relations. Subjectivity is a concept of the self as socially produced, historically specific, discursively and multiply constituted and shifting. I understand place, space and scale as geographical contexts. Like other cultural geographers, I view space as a social product that is discursively constructed through social practices and processes (for example see: Brown, 2000; Browne, 2004; Duncan, 1996; McDowell, 1999; Puar 2006; Razack, 2002; Valentine, 1996). This challenges the notion of space as natural, static and innocent and explore the relationships between symbolic meanings produced through discourse, social practices and material relations in the constitution of a space (Razack, 2002). An interlocking approach traces how systems of oppression come into being in and through each other, or in other words how they operate simultaneously and depend on one another to function (Hill-Collins, 1990; Razack, 1998).  1  What, and whom do they make im/possible or in/visible, and how do they do this? What stories are told about place and space and what kinds of understandings of violence are made possible or erased through these imagined geographies (Said, 1978)? What strategies exist for resisting normative narratives and frameworks and what are their effects? I argue many stories queer anti-violence organizers tell draw on normative ideas that make visible some forms of violence and certain bodies and histories of oppression while simultaneously concealing, denying or erasing others. I ask: How are hegemonic norms (specifically whiteness) produced through these oppositional or so-called emancipatory discourses and what strategies might be useful for dismantling them?3 What are the spatial narratives that circulate in queer anti-violence discourses and what is produced through them? How do these spatial imaginings influence what counts as violence and which strategies we use to eradicate it? A central goal of my research is to expose the taken-for-granted assumptions within dominant feminist and LGBTQ antiviolence discourses and examine their consequences or effects.4 The dissertation has another related purpose, which is to examine alternative ways of framing and resisting violence. My interest in these questions emerges from over twenty years of research and community-based practice in educating about violence against women and in LGBTQ communities, and in feminist and queer health promotion. To answer these questions, this 3  Whiteness is a historically specific and racialized social and spatial formation (Hoelscher, 2003; Kobayashi & Peake, 2000). It is: i) a location of structural advantage that white people occupy; ii) a standpoint from which white people understand the world and their position in it; and iii) a set of cultural practices that are usually dominant but also unmarked and unnamed (Frankenberg, 1993). In Chapter Four I discuss the work of critical whiteness scholars. 4 By dominant discourse I am referring to the one granted the status of truth, the agreed-upon framework of language and meaning (Mareck, 1999).  2  study examines three moments or case studies that emerged from my community antiviolence work, which I discuss below. While organizing community educational forums about violence in lesbian relationships on unceded Coast Salish territories in the city of Vancouver British Columbia5 in the 1990s, I became interested in how educational materials and workshops produced certain discourses about violence: who experienced it, when, where and how, and who was excluded from these narratives. To this end, for my MA thesis research, I analyzed discourses in educational pamphlets and transcripts of individual interviews and focus groups with white lesbian/queer feminist anti-violence educators. For this doctoral research, I conducted a secondary analysis of this previously collected data, applying a spatial framework informed by literature in cultural geography. I used it as a case study to help me understand the following questions: What are the spatial metaphors in dominant feminist and lesbian/queer anti-violence educational discourses and what are their effects?6 How do conceptualizations of public and private spaces, influence our understandings of violence and the pedagogical strategies we develop? What is the a relationship between white normativity and the public/private dichotomy in lesbian/queer feminist anti-violence discourses? Later from 2000-2005, as I developed and delivered a health promotion and violence prevention curriculum on healthy relationships for queer women in Vancouver, I had a similar concern about what I and my fellow feminist anti-violence educators were 5  The city falls within the traditional and unceded territory of three Coast Salish peoples who have lived in this area for thousands of years. All three are members of the Coast Salish Nation, they include Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh (City of Vancouver, 2012). 6 Influenced by poststructuralist theory, cultural geographers often examine spatial metaphors in their approach to discourse analysis. This approach looks at the role that metaphors play in social life and in the production of spaces and places (Gregory, Johnston, Pratt, Watts & Whatmore, 2009). I discuss this further in Chapter Four.  3  constructing through this curriculum. I therefore analyzed the discourses at work in the curriculum as a second case study for this research, asking: How do queer feminist antiviolence organizers reproduce and/or resist normative frameworks, such as heteronormative, neoliberal and white settler colonial discourses and practices?7 While working for the same province-wide feminist anti-violence organization, I co-coordinated a series of roundtables and training workshops in 2004-2005, about violence in the lives of LGBTQ people in smaller urban centres in British Columbia, including Kelowna located on the unceded traditional territories of the Syilx peoples.8 Through this, I became interested in how the city of Kelowna is imagined as a certain kind place for a certain kind of citizen. My interest in these issues intensified upon moving to Kelowna in 2005, just before starting this doctorate. As a third case study in my doctoral research, I looked at Kelowna as a site, in the historical and socio-spatial production of the city, in stories of homophobia, transphobia and racism and anti-LGBTQ violence in the city, in the mayor’s refusal to proclaim Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in 1997, and in the subsequent BC Human Rights Tribunal in 2000. Again, I critically examined the discourses surrounding the controversy, drawing on archival data in the form of print and web-based news articles, a website for an urban development proposal, 7  Heteronormativity refers to the practices and institutions that legitimize heterosexuality as “normal” and “natural” and thus privileged (Berlant & Warner, 1998; Cohen, 1997). More recently, the term cisnormativity has been used to describe the “assumption that all people are cissexual, that those assigned male at birth always grow up to be men and those assigned female at birth always grow up to be women. This assumption is so pervasive that it otherwise has not yet been named” (Bauer, 2010, p. 356). Cisnormativity is the belief system that underpins transphobia. The terms cissexual and cisgender are used to describe people who are not transsexual or transgender (Bauer, 2010). Throughout this dissertation I critically discuss homonormativity which refers to a particular formation of neoliberal sexual politics that uphold and sustain dominant heteronormative (and white bourgeois) assumptions and institutions (Duggan, 2003). I discuss neoliberalism further in Chapter Four and Five. 8 Kelowna is located in the unceded territory of the Syilx people of the Okanagan,, the Indigenous people who have inhabited the area since time immemorial (Okanagan Nation Alliance, 2004). Their territory is located in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. The Okanagan Nation Alliance is comprised of seven Aboriginal communities, covering areas both in Canada and the United States.  4  and a report from the Tribunal hearings, and I contextualized this analysis with autoethnographic accounts of my experience as a white middle-class queer anti-violence organizer and resident of the city. I wanted to understand how the Pride Day controversy and subsequent human rights case set the stage for a specific conceptualization of LGBTQ safety and rights in the city in the years that followed. Here, my questions were: What are the discourses surrounding Kelowna’s 1996-1997 Lesbian and Gay Pride Day? What can this discourse analysis tell us about how geographies of violence and belonging in LGBTQ communities, are linked to the violence of colonialism and nation-building in a white settler society such as Canada? How is the city of Kelowna produced as a white heteronormative and bourgeois space? How are queer anti-violence and human rights movements related to other social and political movements such as those for Indigenous rights and sovereignty in Canada? Throughout this time, my approach has been inspired by the anti-colonial queer feminist scholarship and social justice activism of Indigenous women, feminists of colour, low-income women, LGBTQ people and youth, who have challenged narrow and simplistic conceptualizations of violence and the subsequent normative anti-violence organizing strategies and politics, showing how they often secure white supremacy, settler colonialism, capitalism, heteropatriarchy9 and neoliberalism. Their critiques point to the importance of developing a complex and interlocking understanding of the simultaneous and multiple forms of violence taking place within and against our communities (Incite!, 2006; Jiwani, 2006; Razack, 1998, 2002; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Russo & Spatz, 2007; Smith, 2005). 9  Heteropatriarchy refers to systems that naturalize, normalize and institutionalize patriarchy and heterosexual family formations, identities and practices (Alexander, 1997). Heteropatriarchy fundamentally structures colonialism, white supremacy and capitalism (Smith, 2006).  5  Re-conceptualizing Violence For four decades in North America, feminist activists have been organizing against violence against women by speaking out about the prevalence and nature of sexual and domestic violence and developing intervention services for women survivors, such as shelters and rape crisis centres, and working to create policy and legislative changes to address the issues (Richie, 2005). Deconstructing violence against women as a public sphere problem has been an important feminist strategy in contesting heteropatriarchal ideologies that make invisible the pervasive violence occurring in women’s intimate relationships and the spaces of their homes. Feminist theorists and activists have disrupted this narrative that constructs public spaces as the primary site of violence and danger for women and the private space of the home as a place of safety (see Price, 2002; Russo, 2001). Similarly, feminist geographers have challenged masculinist ideological frameworks by demonstrating how the private space of the home is as important to understanding social and economic relations as “the public spaces on which geographers have traditionally focused” (Pain, 2001, p.127). While effective in disrupting some hegemonic narratives, these ideological moves have had multiple and contradictory effects. Some activists and scholars (largely women of colour, Indigenous women, low-income and poor women, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender communities, and youth) have argued that the established anti-violence frameworks that have dominated the movement have focused too narrowly on genderbased interpersonal violence in the private sphere of the heterosexual home and have lacked an analysis of the intersecting and interlocking nature of gender, race, sexuality,  6  class and disability — thereby ignoring the complex, diverse and multiple forms and contexts of violence in women’s lives (Almeida, Woods, Messineo, Font, Heer, 1994; Chen, Dulani, & Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarashinha, 2011; Hill-Collins, 1990; Incite!, 2006; Jiwani, 2006; Razack, 1998; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Ristock, 2002; Russo, 2001; Russo & Spatz, 2007; Smith, 2004). Some have argued that many attempts to address these theoretical and material exclusions have taken an additive approach that has continued to normalize some experiences while marginalizing others (Incite!, 2006; Jiwani, 2006; Razack, 1998; Ristock, 2002; Smith, 2004; Van Natta, 2005). Frequently, certain forms of violence (such as racist, colonial, or state violence) are conceptually erased or denied within existing dominant Western feminist frameworks, which have focused exclusively on interpersonal violence (Incite!, 2006; Jiwani, 2006; Monture-Angus, 1995; Price, 2002; Razack, 2002; Russo, 2001; Smith, 2005). Additionally, the connections between violence conceptualized as “hate-motivated” or “bias-based” violence (such as racist and/or homo/transphobic violence for example) and “sexual/domestic” violence are not usually made visible or integrated into the analysis and accompanying anti-violence strategies. Furthermore, the very public violence of racism, colonialism and nation building is normalized as something other than violence and thus erased or made invisible (Jiwani, 2006; Razack, 2002). Accordingly, there is a growing understanding that the categories we use to conceptualize violence are not merely descriptive, but they are also constitutive, in that they help bring our understandings of violence into being in some ways, but not in others.  7  Scholars who disrupt this “grand narrative” of feminist theorizing on violence (Ristock & Pennell, 1996) have suggested that feminist anti-violence theories and practices must incorporate an analysis of multiple and interlocking forms of violence including: white supremacy, colonialism and genocidal practices (Almeida et al., 1994; Incite!, 2006; Jiwani, 2006; Lawrence, 1996; Monture-Angus, 1995; Razack, 1998; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Russo, 2001; Smith, 2005; Taylor & Ristock, 2011); racist violence (Incite!, 2006; Jiwani, 2006; Monture-Angus, 1995; Razack, 1998, 2002); racist immigration laws (Carraway, 1991; Jiwani, 2006); history and processes of globalization (Bhattacharjee, 1997, 2001; Grewal & Kaplan, 1994; Razack, 1998; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Smith, 2005); neoliberalism (Bumiller, 2008; Incite!, 2007; Spade, 2011); law enforcement (including all forms of policing and jailing) (Bhattacharjee, 2001; Incite!, 2006; Richie, 2005); poverty/economic oppression (Carraway, 1991; Lawrence, 1996; Monture-Angus, 1995); militarism and tourism (Trask, 2004); gender binaries and transphobic violence (Courvant & Cook-Daniels, 2000; Lombardi, Wilchins, Priesing, & Malouf, 2001; Namaste, 1996; White & Goldberg, 2006); and heterosexism and samesex/gender relationship abuse (Eaton, 1994; Faulkner, 1991, 1998; Kanuha, 1990; Ristock, 1994, 2002; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Van Natta, 2005; Waldron, 1996). These theorists emphasize the importance of expanding the existing narrow definitions of gender-based violence (intimate partner violence and sexual assault), and argue for the need to address interpersonal and state violence simultaneously (Bhattacharjee, 2001; Chen et al, 2011; Chung & Lee, 2002; Incite!, 2006; Jiwani, 2006; Massaquoi, 2005; Monture-Angus, 1997; Nayak & Suchland, 2006; Razack, 1998; Russo, 2001; Russo & Spatz, 2007; Smith, 2005; Taylor & Ristock, 2011).  8  A central theme evident – but not explicit – in the work of these activists and scholars is the need to break down the discursive construction of public and private spaces. I argue that in different ways, they are calling for a spatial analysis of violence, one that pays attention to the violence enacted on bodies and communities at different sites, relational scales and from multiple sources. Feminist scholars and activists have long critiqued decontextualized framings of violence and have studied the diverse social, structural and economic contexts of violence; however, this has not always included an analysis of spatial contexts or the application of spatial analytical tools. A spatial analysis attends to the complex and relational processes by which violence on certain bodies, in certain spaces, becomes normalized or naturalized (Razack, 2002). A spatial framework informed by anti-colonial and critical race feminist theories in critical geography also draws attention to questions of geopolitics, colonialism, racism and racialization, migration, globalization, nationalism, state violence, citizenship, neoliberalism and the relationality of multiple scales and spaces.10 While these issues might appear to be primarily theoretical concerns, they emerged through my community anti-violence work developing curriculum, conducting training and prevention workshops, developing policies and organizing within various grassroots social movements. I approached the research presented here wanting to know more about the relationship between our explanatory frameworks, hierarchical power relations within social justice movements, our organizing strategies and the wider sociospatial contexts including the impact of neoliberalism and the ongoing white settler colonialism in Canada. I saw how critical it is for us to shift the way we understand and talk about violence in order to transform the strategies that we use to prevent, intervene 10  I discuss these approaches further in Chapters Two, Three and Four.  9  in, and end violence. My approach challenges the binary distinction between theory and practice and recognizes that “we literally have to think ourselves out of these crises through collective praxis and particular kinds of theorizing. Crises are what provoke the opportunity for change within organizations” (Alexander & Mohanty, 1997, p. xx) and social movements.  Entry Points My entry point in this research is my experience as a white middle-class ablebodied cisgender queer femme who has been active in feminist and LGBTQ anti-violence and social justice movements for over twenty years.11 My activism and research interest about the realities of violence in queer women’s lives grew out of my desire to better understand my own experiences of violence in my first lesbian relationship, and more recently the homo/transphobic harassment and threat of violence experienced by both my butch/queer partner and our gender nonconforming child. My social location not only speaks to the way I experience marginalization (as a queer woman and survivor of violence) but also how I am positioned in society in terms of power that comes from the privileges I experience (as a cisgender woman who is white, from a middle-class family, who is university-educated and able-bodied). 12 My research is also motivated by a desire to more deeply understand some of the persistent problems and tensions that I experienced and observed in anti-violence organizing, such as race-neutral analyses of  11  I have been involved in various community-based and academic strategies to address lesbian/gay intimate partner violence, as well as other forms of violence in the lives of LGBTQ people. This has included intervention, prevention and health promotion initiatives, curriculum development and training for anti-violence, health care and criminal legal system responders, networking strategies and communitydevelopment initiatives for advocates and service providers, as well as research and writing. 12 I discuss the complexities of my class background further in a footnote in Chapter Eight.  10  gender and sexual violence, white supremacist and settler colonial thinking, classism, professionalization, neoliberalism, heteronormativity and homonormativity.13 I use this personal narrative not as a confessional strategy or to claim an authoritative voice, but as a place from which to critically reflect on work I have been involved in, to acknowledge my investments and commitments to racial, economic, sexual and gender justice in my research and activism, and to critically examine how I am personally implicated and complicit in the interlocking hierarchies within these social movements and spatial formations in a white settler society. I also want to highlight the partiality of the story I tell in this dissertation and the way it is produced through my subject position, my experiences as a queer anti-violence activist, and my political and theoretical perspectives. My research is informed by my commitment to use knowledge in ways that shifts and transforms discourses and practices (my own and others) within social justice movements and in the world more broadly. I use a critically reflexive feminist framework that challenges positivist approaches to research and instead recognizes that knowledge production is never neutral or objective and is always implicated in power relations. Using a critically reflexive approach is helpful for examining my own resistance and complicity in the research process and within the social movements of which I am a part (English & Irving, 2008; Ristock & Pennell, 1996).  13  The term homonormativity was first introduced by Lisa Duggan (2003) to refer to discursive and sociomaterial practices articulated by gays and lesbians that support rather than resist heteronormative neoliberal projects.  11  Themes Explored My research expands the way we conceptualize and respond to violence by applying an interlocking spatial framework to examine discourses about violence, health, oppression and privilege, space and belonging, and from a number of related sites. I explore stories about violence and space — how violence is explained and represented through a series of nested and relational spatial scales14 — the body, the city, the nonprofit, social movements and the nation (drawing on Brown, 2000). Most importantly, the research critically investigates the way certain forms of violence are discursively erased, denied, repressed or coded as something other than violence in these stories (Jiwani, 2006). I illustrate the normative racialized discursive practices and politics embedded in feminist and LGBTQ anti-violence organizing, and highlight the relational nature of different anti-violence and human rights struggles. This also involves a critique of neoliberalism, whiteness and colonialism within psychological and human rights discourses frequently embedded within LGBTQ anti-violence literature and activism. I argue that questions related to citizenship, belonging, white settler colonialism, racial state violence and Indigenous sovereignty are central issues that must be addressed within feminist and queer anti-violence movements. My research encourages activists and scholars to examine our “everyday acts of white supremacist thought and practice” (hooks, 2003, p. 40) and to commit to challenge all manifestations of settler colonialism –  14  Within geography, scale has been conceptualized as different levels of geopolitics (i.e. an ascending scale from the body to the globe) but with more recent attention to the social construction, discursive and relational nature of scale. This includes the understanding that the social construction of scale affects cultural and political landscapes and challenges hierarchical and binary constructions of scale, place and space (Howitt, 2000).  12  both within queer and feminist social justice movements and in the wider geopolitical contexts as well. This study highlights specific examples from my work in queer and feminist antiviolence movements to illustrate the way the violent and “living nature of colonialism” (De Leeuw & Hunt, 2012) is continually erased within queer and feminist anti-violence, safety and rights discourses in Canada. A central assumption of my research is that the stories we tell about violence in a white settler society are also spatialized stories about who belongs and who doesn’t belong in the nation (Razack, 2002). These stories (and the categories produced through them) rely on one another in complex and hierarchical ways, and they are materialized through racist violent practices. Central in this interlocking analysis, is the understanding that colonial violence is always gendered and sexualized (Razack, 2002; Smith, 2005) and that processes of heterosexualization are integral to colonial nation building (Alexander, 2005; Driskell, Finley, Gilley & Morgensen, 2011; Morgensen, 2011; Smith, 2010b). I also interrogate discourses and neoliberal politics of white homonormativity and settler homonationalism (Morgensen, 2011; Puar, 2007). Within the field of anti-racist feminist studies, scholars and activists use various terms to describe their framework, including anti-racist, critical race, post-colonial and anti-colonial. While there are similarities between these (and I use them all in different contexts), I suggest that the term anti-colonial may be most productive for anti-violence theorizing in Canada for the way it can be understood as a critique of the on-going violence of colonialism in white settler societies. In doing so, I situate my work within a body of anti-colonial and Indigenous feminist literature that critiques the settler colonial thinking that exists within some postcolonial, anti-racist, feminist and queer studies in  13  North America. This framework places the past and present day violence of colonial land theft and dispossession, and strategies of decolonization at the centre of feminist and queer theorizing and social movement politics in white settler societies (Lawrence & Dua, 2005; Monture-Angus, 1995; Morgensen, 2011; Smith, 2005; Trask, 2004). In this dissertation, I pay attention to the discursive and material conditions that determine and regulate what can be named and known, as well as what is unspeakable at specific historical points and socio-cultural and spatial locations. For example, my research reveals how white normative discourses within in queer and feminist antiviolence organizing produce a regime of truth (Foucault, 1980) through the exclusion of colonial and racialized violence. This is frequently accomplished through the rhetorical strategy of naming colonial and racial violence “off topic” or outside of the frame of reference. The diverse themes and problems discussed in this dissertation include: (i) interlocking and relational analyses of violence and space; (ii) geographies of violence and belonging; (iii) public/private conceptions of space and violence; (v) the relationship between LGBTQ geographies of belonging, safety and violence in the city and racialized, gendered, classed and sexualized citizenship and nation-building discourses; (vi) racialized politics, whiteness and settler colonial thinking within feminist and LGBTQ social movements and heteronormativity and transphobia within feminist anti-violence organizing; (vii) the relationship between neoliberalism and queer/feminist non-profits and social movements in North America; (viii) and the relationships between LGBTQ rights discourses and the violence of white supremacy and on-going colonial violence against Indigenous people in Canada. While I understand race, class, gender, sexuality,  14  ability, age as interlocking categories, this dissertation research is primarily concerned with processes of racialization, heteronormativity and homonormativity.15 To examine these issues, I focus on a discursive analysis of texts as well as on critical, social, and historical moments through which I also engage in autoethnographical approaches. I critically analyze discourses in various texts such as anti-violence curricula, pamphlets and booklets, newspaper articles, interview transcripts and a report from a BC human rights tribunal. I also embrace an “autoethnographic sensibility” whereby I reflect on experiences from my own life circumstances as one research strategy for understanding the larger social or cultural phenomena that I am a part of, and that I am examining (Butz & Besio, 2009).  The Challenges of Defining a Conceptual Framework in Interdisciplinary Research The title of my dissertation suggests that we should move “towards an interlocking spatial framework for queer anti-violence organizing” and this describes both my conceptual framework for this research, as well as a proposed framework for anti-violence organizing within queer communities. However, throughout the process of conducting my research and writing this dissertation, I have found it challenging to find the most accurate language to describe my analytical approach or framework. As an interdisciplinary scholar (completing a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies) I have struggled to embrace an accurate and full description of the key definitional components of my framework that is not overly cumbersome. Problems can arise in interdisciplinary research when the research has poorly defined terms or an unclear or  15  Racialization refers to a discriminatory and stigmatizing process where a group or individual within a group, is marked and positioned as inferior (Omi & Winant, 1986).  15  missing conceptual framework or insufficiently explained methods (Moore, Newsome, Rodger & Smith, 2009). I have sought to address these issues in my research by clearly defining my terms and providing a detailed discussion of my interdisciplinary framework and methods throughout the dissertation (specifically in Chapter Four). The “official” disciplines of my PhD are: Sociology, Social Work, Women’s Studies and Human Geography, but my research approach is also situated within and informed by other disciplines and sub-disciplines such as: education (sociology of education/adult education/curriculum and pedagogy studies); critical race/anti-colonial/postcolonial studies, Indigenous Studies, queer/LGBTQ studies, cultural studies, and narrative and discourse studies. I argue for an “interlocking spatial framework” for queer anti-violence organizing; however, I feel that this description is also insufficient and does not fully capture my critique of colonialism in a white settler society.16 As such, throughout the dissertation I also suggest and describe an “anti-colonial queer” approach. I do so intentionally to highlight and problematize a number of normative discourses and geographies that are produced in and through LGBTQ and feminist anti-violence movements in a white settler and neoliberal socio-spatial context. While my research examines a number of exclusions produced through these normative discourses, practices and spaces, I focus specifically on racialized exclusions and the marginalization of LGBTQ people of colour and Indigenous people. I use the term queer both as an identity and umbrella category, and also as a radical analytical critique of identity and normative discourses, and I recognize the inherent contradictions and tensions in using it in these ways. I situate my work alongside other critical race, feminist queer scholars who view a 16  These issues are discussed in more detail in Chapters Two and Four.  16  queer approach as one that is not only anti-normative, but that also goes beyond a sexual politics of recognition to engage deeply with interlocking/intersectional and anticolonial/critical race theories and geopolitical issues such as imperialism, colonialism, globalization, migration, neoliberalism and nationalism (Oswin, 2008). While the term interlocking is often understood as growing out of antiracist/critical race feminist theorizing, it does not always signify an anti-colonial analytic and a critique of settler colonialism or heteronormativity. Intersectional and interlocking theories have not always adequately addressed how heteronormativity, white settler colonialism and racism operate simultaneously and depend on one another to function. I discuss this further in Chapter Four. For these reasons, I sometimes find the term interlocking inadequate and I therefore think it is important to also describe my framework as “anti-colonial queer” to highlight my focus on racialized, colonial and hetero/homonormative socio-spatial narratives and the way LGBTQ communities are positioned with these in white settler colonial spaces in Canada.  Dissertation Structure It was my original intention to write a manuscript-based dissertation as per UBC policy allowing either a traditional and manuscript-based structure. The dissertation would have taken the format of three or four separate manuscripts (those accepted for publication, under review for publication, or judged by the committee members as of publishable quality), and would also have included an introductory and concluding chapter. In 2008, UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies’ policy stipulated that “Other than minor formatting changes, [included chapters] must not be significantly altered from the  17  published or intended-to-be-published version” (University of British Columbia, 2008). This allowed for the possibility of some repetition between chapters within the overall dissertation (especially regarding the theoretical and methodological framework) while the author was still required to articulate thematic linkages between chapters. However the manuscript-based format was phased out on September 1 2010.17 When this was announced, my committee had already approved the manuscript-based format for my dissertation and I had already completed three manuscripts that would appear as stand-alone chapters in the dissertation: the first was published in 2009 in the journal Gender, Place and Culture, the second was accepted for publication in the book Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ Lives, and the third was under review with the journal Antipode. The policy change in 2010 required that I re-write some sections of the dissertation (i.e. to consolidate the methodology and theoretical framework) and to make changes to the format; however the overall structure follows this original vision. In the next section I outline the organization of the chapters of the dissertation.  Organization of Chapters The next two chapters provide an overview of two relevant bodies of literature. In Chapter Two, I review some of the key theorists and debates regarding feminist intersectional and interlocking theories. In Chapter Three, I review some of the literature on violence on intimate partner violence in LGBTQ communities and briefly discuss the literature on anti-LGBTQ violence. 17  “On March 18 2010, the Faculty of Graduate Studies Council endorsed a new single structure and format to be followed for UBC theses and dissertations. The new structure provides considerably more flexibility than the previous structures outlined for traditional and manuscript-based theses and dissertations. For example, manuscript-based chapters can now be incorporated into theses and dissertations that otherwise follow the structure and format of the former traditional thesis” (UBC, 2010).  18  Chapter Four describes the theoretical framework and methods that inform my approach to research. I use an interdisciplinary framework, drawing on methodological tools from Women’s Studies, Geography, Social Work and Sociology. In Part One, I list my research questions. Part Two outlines my theoretical framework with a particular focus on tools from feminist poststructuralist, anti-colonial queer and spatial theories. In Part Three, I discuss my qualitative research design and methods. Finally, in Part Four I discuss the strengths and limitations of my methodological approach. In Chapters Five, Six and Seven, I apply these analytical tools to my empirical research. I use three case studies to examine my central research questions. In Chapter Five I analyze feminist community-based educational discourses about lesbian intimate partner violence. Drawing on qualitative data from interviews and a focus group with lesbian and queer feminist educators that was collected for a previous project, I conduct a secondary analysis to explore more deeply how the public/private dichotomy and white homonormativity in feminist and lesbian anti-violence educational discourses (found in workshops, conferences, pamphlets and booklets), produce racialized exclusions and white homonormativity. I continue my analysis of community-based educational discourses in Chapter Six, this time focusing on a queer feminist violence prevention and health promotion curriculum that I designed and delivered, the “Safe Choices Support and Education Program’s Healthy Queer Relationships Workshops.” In this chapter I analyze competing discourses in a “healthy relationships” curriculum, exploring how they disrupt and/or reinforce normative conceptions of health, subjectivity, citizenship and neoliberal technologies of governance.  19  In Chapter Seven I take the Lesbian and Gay Pride Day controversy and subsequent BC Human Rights Tribunal in the city of Kelowna, British Columbia from the period of 1996-2000 as a case study for considering the interlocking spatial politics of belonging, gay rights, violence, heteronormativity and white settler colonialism. I also bring an autoethnographic perspective through a critical reflection of my personal experience in Kelowna, as the co-coordinator and educator with the provincial “LGBT Anti-Violence Project: Creating Safe and Healthy Queer Communities,” and as a resident of the city. Chapter Eight brings together the central arguments from the three empirical chapters and concludes the dissertation by discussing some of the resulting implications for practice. I argue that an interlocking queer spatial framework for addressing violence in the lives of LGBTQ people must focus on decolonization/anti-colonial strategies that interrupt and displace the spatial logics of white supremacy and that promote Indigenous sovereignty, coalition building and practices of accountability. This exploration raises crucial questions and directions for practitioners (such as social workers, advocates, counsellors, community-developers, educators, scholars and other activists) who are working to resist violence and promote gender, sexual, economic, racial and spatial justice.  20  Chapter Two: Intersectional and Interlocking Feminist Theories In this chapter I review some of the literature on feminist intersectional and interlocking theories, and discuss why I use an interlocking approach informed by anticolonial feminist, queer and spatial theories. Intersectional and interlocking theory is a political critique and methodology that grew out of the anti-racist activism and theorizing of feminists of colour and Indigenous women in North America in 1970s. It challenges singular and universal conceptualizations of identity and stresses the multiple and interlocking systems of oppression and domination operating in women’s lives. These activists and scholars challenged white, heterosexist and masculinist frameworks within social movements that positioned gender, race, sexuality and class as separate categories of identity and oppression (e.g. Allen, 1986; Carty, 1991; Lorde, 1984; Maracle, 1988; Spelman, 1988). They emphasized that not only are women oppressed in different ways, but that they are positioned hierarchically to one another in relations of power and privilege (Jiwani, 2006; Razack, 1998). While both words are used among activists and in the academic literature, intersectionality is most common. It has become a major research paradigm in women’s studies and increasingly within other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, geography, cultural studies, social work and health sciences18. Despite the proliferation of intersectional discourse, it is not easy to pin down a definition, and differences in  18  Explanations of the theory and how to apply it in practice can be found in countless articles, books (Hankvisky, 2011; Lockhart & Danis, 2010; Sokoloff, 2005), textbooks (Andersen & Collins, 2012), manuals (Hankvisky & Cormier, 2009), conferences, university courses (Hill-Collins, 2009), and within materials produced by activist organizations (PeerThink, 2009; Simpson, 2009).  21  interpretation and practice can lead to confusion. Patricia Hill-Collins (2009) points out that “because intersectionality constitutes a new term applied to a diverse set of practices, interpretations, methodologies and political orientations, we cannot assume that we are studying a fixed body of knowledge or theoretical orientation” (p. 1). Similarly, Wendy Hulko (2009) states that although this paradigm has been popular and widely used, the complexity of intersectional and interlocking oppressions appears to become diluted in practice, and conceptual or theoretical interrogations are infrequent. In the absence of theoretical specificity, the misuse of concepts can and does occur, and the resulting confusion can prevent researchers, practitioners, and educators from understanding and applying an intersectional lens to their work. (p. 45) In some contexts and disciplines, intersectionality is being taken up for the first time or adopted as a “new paradigm,” such as within health sciences (Hankvisky & Cormier, 2009) and geography (Valentine, 2007). It is important, however, to resist framing intersectional or interlocking theory as new, but rather to encourage contextual specificity about how, where, and for whom these ideas and approaches are new. It is also important for researchers to clarify their understanding and application of the theory. In my research, I do this by explaining my preference for the term interlocking to describe my theoretical framework, and later in this chapter, I describe this in more detail. Often the origin of the theory is traced to the work of Black feminists in the United States and specifically to legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw’s (1989, 1991) use of the term “intersectionality” and sociologist Patricia Hill-Collins’ (1990) use of the term  22  “interlocking,”19 However the idea of the simultaneity of race, class, gender and sexuality-based oppression goes further back and in multiple global locations beyond what is now known as the United States. Racialized women have named and resisted the interlocking forms of oppression in their lives at various times and in many places. Importantly, Cherokee feminist scholar Andrea Smith (2006) cautions us to not recreate settler colonial narratives in feminist history. She states that the frequently cited theory of the “three waves of feminism”20 in North America centres white feminists and ignores Indigenous feminist resistance and activism which began much earlier in the United States in 1492 with the arrival of Europeans and Indigenous women’s resistance to the colonial patriarchal violence perpetrated upon Indigenous peoples and their lands. Many Indigenous feminist activists and scholars have addressed the interconnections between different systems of domination, such as Patricia Monture-Angus (1995) when she wrote: My world is not experienced in a linear and compartmentalized way. I experience the world simultaneously as Mohawk and as woman….To artificially separate my gender from my race and culture forces me to deny the way I experience the world. Such denial has devastating effects on Aboriginal constructions of reality. (p. 178) Avtar Brah and Ann Phoenix (2004) trace the feminist debates about the  19  The intersectionality paradigm was not widely recognized in sociology until the publication of Patricia Hill-Collins’ (1990) work in the 1990s. 20 The hegemonic feminist discourse of the three waves of feminism, usually identifies the first wave of feminism in North America as the period from the mid-19th century until the 1920s when women fought to achieve basic political and citizenship rights, such as the right to vote. The second wave is often described as the period in the late 1960's and 1970's where feminists pushed beyond the early quest for political rights to address broader social relations and issues such as reproduction, mothering, sexual violence, education, the workplace, and domestic labour. The mid-to-late 1980s to the present has been called the third wave. Third wave feminists often contest and critique second wave feminism for a lack of attention to the inequities and differences among women due to the social construction of race, class, sexuality, nationality, age and ability.  23  exclusions/inclusions of the category “woman,” to the Black women’s anti-slavery movement in the US in 1832 and the famous speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” by Sojourner Truth in 1851 where she critiqued racialized and essentialized definitions of gendered identity. In 1977 the phrase “interlocking oppressions” was first recorded in the feminist movement in the United States when the Combahee River Collective, a Boston-based group of Black lesbian feminists first used the term to explain the simultaneity of racial, gendered, sexual and classed oppression that they experienced in their everyday lives. In their collective statement they argued for an integrated analysis and practice that examines the interlocking systems of oppression: We are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates the condition of our lives. As Black women we see Black feminism as the logical political movement to combat the manifold and simultaneous oppressions that all women of color face. (Smith, 2000, p. 264)21 This view was also represented in the groundbreaking, and now classic works of many other Indigenous women and feminists of colour in the 1970s and 1980s such as bell hooks’ (1981) Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Angela Davis’ (1981) Women, Race and Class, Cherrie Norris and Gloria Anzaldua’s (1981) This Bridge Called My Back, Audre Lorde’s (1984) Sister Outsider, Lee Maracle’s (1988) I am  21  This statement was first published in 1983 in Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology by Kitchen Table Women of Color Press.  24  Woman and many others.22 This politic was built around the belief that we cannot successfully resist or dismantle one form of oppression in isolation from the others – that injustice against one group is connected to injustice against all, and therefore we must work to end them all. It grew out of the lived experiences of racialized women in social movements who were frequently expected to focus solely on one form of oppression in their analysis and political organizing (such as sexism and patriarchy in feminist organizing, white supremacy in movements of colour, capitalism in movements for economic justice, and homophobia and heterosexism in lesbian and gay liberation movements) (Incite!-Critical Resistance, 2005). One aspect of the Combahee River Collective’s statement that stands out is the emphasis on “an integrated analysis and practice” (emphasis mine) (p. 264). They also stress that it is “the synthesis of these oppressions that creates the conditions of our lives” (p. 264). Reflecting on this statement in 2000, one of the original members of the group, Barbara Smith, noted that their theory reflected a commitment to address the “basic bread-and-butter issues” facing Black women (p. xvi). It connects theory and practice and encourages the development of coalitions and strategic alliances to end multiple forms of social exclusion, subordination and violence (Hill-Collins, 1990; Hankvisky & Cormier, 2009; Lorde, 1984; Ristock & Timbang, 2005). As I discuss later in this chapter, this attention to the structural conditions that produce unequal power relations has not always been present in intersectional theorizing (Erel, Haritaworn, Rodríguez & Klesse, 2008; Ward, 2008).  22  Many others developed this conceptual framework including: Jeanette Armstrong, Emma LaRocque, Madeleine Dion Stout, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Barbara Smith, Pat Parker, June Jordan, Chrystos, Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, and many others.  25  The Meanings of Intersectionality Many scholars have traced the debates about different meanings and approaches to theorizing intersectionality (Brah & Phoenix, 2004; Burman, 2004; Carastathis, 2008; Hankvisky & Cormier, 2009; McCall, 2005; Norris, Murphy-Erby, & Zajicek, 2007; Valentine, 2007). In this section I briefly review some of this literature. Crenshaw (1989) used the metaphor of intersecting roads to explain the way race and gender interact to shape the multiple dimensions of Black women’s employment experiences. Building on this initial work, she added that intersectionality “addresses the manner in which racism, patriarchy, class oppression and other discriminatory systems create background inequalities that structure the relative positions of women, races, ethnicities, classes and the like” (in Jiwani, 2006, p. 16).23 In 1990, Patricia Hill-Collins wrote that Black feminist thought fosters a fundamental paradigmatic shift in how we conceptualize oppression by rejecting additive approaches and instead viewing race, class, gender and other systems as interlocking. She explained that additive models “are firmly rooted in either/or dichotomous thinking of Eurocentric, masculinist thought” (p. 225) that rank oppressions (i.e. one woman is worse off than the other). Rather than starting with gender and adding others axes of oppression, she argued that Black feminist thought promotes an interlocking paradigm that expands the focus of analysis from merely describing the similarities and differences distinguishing these systems of oppression and focuses greater attention on how they connect. Assuming that each system needs the others in order to function creates a distinct theoretical stance that stimulate the  23  As I discuss further in subsequent chapters, there are limitations with viewing these inequalities as ‘background’ features.  26  rethinking of basic social science concepts. (p. 222; my emphasis) Hill-Collins argued that this meant embracing a “both/and conceptual stance” that examines the relationship between various social relations of domination and that acknowledges that “all groups possess varying amounts of penalty and privilege in one historically created system” (p. 225). In her later work, Hill-Collins (1997) used the term “interlocking” to refer to macro-level and “intersectional” for micro-level phenomena: …[t]he notion of interlocking refers to the macro level connections linking systems of oppression such as race, class and gender. This is the model describing the social structures that create social positions. Second, the notion of intersectionality describes micro level processes — namely, how each individual and group occupies a social position within interlocking structures of oppression described by the metaphor of intersectionality. Together they shape oppression. (p 74) In this framing she associates “interlocking” with the larger structures and systems of oppression and “intersectional” with individual and social group positions or identities. In 2000, Hill-Collins wrote that “intersectional paradigms remind us that oppression cannot be reduced to one fundamental type, and that oppressions work together in producing injustice” (p. 18). In a later article (2003), she used the term to refer to micro-meso-and macro-level processes. In the late 1970s through to the early 1990s, the terms “double jeopardy” (Beale, 1979), “multiple jeopardy” (King, 1988) and “triple jeopardy” (Kanuha, 1990) were used to describe the complexities of multiple oppressions in the lives of racialized women.  27  Although this language implies an additive model (and has been critiqued and recently rejected for this reason), many of these scholars resisted additive theorizing and searched for new language to challenge singular identity categories that would describe the simultaneity of multiple oppressions without ranking one over the others. For example, Valli Kanuha’s (1990) article “Compounding the Triple Jeopardy: Battering in Lesbian of Colour Relationships” was the first to address the simultaneous experiences of racism, sexism and homophobia in the lives of lesbians of colour experiencing intimate partner abuse. She addresses racism within lesbian and feminist communities, external and internalized homophobia within communities of colour and how the “combined” effects of racism, sexism, homophobia and violence impact lesbians of colour in abusive intimate relationships. In her development of the term “multiple jeopardy”, Deborah King (1988) specifically sought to challenge an additive approach of “racism plus sexism plus classism equals triple jeopardy” (p.47). Similarly, Himani Bannerji (1993) developed the term “racist-sexism” to describe the interlocking nature of the race and gender-based sexual harassment experienced by racialized women. Scholars and activists use various metaphors and terms that may reflect different meanings and approaches, while in other cases they are synonymous with one another. These complexities point to the importance of paying attention to the politics of language — how it is used in practice and what is produced through it. In recent years a number of scholars have sought to map the terrain of intersectional scholarship. Patricia Hill-Collins (2009) identifies three categories: i) [those who] use intersectionality as an analytical tool to study specific topics and/or social practices; ii) [those who] conceptualize systems of power via  28  intersectional frameworks, e.g., how the study of saturated sites of intersectionality reveal how race, class, and gender, sexuality, age, ability, ethnicity, etc., mutually construct one another as systems of power; and (3) [those who use] meta‐theoretical analyses of intersectionality itself, e.g., projects devoted to conceptualizing the dimensions of intersectionality as a social theory. (p. 7) Jane Ward (2008) suggests there are two central components that make up intersectional theory. First, intersectional theory critiques universal, singular or essentialist identity categories and places multiplicity at the centre (p. 34-35). Secondly, it refers to the way multiple systems of oppression do not operate independently of one another but exist simultaneously (p. 34). In their definition, Avtar Brah and Ann Phoenix (2004) emphasize history and context in understanding the complex relationship between various dimensions of social life: We regard the concept of ‘intersectionality’ as signifying the complex, irreducible, varied, and variable effects which ensue when multiple axis of differentiation – economic, political, cultural, psychic, subjective and experiential – intersect in historically specific contexts. The concept emphasizes that different dimensions of social life cannot be separated out into discrete and pure strands. (p. 76) Leslie McCall (2005) differentiates between three approaches to intersectional methodology: anticategorical complexity, intracategorical complexity and intercategorical complexity. Anticategorical complexity refers to the poststructural and critical race critiques of universalist and essentialist constructions of categories and  29  subjectivities. In the intercategorical approach, categories are used in order “to document relationships of inequality among social groups and changing configurations of inequality among multiple and conflicting dimensions”(p. 1773). In this approach the “relational dynamics” are the centre of the analysis. She cites the work of Evelyn Nakano Glenn (2002) who suggests that intersectional theorizing should place greater emphasis on relationality and use race and gender categories as “‘anchor’ points – though these points are not static” (p. 14). As I discuss later in this chapter, this approach is similar to other scholars who use an interlocking approach, such as Sherene Razack (1998, 2008) and critical geographers who weave together intersectional theory and relational geography theory (see Hopkins & Noble, 2009; Hopkins & Pain, 2007; Valentine, 2007). Thirdly, McCall defines the intracategorical approach that focuses on particular social groups and analyses the complexity of lived experiences in these groups. Rita Dhamoon (2011) refers to four “intersectional-type approaches” representing different aspects of socio-political life, noting that while they are sometimes used interchangeably, each emphasizes something different and can’t be assumed to do the “same analytic work” (p. 233). She identifies these four approaches as: The identities of an individual or set of individuals or social group that are marked as different (e.g., a Muslim woman or black women), the categories of difference (e.g., race and gender), the processes of differentiation (e.g., racialization and gendering), and the systems of domination (e.g., racism, colonialism, sexism, and patriarchy). (p. 233)  In this study, I have used all four approaches that Dhamoon describes, although not  30  always interchangeably or simultaneously. In my work, I view an interlocking approach as not only about making connections between different axes of identity, but also between categories, systems of domination, discourses and spatial contexts. In my approach I look at processes, categories and systems of domination and how these are produced discursively, materially or spatially but with attention to the relationship between subject formation, discourse and power. Intersectional theorizing is not solely or primarily an academic endeavor. Community-based and activist organizations have developed intersectional and interlocking theories and practices — through the leadership and activism of anti-racist feminists of colour and Indigenous women. For example, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) developed “Intersectional Feminist Frameworks” in their work and produced a tool-kit/manual for community groups (Simpson, 2009). Their work stresses the way “multiple forces work together and interact to reinforce conditions of inequality and social exclusion” and addresses the historical and current day contexts of colonialism and globalization (p. 10).  Contexts, Case Studies, Events A number of scholars have recommended a context-specific approach and the use of case studies, moments or events for intersectional or interlocking research. A contextspecific approach may include attention to social, political, economic and geographical contexts. And it may or may not, attend to the connections and relationality of these contexts. While most intersectional/interlocking research explores social-economic and  31  political contexts there has been less attention to geographical contexts. 24 Leslie McCall (2005) suggests that by starting with a specific group, event or context as a starting point, the researcher can then work outward to understand how the categories or identities are lived, experienced and produced. She notes that “the point is not to deny the importance— both material and discursive—of categories but to focus on the process by which they are produced, experienced, reproduced, and resisted in everyday life” (p. 1783). Sherene Razack’s (1998, 2002) approach to studying race, gender, violence and space has similarly relied on a case study approach where she has used specific socio-legal moments and spatial contexts to consider the way different systems of domination rely on one another. Gill Valentine, Robert Vanderbeck, Johan Andersson, Joanna Sadgrove and Kevin Ward (2010) suggest that examining a case study of a specific event is an effective way to study how the complexities of intersecting categories are experienced in everyday life. They note that by using the event as a “prism” this approach brings attention to the specificity of socio-spatial and temporal contexts and power relations: “as material spaces, events matter because they physically bring diverse people together in one location where abstract discourses and positions in diffuse social networks become transformed into actual tangible, emplaced social relations in which power is outworked” (p. 939). Writing in the context of feminist social work and anti-violence work, Gita Mehrotra (2010) recommends that in order to understand the multiplicity and complexity of systems, identities and contexts, we should apply a context-specific approach that  24  I discuss contexts further in Chapter Three and Four.  32  attends to the goals and needs of specific groups and contexts. In this way, she is arguing against a one-size-fits-all approach to intersectionality. She argues that we should develop and use a continuum of different theorizations of intersectionality, with various epistemological bases, that can be strategically applied, depending on the goals of a particular project or practice context. To articulate the experience of diverse groups of women throughout the world, these paradigms must go beyond the usual triumvirate of U.S.-based race, class, and gender to include migration, colonization, sexuality, ability, and other processes of oppression and identity. (p. 417) I agree with Mehrotra’s call for an interdisciplinary approach that recognizes a range of socio-spatial and historical contexts and complexities and my study extends this by highlighting spatial contexts and spatial theoretical tools. Other scholars researching violence from an intersectional framework such as Janice Ristock (2002), Natalie Sokoloff and Ida Dupont (2005), Anne Russo and Melissa Spatz (2007) have similarly argued against a one-size-fits-all approach and have stressed the importance of an intersectional and context-specific approach. In her research on violence in lesbian relationships, Ristock (2002) argues that we need to resist all-explanatory models and universalizing narratives and pay attention to the different social contexts, specificity and heterogeneity of relationships. She brings forwards women’s stories that do not fit the available discourses, categories and constructs and argues for “the need to move away from either/or categories and static models, stressing instead the need for more contextualized, multiple and multifaceted understandings” (p. 179). Intersectional or interlocking theories have not been widely applied in the field of  33  geography, although importantly some feminist geographers such as Audrey Kobayashi and Linda Peake (1994, 2000), Laura Pulido (2002), Ruth Wilson-Gilmore (2002), and Katherine McKittrick (2006) have been addressing connections between race and gender for many years. Still, theories defined as “intersectional” have only recently been taken up by some critical geographers (Brown, 2011; Browne, 2006; Hopkins & Noble, 2009; Hopkins & Pain, 2007; Oswin, 2008; Puar, 2007; Valentine, 2007). Gill Valentine (2007) has noted that feminist geography can make important contributions to “advance the theorization of intersectionality through its appreciation of the significance of space in processes of subject formation” (p. 10). Within the field of critical geography, scholars are calling for future research that applies an intersectional lens to examine the relationships between space, identities and systems of power, to deepen our understandings of the complexities of social and cultural geographies (Brown, 2011; Oswin, 2008; Valentine, 2007). For example, they have begun exploring the intersections of space with gender, body size and age (Hopkins, 2008; Hopkins & Pain, 2007; Longhurst, 2001), masculinities (Hopkins & Noble, 2009), of gender and class (McDowell, 2004), sexualities (Browne, Lim & Brown, 2007; Knopp, 2007; Oswin, 2008), and race and heteronormativity (Oswin, 2008; Puar, 2007). My approach in this study, builds on and extends the work of the scholars discussed above, by applying a spatial framework informed by intersectional and interlocking feminist theories, to look at the relationship between social, political, discursive and spatial contexts. Specifically I apply this framework to examine discourses in three case studies: i) white queer/lesbian anti-violence educators in Vancouver BC; ii) a queer/lesbian violence prevention and health promotion curriculum in Vancouver BC;  34  iii) and homophobic and transphobic violence in Kelowna BC, and the related human rights struggles surrounding Kelowna’s Lesbian and Gay Pride Day. However my work is also attentive to the limitations with intersectional theories and to the issues raised about some problematic interpretations and applications of the theory, which I briefly discuss next.  Tensions and Limitations Recently there have been important discussions about the limitations with intersectional theory (Erel et al., 2008; Puar, 2011; Ward, 2008). Some argue it has been used in ways that are contrary to its original intentions and as well, that it has become depoliticized and de-raced (Erel et al., 2008). While Crenshaw (1993) emphasizes that an intersectional approach challenges the idea of separate categories and stresses the importance of attention to the political and material contexts, too often intersectional theorists explore how systems or identities are separate but parallel, and many merely name multiple social locations but stop short of addressing the structural, spatial and material contexts that produce inequalities (Erel et al., 2008). Another concern has been the limited engagement with axes of identity and oppression beyond gender and race. Until more recently, class, disability, age and sexuality have not been given the same attention (Brown, 2011). This is significant given the early intersectional theorizing by Black lesbian feminists such as Audre Lorde and those of the Combahee River Collective discussed earlier, which included an analysis of heterosexism and classism. In a recent anthology on intersectionality and sexuality, the editors made the following assessment about the literature:  35  A concern with sexuality is apparent within scholarly work on ‘intersectionality’ as a spoke on the ‘intersectional wheel’, but these intersections are often minimally gestured towards rather than empirically substantiated, demonstrated and ‘delivered’; the formalistic addition and repetition of ‘intersectionality’ leaves out the intimate interconnections, mutual constitutions and messiness of everyday identifications and lived experiences. (Taylor et al., 2010, p. 2) Some attention has been raised about the way intersectional theory is being taken up in different disciplines and contexts, which recently prompted Patricia Hill-Collins (2009, 2012) to refer to it as a “traveling theory”: As a ‘traveling theory’, intersectionality is being used across disciplinary borders, in different national contexts, as well as across boundaries that separate scholarly knowledge from the everyday knowledge of social activists. What happens when an idea like intersectionality travels across multiple social locations? For example, what are the effects on an idea developed within a specific social context, in this case, intersectionality developed within social movement politics that travels into other settings with very different power relations? The traveling nature of intersectionality enables us to see various boundaries and borders. (2009, p. 9)25 Hill-Collins raises questions about the potential for intersectional theory to become decontextualized and detached from the politics, power relations and social movement agenda it was originally inspired by. Similarly, some anti-racist queer activists and theorists have recently raised concerns about the “depoliticization of intersectionality 25  In 1982 Edward Said developed the notion of “traveling theory” to describe the way ideas or theories “travel” from place to place (Bayoumi & Rubin, 2000, p. 195). While Said argued that through this process, theory can become de-historicized, de-contextualized and domesticated, he later revised his argument to contend that a theory could be revitalized through a reinterpretation in a new political and social context (Bayoumi & Rubin, 2000, p. 195).  36  talk” (Erel, et al., 2008). I share these concerns and have witnessed the way intersectional discourse can be mobilized to prop up and legitimate neoliberal regimes and secure white normativity, and I discuss some of the implications further in Chapter Six. Some critics have argued that the term intersectionality frequently describes the multiplicity of identities and oppressions, but evades a deeper analysis of how they work together and what is produced through them, or in other words, how they are each other and give content to each other (Razack, 2008). Some apply an intersectional analysis to focus solely on multiply marginalized groups, missing the way all identities are multiple and intersectional, and the way privilege is produced through interlocking systems. Some have noted that these challenges are due to the successive nature of language or the constraints of space within publications. Gill Valentine (2007) suggests that the complexity of intersectionality means that it is difficult to fully illustrate the implications of this complexity within a single journal article. She argues that one of the problematic results “of this limitation is that work on intersectionality often collapses back to a focus on the experiences of nonprivileged groups rather than on how privileged or powerful identities are ‘done’ and ‘undone’” (p. 14). Anna Carastathis (2008) has noted, in many cases intersectionality is used to focus on the inclusion of “difference.” Equally problematic are instances where the language of intersectionality (like the language of “diversity”) is deployed primarily so as to not appear white/racist, middle-class/classist, etc. but lacks an applied intersectional analysis (for discussion of this see Ahmed, 2004; Puar, 2011). In Chapter Six I discuss how a discourse of intersectionality functions in this way in a queer relationship violence prevention curriculum.  37  Relatedly, Jasbir Puar (2005, 2011) has argued that intersectional theorizing fixes and stabilizes identities missing how time, spaces and bodies are mobile and interwoven. Drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Puar introduces the concept of “assemblage” into the discussion on intersectionality (2005). She writes: As opposed to an intersectional model of identity, which presumes components – race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, age, religion – are separable analytics and can be thus disassembled, an assemblage is more attuned to interwoven forces that merge and dissipate time, space, and body against linearity, coherence, and permanency. (p. 127-128) She critiques the way intersectional theory stabilizes identity across space and time, which denies the “performative aspects of identification” (2007, p. 212). Puar argues that [n]o matter how intersectional our models of subjectivity, no matter how attuned to locational politics of space, place, and scale, these formulations—these fine tunings of intersectionality, as it were, that continue to be demanded—may still limit us if they presume the automatic primacy and singularity of the disciplinary subject and its identitarian interpellation. (p. 206) In her most recent work (2011) she claims that in its most common usage, intersectionality always produces a racialized Other: “what the method of intersectionality is most predominantly used to qualify is the specific ‘difference’ of ‘women of colour’ ” (p. 2). She suggests that “[m]uch like the language of diversity, the language of intersectionality, its very invocation, it seems, largely substitutes for intersectional analysis itself” (p. 2). Based on my analysis of intersectional discourses within anti-violence curriculum and pedagogical practice in this study, I concur with Puar  38  that these problems exist. Like Hill-Collins’ discussion of the limitations of intersectionality as a traveling theory, Puar (2011) expresses concerns and questions about the “viability of intersectionality as a theoretical frame” in this current socio-spatial and political context: What does an intersectional critique look like – or more to the point, what does it do – in an age of neoliberal pluralism, absorption and accommodation of difference, of all kinds of differences? If it is the case that intersectionality has been ‘mainstreamed’ in the last two decades – a way to manage difference that colludes with dominant forms of liberal multiculturalism – is the qualitative force of the interpellation of ‘difference itself’ altered or uncertain? (emphasis mine, p. 2) Puar recommends “thinking through the intertwined relations of intersectionality and assemblages” (p. 2). Puar is one of many anti-racist scholars who have recently critiqued the mainstreaming of intersectionality as “a way to manage difference that colludes with dominant forms of liberal multiculturalism” (p. 2; see also Ahmed, 2004; Tauqir, 2011; Ward, 2008).  Interlocking Theory Some theorists embrace many of the ideas and practices of intersectional theory but in response to the above critiques and limitations, prefer the term interlocking to describe their approach. They point out the interlocking nature of these systems and the way identities are produced in and through them in symbiotic and hierarchical ways. Anne McClintock (1995) describes interlocking systems of domination in this way:  39  race, gender and class [as well as sexuality and disability] are not distinct realms of experience, existing in splendid isolation from each other; nor can they be simply yoked together retrospectively like armatures of Lego. Rather, they come into existence in and through relation to each other –if in contradictory and conflictual ways. (p. 5; original emphasis) I find her explanation persuasive and especially appreciate her attention to the contradictory and conflictual production of these systems. Building on McClintock’s (1995) and Hill-Collins’ (1990) work, Mary Louise Fellows and Sherene Razack (1998) describe this relationship in the following way: Systems of oppression (capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy) rely on one another in complex ways. The interlocking effect means that the systems of oppression could not be accomplished without gender and racial hierarchies; imperialism could not function without class exploitation, sexism, heterosexism, and so on. (p. 335) Fellows and Razack argue that respectability must be understood as that which sustains hierarchical relations. They show how the discursive move of ranking oppressions or trying “to change one system while leaving the others intact,” ignores how various systems mutually construct and rely on one another, and leaves “in place the structure of domination that is made up of interlocking hierarchies” (p. 3). By employing an interlocking analysis in their research on hierarchical relations between women, they show that the problem of competing marginalities revolves “around the deeply felt belief that each of us, as women, are not implicated in the subordination of other women” (p. 2). This leads women to “race to innocence”. They describe the problem of competing marginalities and the race to innocence:  40  We draw the conclusion that the systems of domination that position white, middle-class, heterosexual, nondisabled men at the centre, continue to operate among all other groups, limiting in various ways what women know and feel about each other. Feeling only the ways that she is positioned as subordinate, each woman strives to maintain her dominant positions. Paradoxically, each woman asserts her dominance in this way because she feels like it is the only way in which she can win respect for her claim of subordination. We describe this practice as securing a “toehold on respectability.” (p. 4) This practice secures a subject’s position of dominance at the centre by marking and containing the Other (p. 13-15). Ian Barnard (2004) explains his interlocking theoretical approach to analyzing race and sexuality as “systems of meaning and understanding that formatively and inherently define each other” (p. 2). He also addresses problems with additive approaches, which normalize privileged subject positions as well as the persistent racism and whiteness within the lesbian and gay movement in the US (p. 3), and points out how anti-gay violence has been conceptualized within these singular identity-based frameworks and how this has excluded and marginalized the experiences of people of colour. As numerous scholars have pointed out, Indigenous women were the first to articulate an anti-colonial feminist critique of white settler colonialism in North America (Razack, Smith & Thobani, 2011; Smith, 2006), and an interlocking analysis of violence has always been central in this analysis. Patricia Monture-Angus (1995) addressed the problem with colonial definitions of violence embedded within the white Western  41  feminist anti-violence movement. Speaking from her experiences as a Mohawk woman in Canada, Monture-Angus identified racism, colonialism and state violence as inseparable from other experiences of violence in the lives of Aboriginal women. She explains that “violence is not just a mere incident in the lives of Aboriginal women. Violence does not just span a given number of years. It is our lives. And it is in our histories” (p. 170). She poignantly argues that the dominant feminist ideology is colonial. Organizing against a single form of violence – men’s – is not a ‘luxury’ that I have experienced. The general definition of violence against women is too narrow to capture all of the experiences of violence that Aboriginal women face. This narrow definition, relied on by dominant institutions, structures and groups, constrains my expression of my experience of violence and the reality within which I live in a way that is most counter-productive. In fact, this constraint feels very much like ideological violence. The fragmentation of violence and the social legitimation of only the wrong of physical violence results in a situation where I am constrained from examining the totality of my experience within a movement that is advanced as offering the solution to that violence. The simple truth is feminism as an ideology remains colonial. (1995, p. 171) Monture-Angus is one in a long line of feminists of colour and Indigenous women activists and scholars in the West who have argued this point and who have stressed the need to embrace more complex, interlocking understandings of multiple forms of violence, and to place the lives of Indigenous women and women of colour and the realities of the on-going colonialism and racism in white settler societies at the centre of our theoretical and community-based strategies.  42  In 1979 Audre Lorde spoke out about the problems with single-identity analyses and argued for the need to understand the inseparable and interlocking nature of racism, sexism and homophobia (1984, p. 110). Similar to Monture-Angus’ words, Lorde stressed that violence in Black women’s lives could not be conceptualized as a single act. As she described: “violence weaves through the daily tissues of our lives” (p. 119). Her interlocking spatial analysis is striking, and worth quoting at length: Black women and our children know the fabric of our lives is stitched with violence and with hatred, that there is no rest. We do not deal with it only on the picket lines, or in dark midnight alleys, or in the places where we dare to verbalize our resistance. For us, increasingly, violence weaves through the daily tissues of our living — in the supermarket, in the classroom, in the elevator, in the clinic and the schoolyard, from the plumber, the baker, the saleswoman, the bus driver, the bank teller, the waitress who does not serve us. Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying. (p. 119) While these words were spoken in 1979, this analytical framework is still not consistently integrated within feminist anti-violence theorizing and organizing thirty-three years later. My research shows that many white feminists and queers continue to conceptualize these issues as unconnected to what they frame as the core and central issues within antiviolence organizing – sexual and gendered violence, and homophobic and transphobic violence. As I discuss throughout this dissertation, this points to the need to examine the  43  way white supremacist thinking operates (hooks, 2003) within anti-violence movements and to address decolonization as a central feature in all struggles to resist violence (Alexander & Mohanty, 1997). Andrea Smith (2004) similarly highlights the racialized exclusions inherent in mainstream feminist approaches to violence, emphasizing the need for an anti-colonial framework that addresses interpersonal and state violence simultaneously. Smith maintains that these approaches have unwittingly strengthened white supremacy by missing the interlocking nature of racial and gendered violence and by centering the experiences of white middle-class women (p. 121). Smith’s (2005) work is important also for her detailed socio-historical mapping of gendered sexual violence as a tool of genocide, racism and colonialism. She shows how colonial, racial and gendered oppression cannot be separated because they come into being in and through one another, and as such, “colonial relationships are themselves gendered and sexualized” (p. 1). She argues that colonizers have always used sexual violence as a primary tool of genocide and colonialism, both historically and today — a tool by which certain people become marked as inherently rapable (p. 2-3). This understanding fundamentally alters the strategies for combating violence (p. 139). Smith critiques Crenshaw’s intersectional approach to understanding the nature of racism and sexism in the experiences of violence in the lives of women of colour, arguing that Crenshaw’s analysis “falls short of describing how a politics of intersectionality might fundamentally shift how we analyze sexual/domestic violence. If sexual violence is not simply a tool of patriarchy but also a tool of colonialism and racism, then entire communities of colour are the victims of sexual violence” (p. 8). Although she does not  44  call her approach interlocking, I see her critique of Crenshaw’s approach as similar to Sherene Razack’s described below. Sherene Razack (1998, 2008) argues for an interlocking framework that focuses on the mutually constitutive nature of systems and categories and distinguishes this from an intersectional approach. I find Razack’s (1998, 2008) use of interlocking theory to examine cases of violence compelling. Inspired by her work, I prefer the word interlocking rather than intersecting to describe how multiple systems of domination, forms of violence, identities and spaces are connected, or in other words how they “come into existence through each other” (2008, p. 62). In the following excerpts Razack (1998) describes the difference: Analytical tools that consist of looking at how systems of oppression interlock differ in emphasis from those that stress intersectionality. Interlocking systems need one another, and in tracing the complex ways in which they help to secure one another, we learn how women are produced into positions that exist symbiotically but hierarchically. We begin to understand, for example, how domestic workers and professional women are produced so that neither exists without the other. First World policies of colonialism and neo-colonialism, which ultimately precipitated the debt crisis and the continuing impoverishment of the Third World and enabled the pursuit of middle-class respectability in the First World, were implemented in highly gendered ways. (p. 13, italics mine) In discussing how interlocking systems of domination function in a specific case — the sexualized torture enacted on Arab men by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in  45  Iraq — Razack (2008) expands on this distinction between an intersectional and interlocking analytic, describing why she prefers to use interlocking: …intersecting remains a word that describes discrete systems whose paths cross. I suggest that the systems are each other and that they give content to each other. While one system (…white supremacy) provides the entry point for the discussion (language is, after all, successive), what is immediately evident as one pursues how white supremacy is embodied and enacted in the everyday is that individuals come to know themselves within masculinity and femininity. Put another way, the sense of self that is simultaneously required and produced by empire is a self that is experienced in relation to the subordinate other – a relationship that is deeply gendered and sexualized. An interlocking approach requires that we keep several balls in the air at once, striving to overcome the successive process forced upon us by language and focusing on the ways in which bodies express social hierarchies of power. (p. 62-63) While some intersectional theorists speak about the way multiple forms of oppression complicate or amplify various experiences of gendered violence, Razack’s contribution goes beyond seeing these as complications and stresses that interlocking analyses address how multiple oppressions rely on and produce one another. She acknowledges the successive nature of language but also refuses to allow this to be an end point. In other words, she suggests that we might see one system as an entry point for examining how systems interlock as well as how they produce subjectivities and position bodies relationally and hierarchically to one another. The challenge here is to not have the entry point become an end point or a point from which to merely add other systems, rather than  46  examine how they rely on one another. George Dei (1999) also stresses the distinctions between intersecting and interlocking oppressions. Dei states that this distinction is important for “emphasizing the situational and contextual nature of oppressions and political practice” (p. 28). For Dei, an interlocking analysis goes further to critically challenge the players and policies that perpetuate the cycle of oppression. An interlocking analysis is a political, constructive and most importantly, transformative framework that exposes how subject locations are secured by the dominant power and articulated through the disempowerment of the subordinated. (p. 29) Similar to Razack’s approach, Dei stresses a political analytic and practice that attends to the way subject formation is tied to relations of domination. He also underlines a relational aspect to interlocking theory where dominant subjectivities are formed through processes of marginalization and subordination. This makes visible the relational, contextual and hierarchical nature of power relations.  An Argument for Interlocking Inspired by the work of the above scholars, in this study I use an interlocking framework to interrogate discourses and socio-spatial power relations through an examination of three thematically linked case studies. My approach critiques neoliberal constructions of normalcy and difference, “multicultural” diversity discourses and the mainstreaming of intersectionality. I resist ranking oppressions or identities, but explicitly acknowledge that social and spatial hierarchies are produced and sustained through these interlocking relations of power. Although I find the term interlocking to be most salient  47  and helpful, I am not arguing against the use of intersectional or critiquing all scholars and activists who use this term. I value the work of many intersectional feminist theorists and recognize the significant overlap and points of commonality between those who use interlocking and intersectional in their research and practice. In some contexts I have referred to my work as intersectional because this term is more widely recognized, especially in certain fields or disciplines. However, I suggest the value of interlocking, and I point to the work of the scholars above whose work I find persuasive, compelling and helpful for thinking about the complexities and simultaneity of systems of domination. I am also concerned with problems arising within intersectional theorizing such as: the neoliberal mainstreaming of intersectionality (Puar, 2011; Ward, 2008); the depoliticization of intersectionality and the subsequent inattention to systems of power, privilege and hierarchies (Erel et al., 2008); and the way it is being mobilized within some feminist/queer activism and scholarship in ways that reify white and middle-class norms (Erel et al., 2008; Puar, 2011; Ward, 2008). As I discuss in Chapter Six, these problems can also occur with the way interlocking gets taken up. However I suggest that by paying close attention to the critical analysis of these problems articulated by feminist and queer critical race and anti-colonial scholars such as Andrea Smith (2005), Jasbir Puar (2011), Sherene Razack (1998, 2008), Jane Ward (2010), and Umut Erel, Jin Haritaworn, Encarnación Gutíerrez Rodríguez and Christian Klesse (2008), and by maintaining a vigilant self-reflexive critique, we may be able to deploy interlocking frameworks in ways that: resist the depoliticization, mainstreaming or co-optation of intersectional analyses; allow us to trace the complex ways in which different systems of domination secure one another; and address the relationship between subject formation  48  and the material relations of domination. Clearly in this socio-spatial-historical moment, part of this work involves keeping a close key on the way diversity discourses (regardless of the language used, including intersectional and interlocking) are co-opted and mobilized in ways that perpetuate rather than transform inequities and violence in white settler and neoliberal socio-spatial contexts. For as many of these scholars have noted, in the current neoliberal context, some LGBTQ and feminist social movement leaders and activists frequently draw on the language of diversity, equality, multiplicity and intersectionality in ways that keep racialized, gendered, and classed forms of normativity intact (Ward, 2010, p. 133). I discuss these issues further in Chapter Six in my analysis of a queer violence prevention curriculum. By employing an interlocking analysis I ask the following questions: How does this category (or subject position, system of oppression, space, or form of violence), produce or make possible these other categories (subjectivities, forms of power and oppression, spaces or forms of violence)? How do they rely on one another? What are the effects? How can an anti-colonial queer feminist interlocking framework shape our strategies for social, economic and spatial justice in ways that do not collude with homonormative neoliberal and settler colonial agendas? I will return to many of these issues about interlocking systems of power in Chapter Four where I outline my theoretical framework and methodological tools. In the next chapter I continue my review of literature that informs my study, although this time focusing on the body of knowledge about violence in the lives of LGBTQ people. The following chapter focuses primarily on IPV and also includes a brief discussion of antiLGBTQ violence.  49  Chapter Three: Research on Violence in LGBTQ Communities In this study, I seek to make visible the conceptual frameworks that inform community LGBTQ anti-violence work and consider the implications of different ways of framing the violence. In this chapter I review literature about violence in the lives of LGBTQ people, to provide a context for my work on the three case studies presented in this research.26 This chapter begins with a critical review of research literature on IPV in LGBTQ communities, with a focus on same-gender abuse, and lesbian relationships specifically. I conclude with a brief discussion of the research literature on anti-LGBTQ violence, pointing to the trends and gaps in current research.27  Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ Communities Most large studies on intimate partner violence (IPV) conducted in North America have not included LGBTQ experiences (Ristock & Timbang, 2005). Writings on the topic of “lesbian battering” first emerged within the feminist anti-violence movement in the United States in the late 1970s to early 1980s, and in Canada in the mid-to-late 1980s (Holmes, 2000). More formal research on the problem of intimate partner violence in LGBTQ communities began in the late 1980s (Ristock, 2011) although most of the research to date has focused on lesbian couples and those who have been abused, and there has been very little research that addresses the experiences of trans people and 26  This is not meant to be an exhaustive review of the literature. For a more comprehensive review see: Faulkner (2006), Janoff (2005), Ristock (2002), Ristock & Timbang (2005). 27 Throughout my work, I have primarily focused on the problem of IPV within queer women’s samesex/gender relationships, however the provincial “The LGBT Anti-Violence Project: Creating Safe and Strong Queer Communities”, shifted this approach by addressing both within (IPV) and against (homo/bi/transphobic violence) LGBTQ communities. Given that my dissertation addresses this and I argue for an approach that examines the connections between different forms of violence, I include a brief review of the literature on anti-LGBTQ violence.  50  bisexuals or those who have been abusive in their relationships (Ristock, 2011). For the most part, the research is from the United States with some writings from Canada, the UK, Australia and recently from Asia (Distephano, 2009; IGLHRC, 2010). This literature includes a wide range of writing including personal stories, service delivery strategies and clinical issues, community organizing accounts, as well as academic research on prevalence rates, dynamics and contexts of violence, and theoretical frameworks to explain and respond to the violence. Despite the increase in research over the past twenty-five years many gaps remain in our knowledge. Little research examines the connections between and complexities of violence in the lives of LGBTQ people who experience multiple forms of marginalization based on their sexuality or gender identity, as well as racism, colonialism, immigration, poverty and economic oppression, ableism, incarceration, ageism (impacting elders and youth) and the socio-economic disparities in rural, northern and isolated communities.  Understanding the Problem: Forms of Abuse Studies documenting the different forms of relationship violence in LGBTQ communities have also revealed many similarities to heterosexual IPV. The violence is typically understood as “the conscious manipulation and control of one person by another through the use of threats, coercion, humiliation and/or force” (Ristock & Timbang, 2005, p. 4). It can include all forms of physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and financial abuse and has serious physical and emotional health impacts. There may be an on-going pattern of abuse including a cycle or increased intensity over time, while in other cases, abuse may happen less often (Ristock, 2002). Dynamics can seem confusing due to  51  shifting power relations or due to the similarity of size and strength of some same-gender partners (Ristock & Timbang, 2005). As well, physical appearance or gender expression cannot be used to determine abusive behaviours or patterns. Certain abusive tactics are produced through the social contexts of heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia and biphobia such as: a threatening to “out” a partner to family, employers, landlord, religious or ethno/racial/cultural community; telling a partner they are confused because they identify as bisexual; denying or ridiculing a partner’s gender identity or telling a trans partner they are not a “real” man/woman; threats to negatively influence immigration status or custody/access of children due to sexual and/or gender identity; or threats to disclose HIV/AIDS status (Courvant & Cook-Daniels, 1999; Cruz, 2003; Renzetti, 1998; Ristock, 2002). In some cases, these tactics are combined with and produced in complex ways through racist, classist, and ableist forms of abuse. For example, an abusive partner may use the interlocking contexts of anti-immigrant racism within society and mainstream LGBTQ organizations and communities, along with the homo/bi/transphobia in their partner’s particular racialized community, to increase isolation and maintain greater control over their partner (Garcia, 1999; Choudhury, 2007; Ristock, 2002). While some research has identified these complexities, the vast majority of the research has focused primarily on similarities with heterosexual IPV and forms of abuse that are produced through homophobia and heterosexism (Holmes, 2000; Poon, 2011; Ristock, 2002).  52  Prevalence and Research Contexts Much of the research has sought to determine the extent of relationship violence within LGBTQ communities to demonstrate the seriousness of the problem. However, it has been difficult to determine clear and accurate prevalence rates because of the social context of heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and problematic research methodologies (Holmes, 2000; Irwin, 2008; Ristock, 2002; White & Goldberg, 2006). These contexts, combined with other forms of systemic oppression such as racism, classism and ableism, can make it very difficult for LGBTQ individuals to speak out and report experiences of abuse for fear of discriminatory and re-victimizing responses from police, victim assistance programs, health care providers and crisis counselling support services, and as a result most IPV is not reported to these services (Ard & Makadon, 2011; Hardesty, Oswald, Khaw & Fonseca, 2011; Holmes, 2000; Holmes & Ristock, 2004; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; White & Goldberg, 2006; NCAVP, 2011). As well, some are reluctant to seek help due to past negative experiences where their concerns were minimized or ignored (Hardesty et al., 2011; Ristock, 2002). Many LGBTQ people have been hesitant to acknowledge IPV for fear it will be used to fuel harmful heterosexist and homo/bi/transphobic stereotypes about LGBTQ people as abnormal, violent or pathological or that it will be used as justification for an anti-feminist degendered analysis of power relations and violence (Holmes, 2000; Holmes & Ristock, 2002, 2004; White & Goldberg, 2006). The dominant definition of intimate partner violence is heteronormative and cisnormative making it difficult for some LGBTQ people to access the discourse and apply this explanatory framework to their experiences (Brown, 2007; Chung & Lee, 2002; Holmes, 2000; Irwin, 2008; Ristock, 2002). For  53  example, the categories “domestic violence” and “rape” have been constructed as genderbased forms of violence perpetrated by cisgender men towards cisgender women and thus many LGBTQ people do not even consider describing their experiences using the language because of the heteronormative, cisnormative, gendered, racialized and classed assumptions implied within these categories. Hegemonic masculinity and heteronormative gender role ideologies also convey the message that men should defend themselves in a fight which can influence how gay and bisexual men understand violence in their intimate relationships (Lettelier, 1996; Merrill, 1998; Santaya & Walters, 2011). Some LGBTQ people of colour (Chung & Lee, 2002) and Two-Spirit people have also noted that the category “domestic violence” is conceptualized in ways that does not relate to their experiences therefore making it difficult to recognize abuse in intimate relationships. In addition, it is difficult to determine prevalence rates due to problematic methodological and sampling procedures (Holmes, 2000; Hardesty, 2011; Ristock, 2002, 2011; Santaya & Walters, 2011; White & Goldberg, 2006). Due to a heterosexist and transphobic social context, many people are not “out” as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or trans, making it difficult to identify a large random sample (Irwin, 2008; Ristock, 2002) Without this, the rates of violence cannot reliably demonstrate a true prevalence rate (Ristock, 2002). As well, different definitions of violence are often used and with little or no examination of the different social meanings and motivations associated with various acts of violence based on social identity and context, making it difficult to assess if what is being counted as abuse is the same across the board (Ristock, 2002, p. 12; Ristock, 2011; White & Goldberg, 2006). Similarly, differences between lesbians, gay men,  54  bisexuals and trans people are sometimes erased through the use of the category “LGBTQ” domestic or partner violence (Ristock, 2011; White & Goldberg, 2006). In their review of the literature, Janice Ristock and Norma Timbang (2005) found a wide range of 17% to 52% of IPV in lesbian and gay relationships, which reflects the issues discussed above. Despite the limitations associated with the research methods and contexts, statistics are often used problematically by some researchers, journalists and community groups to argue that IPV in lesbian and gay couples occurs at the same rate or higher than in heterosexual relationships (e.g. Anderssen, 2008; Messinger, 2011; Ristock, 2011). This highlights the importance of bringing a critical lens to our interpretation of these statistics. There have been fewer studies that examine the rates of IPV within transgender communities. The largest survey to date of transgender and gender non-conforming (T/GNC) people (6,450 respondents), found that 19% had experienced violence perpetrated by a family member because of their transgender identity or gender nonconformity (Grant, Mottet, Tanis, Harrison, Herman, & Keisling, 2011). 28 In White and Goldberg’s (2006) review of the literature on violence in the lives of transgender people, they note that trans people “may be more vulnerable to violence across their lifespan than the general population” (p. 124). Trans individuals can be involved in heterosexual or same-sex/gender intimate relationships and often the data about IPV does not specify this. Studies on sexual violence and IPV in the lives of transgender people have noted high rates of violence in intimate relationships. For example, one study found that 29% of respondents had been sexually assaulted by an intimate partner (Munson & Cook-  28  This statistic is not specific to IPV and refers to violence perpetrated by family members generally, including but not limited to intimate partners.  55  Daniels, 2005). Another found that 50% of respondents had been raped or assaulted by an intimate partner, yet only 62% (31% of the total sample) of those raped or assaulted identified as survivors of domestic violence when asked directly (Courvant & CookDaniels, 1998, p. 2), confirming that trans people may not feel that the category applies to their experiences of violence. Studies on IPV in the lives of bisexuals are lacking and their experiences are often subsumed within the category of lesbian or gay partner abuse (Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Sulis, 1999), or made invisible in research on heterosexual couples. Controversies about the inclusion of bisexual women and trans people within feminist and lesbian antiviolence organizing, and wider bi/transphobia within LGBTQ communities and society at large has contributed to a lack of understanding of bisexual and trans experiences and the related gaps and theoretical exclusions in the literature on IPV.  Limitations with Research In community training initiatives and educational brochures, statistics from various studies are often cited to discuss the prevalence of IPV in LGBTQ communities and they are often applied universally without mentioning the limitations of the research. Many studies homogenize experiences thereby ignoring the diversity of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, class, and the different forms of abuse (e.g. emotional, physical, sexual) or contexts of violence (rural/urban, or other contexts of violence such as poverty). Some researchers have problematically suggested that violence may be more rare within certain communities (such as LGBTQ people of colour) based on the fact they were in the minority in the sample without examining factors that might have produced  56  this narrow sample (e.g. Renzetti, 1998). Similarly, some have made claims about prevalence from research that compares IPV in heterosexual and same-sex/gender relationships, but that actually includes very few LGBTQ people in the sample (e.g. Stevens, Korchmaros, & Miller, 2010). Often these limitations are not readily apparent in the discussion only to be found hidden in the footnotes or conclusion. Even when limitations are acknowledged, they are often disregarded in order to make certain truth claims (e.g. Klosertmann, K., Kelley, M., Milletich, R. & Mignone, T. 2011; Stevens et al., 2010). For example, in one study (Stevens et al., 2010) the authors acknowledge it is problematic to assume that prevention and intervention models based on heterosexuals’ experiences will necessarily work for lesbians, yet they compare “drug abusing” women’s use of violence in heterosexual and lesbian relationships without discussion of the significantly different social contexts of these relationships. As well, in this study, they had a very small sample of lesbians compared to heterosexuals, and the women in the study reported higher levels of victimization than perpetrating IPV, however these facts are minimized in their discussion. Janice Ristock (2011) recently examined similar truth claims in a large study conducted by Statistics Canada and the subsequent national media discourses that followed the release of this report. In 2008, the Globe and Mail ran an article based on data from this study with the headline: “Domestic violence is more widespread among same-sex couples than straights” (Anderson, 2008). It cited the Statistic Canada study which reported high rates of violence experienced by LGB people — 15 % of gay men and lesbians, and 28% of bisexuals abused by an intimate partner, compared to only 7% of heterosexuals – suggesting this large study revealed that LG relationships are more  57  violent than heterosexual ones (Ristock, 2011, p. 2). However, as Ristock astutely points out, there are significant problems with these claims. Her analysis shows that while higher victimization rates were reported by LGB people, they didn’t ask respondents if the abuse took place in a same-sex/gender relationship or a previous or current heterosexual relationship, so it isn’t possible to claim that violence in same-sex/gender relationships is more widespread. They also neglected to differentiate between types of violence (physical, emotional, sexual) and didn’t address gendered differences (i.e. the LGB female and male respondents were combined into one category). Ristock compares this to other large comparative surveys that have looked at differences and more specific details, such as one of the largest studies on IPV in the U.S., the National Violence Against Women Survey, which involved a telephone survey with a nationally representative sample of 8,000 women and 8,000 men which compared IPV rates between same-sex and heterosexual couples (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). This survey found that women living with female intimate partners experience less IPV than women with male partners, and men in same-sex relationships experienced higher rates of violence than men with female partners, and the lowest rate of IPV was for men living with female intimate partners (Ristock, 2011 p. 2). Their “findings suggest that intimate partner violence is perpetrated primarily by men, whether against male or female partners” (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000, p. 31). In her discussion of this context, Ristock (2011) cautions us to avoid making sweeping generalizations based on the limited and partial information gathered in research thus far, and to bring greater awareness to the contexts and specific details of the violence that is perpetrated and experienced. With Norma Timbang, she argues that at  58  this time “we simply cannot say for certain what the prevalence rates of violence are in LGBTQ relationships” (Ristock & Timbang, 2005, p.6). While existing studies show that there are some similarities in experiences of IPV between heterosexuals and LGBTQ people, “…we have yet to research and fully interrogate the impact of differing levels of severity and types of abuse and the differing motivational factors for abusive behaviours” (Ristock, 2011, p. 3). This way of thinking continues to show up in community-based educational materials such as booklets and websites where a heteronormative paradigm is applied universally. For example, in Canada the YWCA produced a booklet on relationship violence titled Fresh Start, which first mentioned “lesbian battering” in 1984. However in the most recent revised version in 2009, abuse in lesbian relationships is described mostly as the same as abuse in heterosexual relationships. The booklet problematically suggests that a heterosexual paradigm and use of male pronouns for the abuser can all just be applied for relationships regardless of the sexual orientation or gender of the individuals involved. For example, “However, because the vast majority of abusers are men, in this book we use male pronouns (he, his, him) when we are talking about abusers. The information is correct for and can be applied to situations of woman on woman abuse” (LeFeuvre, 2009, p. 9). As the above example shows, these harmful heteronormative assumptions continue to pervade community educational materials about IPV in queer communities.  59  Conceptual Frameworks for Explaining Same-Sex/Gender Partner Violence Within the field, there have been various theoretical approaches for explaining the cause and nature of IPV within LGBTQ communities, and tensions exist between those who stress individualizing versus social explanations (Ristock, 2002). Most of the literature has relied on existing theories about abuse in heterosexual relationships to inform the analysis of IPV in LGBTQ communities. Research on gay and lesbian partner abuse has relied on a comparison model looking at the similarities and differences with heterosexuals, which has predictably lead to heteronormative understandings of violence (Holmes, 2000; Ristock 2002). Generally speaking, there have been four approaches which have been described as: psychological/individual; socio-psychological theories; feminist; and more recently, intersectional. A number of authors have argued for the need to move away from a gender-based framework although with different motivations, analyses, politics and goals. Those taking a psychological or individual approach argue against feminist theories of partner violence and recommend a gender neutral psychological model claiming that the presence of violence within some lesbian and gay relationships demonstrates that analyses of gendered power dynamics are irrelevant and problematic (Island & Letellier, 1991; Landolt & Dutton, 1997). Others have critiqued feminist gendered theories but have sought to combine insights from both psychological and feminist sociological models, and social learning theory to explain how individuals learn to abuse (Merrill, 1996; Perilla, Frndak, Lillard & East, 2003; Renzetti, 1992). Some suggest a focus on “theories of power and power differentials within relationships that move beyond a gender framework” (Stevens et al., 2010) however scholars are not always explicit about which  60  theories of power are recommended and in some cases this can lead to a decontextualized and depoliticized analysis of power relations and violence. Feminist scholars have challenged a psychological discourse that attributes IPV to pathology or family dysfunction, stressing instead the social context of oppression and violence. They have also critiqued positivist and liberal approaches to research on lesbian and gay partner abuse for making generalizing statements that individualize and neutralize violence rather than examining it within a socio-political, cultural and historical context (Holmes, 2000; Faulkner, 1998; Ristock, 2002), and for applying problematic research methods to determine the frequency of violence without looking at the context in which IPV occurs (Perilla et al., 2003; Ristock, 2002). Some early feminist research on lesbian abuse focused on internalized misogyny, heterosexism and homophobia as the causes and effects of abuse (Eaton, 1994). As I have argued elsewhere, in much of the feminist writing on the topic of violence in lesbian relationships, the social context of the violence is primarily described as patriarchy and heterosexism, and the central figure in the texts is a woman whose life is structured primarily by her sexuality (Holmes, 2000; Holmes & Ristock, 2004). Despite some important attempts to integrate the effects of racism, classism and ableism into the analysis (which I discuss below), a gender and/or sexuality-based analysis of power has been the primary lens through which researchers have studied IPV in LGBTQ communities. Gender and/or sexuality have remained at the centre of the dominant model and these “additional oppressions” have not been fully integrated into the framework. Many feminists and LGBTQ people of colour have argued against a race and class neutral, gender-based framework of IPV, however most of the literature has not  61  taken up these anti-racist critiques of the mainstream anti-violence movement and theorizing. Writing in the 1990s, lesbians of colour such as Valli Kanuha (1990), and Charlene Waldron (1996) noted that the literature on violence in lesbian relationships had been limited to the perspectives of white lesbians as the result of racism in lesbian and feminist communities and society at large (Kanuha, 1990, p. 143). In my research on the topic nearly a decade later, I found that despite a few important exceptions “most of the research [had] not integrated the extensive anti-racist critiques from feminists of colour and First Nations women of the dominant (white) gendered analysis of violence against women, and as such [had] taken an additive approach to discussing the violence experienced by lesbians of colour” (Holmes, 2000, p. 23). I argued it was at times “hard to glimpse a woman whose life is structured fundamentally by racism and classism. When we do see her, it is briefly at the margins — the violence she experiences and the realities of her life are added on as important issues for her but unconnected to everyone else” (p. 74). Queer women of colour, Indigenous and Two-Spirit women have always been active in the work to end violence in queer women’s relationships, however as Charlene Waldron (1996) notes, their contributions have been marginalized within a white dominated movement that has positioned them as “appendices to the ‘central’ work” (p. 49). As she explains “We and the work we do are often considered expendable when conflicts over budgets and/or ideas arise” (p. 49). Writing a decade later on the experiences of IPV in the lives of South Asian LGBTQ communities, Pranja Paramita Choudhury (2007) and Gita Mehrotra and Soniya Munshi (2011) all concur that these problems continue. Maurice Kwong-Lai Poon’s (2011) recent analysis of the  62  contemporary research on gay male partner abuse highlights similar exclusions where the literature has predominantly focused on individual pathology rather than the effects of racism, classism and ableism in men’s lives. He notes that this “frequently reflects the socio-economic position of the authors: namely white middle-upper class gay men” (p. 123-124). These significant problems notwithstanding, there have been some notable shifts and developments in the research: a number of important studies drawing on a larger number of research participants, including an increase in qualitative research; greater application of intersectional theory; and an increase in research that challenges narrow, de-politicized and de-contextualized accounts of IPV in LGBTQ communities. However this kind of work continues to be in the minority.  Conceptual Frameworks for Explaining IPV in the Lives of Trans People Within the literature, the framework for explaining IPV experienced by trans people is somewhat different than that of same-sex/gender abuse. Research conducted by trans people and their allies has not only stressed the experiences of IPV, but the intersections between multiple forms of interpersonal, hate-motivated, institutional and state violence. Caroline White and Joshua Goldberg (2011) point out that the history of trans organizing against violence is different from the dominant feminist anti-violence movement in a number of ways: Trans activism was led in large part by racialized working poor and working class sex trade workers and night club entertainers, many of whom identified as male-to-female (MTF). As a consequence, the ways  63  that ‘violence’ and ‘safety’ were tackled by trans activists were not limited in the same ways as dominant feminism; police violence, prison violence, violence against sex trade workers and people living on the street, violence in psychiatric system, deaths resulting from refusal of emergency services, and other manifestations of systemic as well as interpersonal class-racegender violence were high priorities for many early transgender organizers in urban areas throughout North America. (p. 57) While gender and sex were the central analytic tools, these concepts were not understood as binary, unchanging and universal categories (p. 57) and a critical analysis of race, class and state violence was a central and integrated part of the organizing work. Recent work has also addressed the interconnections between economic discrimination, racialization and anti-transgender stigma (Grant et al., 2011; Lombardi et al., 2001; White & Goldberg, 2006). While hate-motivated violence is the most frequently recorded form of violence in the lives of trans people, there has been some research that has specifically looked at experiences of relationship violence (Brown, 2011; Courvant & Cook-Daniels, 1998, FORGE, 2005; White & Goldberg, 2006) and this work has been conducted by trans people and/or allies. Nicola Brown’s (2011) work examines the experiences of trans individuals who have been abused and/or abusive in their intimate relationships, and emphasizes the significance of the social contexts of transphobia and cisnormativity in the experiences. Her research shows how dominant feminist understandings of partner abuse, privilege and marginalization, often function so to make it difficult for individuals to conceptualize their trans partner’s behaviour as abusive because of their oppressed status.  64  Many trans activists and allies have argued that a traditional gender-based heterosexual or generic LGBTQ IPV framework does not address the multiple forms of violence and the complexity of power dynamics in trans people’s abusive relationships, and typically conflates gender identity and sexual orientation ignoring the specificity of trans experiences (Brown, 2007, 2011; White & Goldberg, 2006, 2011). Many are calling for a critical trans feminist and intersectional lens that challenges and shifts dominant conceptualizations of violence (including narrow victim/perpetrator and gender/sex binaries), the related prevention and intervention strategies, and which critiques and resists criminal legal responses to violence in the lives of trans people (Brown, 2007, 2011; Spade, 2011; White & Goldberg, 2006, 2011). In the next section I discuss examples that highlight the importance of a contextspecific approach for understanding IPV in LGBTQ communities. I begin this discussion by first describing the work of Janice Ristock (2002) which has been instrumental within the field in helping to address the negative effects of heteronormative and decontextualized approaches in research and community response in the area of IPV in lesbian relationships, and within LGBTQ communities more broadly. Janice Ristock (1994, 2002, 2011) has been studying the problem of violence in lesbian relationships for over twenty years. She argues for the need to critically examine how we construct the category of “lesbian abuse” and LGBTQ intimate partner violence, and has called for a critical feminist intersectional approach to research, prevention and intervention strategies. She reminds us that we cannot assume that relationship violence is the same regardless of the sexuality and gender of the individuals involved and that we cannot simply apply a heteronormative gender-based framework to all abusive  65  relationships. She has consistently advocated for an analysis and approach that recognizes the specific and diverse social contexts surrounding IPV in LGBTQ lives. Ristock’s study (2002) on lesbian partner abuse offers an in-depth analysis of the complexities of the problem (including how it is conceptualized), and presents an inspiring feminist postmodern methodological approach to qualitative research. Based on interviews with over one hundred women who were in abusive lesbian relationships, and focus groups and interviews with eighty anti-violence service providers in Canada, Ristock’s study is the most comprehensive to date. Her central argument is that we need to resist all-encompassing explanatory models and universalizing narratives about intimate partner abuse, and “focus on the social context, on the specificity and heterogeneity of relationships as the way to encourage openness to seeing the complexities and dynamics because of variously gendered, racialized, sexualized, and personal relations between two women, or two men, or a man and a woman” (p. 20). This research provides new insights and findings on power dynamics and contexts of abusive relationships that do not fit the existing theories on same-sex/gender IPV. More than half of the women interviewed experienced abuse in their first lesbian relationship, which up until this point had not been reported in other research (p. 58-59). Ristock argues that a heterosexist context contributes to invisibility and isolation, which can contribute to vulnerability to relationship violence (p. 59). She also discusses “the closet” and the way fears of encountering homophobia and heterosexism contribute to many women staying in an abusive lesbian relationship (p. 61). Other contexts emerged in the research: dislocation as a recent immigrant (moving to a new city or from another country or speaking English as a second language), normalizing violence (the way  66  drugs/alcohol or histories of previous abuse can normalize the violence women are experiencing), and a lifetime of violence experienced through racism, colonization and/or poverty. The dynamics of abuse that women described also reveal complexities and diversity, including shifting power dynamics and fighting back. She stresses the importance of examining the complexities of the different social contexts in which partner abuse occurs, along with experiences of privilege and oppression, and the interpersonal dynamics in understanding experiences of intimate partner violence. Ristock also discusses women’s emotional responses to the violence, the impacts of the violence and the ways they sought help from others including formal services. Here she brings forward stories that “contest the either/or dichotomies of victim/survivor, active/passive” (p. 81) and draw attention to women’s agency and diverse responses arising from their social contexts. She also discusses service providers’ understandings and experiences in supporting women in abusive lesbian relationships, highlighting the complexities and relationships and the difficulties they face in assessing the dynamics. Her findings also remind us of the difficulties queer women “encounter in accessing help and the way responders emphasize certain features of being a victim/survivor to keep dominant understandings in place within social services, health care and criminal justice systems” (p. 105). She argues that “we need to deconstruct, revise, and expand our understandings of concepts such as victim if women are to truly get the support and services they need” (p. 108). She analyzes dominant beliefs about lesbian abuse, which have become institutionalized within social service organizations. This includes a strong reliance on heteronormative categories and constructs such as a “constellation of power and control”  67  (a foundational feminist discourse for understanding all forms of abuse), which she argues “homogenizes experiences of relationship violence” (p. 142) and limits our thinking through a de-contextualized understanding of relations of power (p. 113-114). She recommends a critical self-reflexive practice for researchers and service providers including ideas for new ways of working that might begin to shift some of the problematic frameworks and responses. She argues that the main categories that we have been using to make sense of the violence (power and control, victim/perpetrator, domestic violence, trauma) cannot describe and explain the range of contexts or their complexity (p. 175). Most importantly she states we need to move away from “either/or categories and static models, stressing instead the need for more contextualized, multiple and multifaceted understandings” (p. 179). Ristock also co-authored an article with Norma Timbang (2005), which is one of the first articles on the topic that clearly explains a feminist intersectional framework for understanding IPV in LGBTQ communities.29 They argue that the feminist gender-based framework developed to address male violence against women in heterosexual relationships is inadequate for responding to partner violence in LGBTQ communities. As I discussed in Chapter One, many other activists and scholars have argued for the need to move beyond a gender-based, heteronormative and cisnormative lens and expand the definitions and frameworks for understanding intimate partner violence in LGBTQ communities. However as my review of the literature so far shows there are wide ranging diverse political perspectives informing this call, from depoliticized non-  29  This has become a very influential article on the topic — it is written in an accessible manner and is widely available from the Violence Against Women Online Resources website. It is also one of the first articles to integrate an intersectional feminist analysis and apply it to the research in LGBT communities. As a result it has been read and cited widely and is used in community-based education and training.  68  feminist frameworks (Island & Lettelier, 1991) to intersectional, trans and critical race feminist approaches (Chung & Lee, 2002; Dempsey, 2011; Mehrotra & Munshi, 2011; Richie, 2005; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Russo & Spatz, 2007; White & Goldberg, 2006). A number of authors have begun to draw on insights from feminist intersectional theory in their discussion of partner abuse in LGBTQ communities, albeit in different ways and to varying degrees. For example, some attempt to move beyond a gender-based or sexuality-based lens by examining: racialization and whiteness (Butler, 1999; Holmes, 2000; Kanuha, 1990; Poon, 2000, 2011; Ristock, 1998, 2002; Waldron, 1996); poverty and homelessness (ACON, 2004; Davis & Glass, 2011); the relationship between the public and private violence of racism, colonialism, classism and heterosexism (Almeida, et al., 1994; Holmes, 2000; Holmes & Ristock, 2004; Ristock, 2002; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; Taylor & Ristock, 2011); multiple identities and complex contexts (Brown, 2011; Holmes, 2000; Ristock; 2002); how intersecting systems produce abuse dynamics (Hiebert-Murphy, Ristock & Brownridge, 2011); the intersectional or interlocking nature of race, class, gender and sexuality, and the application of intersectional methodologies (Davis & Glass, 2011; Guadalupe-Diaz, 2010; Hiebert-Murphy et al., 2011; Holmes, 2000; Holmes & Ristock, 2004; Renzetti, 1998; Ristock, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2011; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; White & Goldberg, 2011; Smith, 2011). An intersectional analysis is also used to consider the connection of relationship violence to all systems of oppression and to take a “both/and” stance rather than an “either/or” binary approach to understanding contexts and identities (Ristock & Timbang, 2005, p. 10). For some this involves examining contexts, identities, the interlocking  69  nature of systems and privilege rather than compartmentalizing or simply adding LGBTQ experiences onto a universal experience (Holmes, 2000; Ristock & Timbang, 2005, p.10). Poon (2011) argues we need to explore how experiences of violence are mediated not only through heterosexism and homophobia but through forms of privilege such as whiteness, as well as through other forms of oppression, and how “meanings of violence, power, control, agency, strength, and resiliency intersect with social dimensions such as race, gender, class, disability and sexual orientation within relationships” (p. 124). In the next section I discuss the conceptualization of contexts.  Conceptualizing Contexts Context can be thought of in various ways: social, cultural, historical, political, economic, and geographical.30 Analyzing contexts is not a new direction in the field of research on IPV (in heterosexual or same-sex relationships), for as I have discussed in Chapter One, feminist scholars have long critiqued de-contextualized analyses and argued that violence against women must be examined in socio-political and situational contexts rather than reducing violence to the level of individual behaviours. There is now is a large body of literature on heterosexual IPV that draws attention to the contextual factors (Lindhorst & Tajima, 2008). In their review of the literature, Taryn Lindhorst & Emiko Tajima (2008) identify and argue for the systematic assessment of five contextual dimensions in research on IPV: the situational or relational context, the individualized social construction of meaning by the survivor, cultural and historical contexts, and the context of systemic oppression. They contend that increasing our assessment of these 30  In the field of cultural geography, “any place or area, at any scale, or in any circumstance could be thought of as a geographical context” (Anderson, 2010, p.3). I discuss this further in Chapter Four where I explain how my research is informed by spatial theories within the field of cultural geography.  70  contextual factors “will lead to more valid understandings of the nature, dynamics, meaning, and consequences of IPV” (p. 2). Much of the research on violence in same-sex relationships has included sociopolitical contexts in the framework, but as I have shown in my literature review above, this has most often been limited to heterosexism and homophobia (and patriarchy in some cases), and other oppressions are added on when discussing the experiences of people of colour, Aboriginal people, working-class people and people living in poverty. As well, the literature has not always explored geographical contexts. However a number of recent studies examine a wider diversity of social contexts of IPV in LGBTQ communities. In their review, Ristock and Timbang (2005) discuss examples that confirm the contexts outlined in Ristock’s study, as well as additional ones such as: social isolation in rural communities, and the impact of one or both partners dealing with a stigmatized illness such as HIV/AIDS (p. 7). As they note, “although these differing contexts are not exhaustive and may overlap with one another, they reveal the ways that violence is reinforced in a larger context of social structures that create and sustain inequalities and disadvantages” (p. 7). Some research looks at the intersections between gay male partner abuse and HIV/AIDS, recognizing that it is both a disease and a progressive disability that is highly stigmatized making it an especially effective tool of abuse (Hanson & Maroney, 1999; Lettelier, 1996). As well, some research has included people with disabilities, such as Ristock’s study on lesbian partner violence in which 14% of participants indicated living with disabilities including hearing impairment, physical disabilities, chronic illness and mental illness (2008, p. 444). These exceptions notwithstanding, the vast majority of the  71  research has not addressed the experiences of LGBTQ people with disabilities who experience IPV. Given the high incidence of violence in the lives of people with disabilities, including the high risk of IPV for heterosexual women with disabilities (Brownridge, Ristock, & Hiebert‐Murphy, 2008), future research needs to examine how the contexts of disability, ableism, stigma, homo/bi/transphobia and IPV work together in the lives of LGBTQ people. Although often marginalized, some research has focused specifically on the experiences of LGBTQ people of colour and Indigenous people. For example: IPV in the lives of lesbians and bisexual women of colour, including immigrant women, African American, South Asian American, and Asian American women more broadly (Butler, 1999; Choudhury, 2007; Chung & Lee, 2002; Garcia, 1999; Kanuha, 1990; Mehrotra & Munshi, 2011; Waldron, 1996); interracial partner abuse against Asian Canadian gay men in relationships with white Canadian gay men (Poon, 2000) or within interracial lesbian relationships (Ristock, 2005); the influences of race, income and gender on help-seeking behaviour of LGBTQ survivors of violence (Guadalupe-Diaz, 2010); and IPV in the lives of Aboriginal LGBTQ people in Canada (Ristock, 2002; Taylor & Ristock, 2011). At times researchers apply intersectional theory to look at issues that are created by the power dynamics of intersecting identities (race, socio-economic status, age, disability, sexual orientation and/or gender identity) (Ristock & Timbang, 2005). Most of this important literature focuses on the way socio-economic inequities produce contexts that make it difficult to identify the violence, seek help, leave an abusive partner and access support and resources. Contexts are also described for the way they produce specific forms of abuse (for example, using cisnormative or transphobic  72  ideology to deliberately undermine a person’s trans identity, to isolate, or restrict access to services). However in most cases, the contexts are described as “backdrop,” “background” or “conditions” surrounding episodes of IPV (e.g. Santaya & Waters, 2011) or as “factors” that make things worse or make someone “more vulnerable” to abuse. This may stem from Kimberlé Crenshaw’s (2000) description of intersectionality where she states that systems of oppression “create background inequalities” (p. 8).31 Critical race feminists Sherene Razack (1998) and Yasmin Jiwani (2006) have argued that these are “far from remaining as background features” and instead emphasize the interlocking nature of systems of power, privilege and oppression (Jiwani, 2006, p. 16). Conceptualizing contexts as “background” factors can lead to problematic understandings of violence and individuals (Razack, 1998). For example, it can result in seeing these contexts as outside of, or separate from the violence, or as factors that complicate a universal experience of intimate partner violence. This way of understanding contexts can also lead to seeing the violence as a fixed condition in the lives of certain communities. While recognizing differences in experience is crucially important, describing the multiple forms of violence in the lives of Two-Spirit people, queer people of colour, queer people with disabilities, who are working-class or living in poverty in an additive fashion as one of triple jeopardy or vulnerability can have the effect of seeing these differences as essential, fixed characteristics of a biological or a social condition rather than as produced through social relations (Razack, 1998a). In examining the construct of vulnerability in discourses of violence against women with disabilities, Sherene Razack (1998a) has argued that it privatizes disability:  31  This is not unique to the LGBTQ literature and is reflected in recent literature on IPV in heterosexual relationships as well.  73  Relying on additive analysis (where disability plus gender equals double oppression), we have been content to describe the situation of women with disabilities as one of double vulnerabilities. With the concept of vulnerability, we successfully manage to see disability as a condition that is pre-given, a biological essence or even a social condition, but one that simply is. We privatize the condition of being disabled and do not ask questions about the social relations that transform a physical and mental situation into one of great vulnerability. (p. 2021) In some of the literature, social and situational contexts are described in this way and while they may not be constructed as biological conditions, they are often described as social conditions that simply just exist. We miss seeing how these conditions of violence or vulnerability are produced and therefore also miss how they can be undone. These issues have also been discussed in critical whiteness studies and anti-racist pedagogy, where scholars note the problem when white privilege is seen as something fixed and natural — an unfortunate state of the world, but something that just is. For example, Ruth Frankenberg (1993) has described how white feminists often view anti-racist work as an act of compassion for an ‘other’, an optional extra project but not one intimately and organically linked to our own lives. Racism can, in short, be conceived as something external to us rather than as a system that shapes our daily experiences and sense of self. (p. 6) This critique can be applied to some conceptualizations of contexts in antiviolence research and organizing. In most of the literature on IPV (both hetero and samesex/gender), contexts are often constructed as an external backdrop — factors occurring  74  “out there” that are somewhat disconnected or detached from the immediate lives and bodies of individuals. When we detach socio-spatial contexts from the bodies and subjects who are experience or enact violence, we remove questions of relationality and complicity and miss seeing the productive effects and relational nature of socio-spatial contexts and violence. As well, when social contexts are described they are often described as something fixed and static and unconnected to individual actors. These problems can occur with an analysis of geographical contexts as well, if space is imagined as background, static or natural. By extending the work of feminist and cultural geographers who challenge these normative ideas about space as neutral, static, innocent, natural or pre-existing, in my research I bring a focus on space as something that is produced and is productive. I raise questions about the way social difference and social contexts of marginalization and power are spatially produced, and examine the way spatial narratives rely on interlocking hierarchies of power to produce socio-spatial contexts of inequity. I also apply a multiscalar analysis with attention to the relational nature of discourses, forms of violence and different scales — such as the scale of an urban feminist anti-violence non-profit and colonial nation-state violence, for example. In this way we can think about how different forms of violence are related to one another in and through space, and how violence produces space and place (Oikawa, 2002; Razack, 2002; Tyner, 2011). It is insufficient to see these socio-spatial contexts as background features or merely as conditions surrounding the violence. We must look at how socio-spatial contexts of violence shape and produce different forms of violence, responses to violence, and strategies to end violence. As I argue in this research, an interlocking  75  spatial analysis urges us to examine how socio-spatial contexts are relational and how the violence is not only produced by these, but how different forms of structural, state and interpersonal violence produce spaces and social contexts together. We need to look at how various socio-spatial contexts (such as poverty, rural isolation, small cultural or ethnic communities, anti-immigrant racism, religious and political conservatism, colonial state violence, and homophobia and transphobia), relate to one another and produce contexts within which IPV occurs. 32 In addition to Ristock’s (2002) study discussed above, there have been a number of other important studies which offer insights into the socio-spatial contexts that shape IPV in LGBTQ communities. In the following section I highlight a few that are noteworthy, drawing attention to a number that address the spatial context of small communities and rural isolation. For example, in Hardesty et al.’s (2011) study on lesbian and bisexual mothers who have experienced IPV within their same-sex/gender relationships revealed important data about the powerful impact of close-knit small ethno-cultural neighbourhoods and rural geographical communities on the help-seeking behaviours of African-American lesbians/bisexual mothers. In this study half of the participants identified as African American lesbians or bisexual mothers in samesex/gender relationships. The researchers in this study identify how these women’s sociospatial contexts influenced their decision to try to “solve it alone” (i.e. not seek external help). They argue that while this resembled the experiences of lesbians in Ristock’s (2002) study who did not disclose IPV because they feared being “outed,” the AfricanAmerican mothers in their study did not identify fear of being outed as a predominant 32  In Chapter Four I further discuss my spatial theoretical framework and I then demonstrate this analytical approach specifically in Chapters Five and Seven.  76  barrier. Instead, the women “with this experience attributed their lack of support to their residential and cultural communities (e.g., ethnic enclaves, isolated rural communities)” (p. 41). As the authors note, This has implications for providing services that are sensitive to the immediate contexts. For instance, racially marginalized women (e.g., African Americans) may feel pressured to keep private information, such as violence, secret from others to protect their community (West, 2005). This combined with the historical maltreatment of lesbians may make help seeking among Black lesbian/bisexual women particularly difficult. In addition to cultural competence regarding race and rurality, providers must recognize there is a subgroup of mothers who are being victimized but not served, which may include women in same-sex relationships who do not identify as lesbians. (p. 41) This article is important for examining issues that have not significantly addressed within previous research (i.e. mothering, African-American lesbian/bisexual women’s experiences of IPV, women in same-sex relationships who do not identify as lesbians and neighbourhood/small community contexts).33 Another study by Yu-Wei Wang (2011) examines the contexts of rural U.S. geographical isolation and conservative Christian culture in the experience of woman-towoman sexual assault. This case study provides a close examination of one white lesbian’s experience of sexual assault by her lesbian partner in a rural socio-cultural context (e.g., conservative culture, religious fundamentalism, low levels of anonymity, 33  Interestingly, while the authors bring forward this important intersectional-type analysis of the sociospatial contexts that influence African-American lesbian/bisexual mothers experiencing IPV in same-sex relationships, they do not explicitly name societal racism or whiteness as a part of the context, nor do they discuss the way racism within the legal system interlocks with heterosexism and classism to produce this context of marginality regarding custody/access for racialized lesbians and bisexual mothers of colour.  77  small LGBTQ communities, geographical isolation, heterosexist and homophobic systems, and myths about lesbian utopia within the lesbian community). The survivor described the kind of ostracism, harassment, discrimination and threats of violence that she and her lesbian friends experienced living in rural areas (e.g., anonymous phone calls, hate mail, dead animals on the lesbians’ properties, being forbidden to participate in local church services, being pressured to quit their jobs or be fired after they came out in the community) (p. 170). This study is helpful for offering insights into how certain social and geographic contextual factors “intersect with other intrapersonal (e.g., lesbian identity and coping styles) and interpersonal factors (e.g., social reactions) in affecting a survivor’s recovery outcome.” (p. 173). However the author does not examine the geographies of whiteness in this conservative rural place, thereby missing the opportunity to further our understanding of lesbian IPV, spatial contexts of marginality/dominance and racialization. Kierrynn Davis and Nel Glass’ (2011) research on lesbian IPV in rural Australia highlights similar issues related to the smallness of communities, geographic isolation, lack of confidentiality and services, and internalized and external oppression, along with the contexts of poverty, and classism from within the lesbian community and professional. They emphasize the need to understand the way geographical contexts intersect with social and personal contexts in understanding violence in lesbians’ lives (p. 34). A study conducted by the New South Wales’ and Australia’s community-based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) health and HIV/AIDS organization ACON (2004), showed that LGBTQ people leaving abusive relationships are at risk of  78  homelessness because of the extremely limited shelter and housing options available to them. Very little research has examined IPV in the lives of Indigenous LGBTQ people in Canada or internationally. Writing as white lesbian allies who have worked as researchers with Aboriginal community-based research projects in Canada, Catherine Taylor and Janice Ristock (2011) argue for an “anti-oppressive research ethics of solidarity” with LGBTQ Aboriginal people experiencing intimate partner violence. This framework involves embracing decolonizing and Indigenous methodologies and community-based approaches, along with “an anti-oppression framework that is committed to producing meaningful knowledge that respects the integrity and rights of Indigenous peoples and communities to Ownership of the project, Control of the process, Access to the data, and Possession of the findings” (p. 302). They review studies that have documented the high incidences of multiple forms of physical and sexual violence, historical trauma and state violence in the lives of Indigenous LGBTQ people (e.g. O’Brien-Teengs & Travers, 2006; Ristock, 2002; Taylor, 2009; Walters & Simoni, 2009). As Taylor and Ristock describe, this context of violence is “linked to and supported by larger social structures that create and sustain inequalities and disadvantages” (p. 309) and as a result our anti-violence efforts must be allied with anti-colonial Indigenous strategies to oppose state violence. To sum up, many scholars and activists have been calling for a shift away from a one-size-fits all approach to responding to IPV – both within heterosexual and samesex/gender relationships — and to respond to the problem in ways that address the complexities in the lives of LGBTQ people. However this has not necessarily  79  materialized “on the ground” and funded initiatives are often still premised on overly simplistic or additive approaches which continue to centre the perspectives and experiences of white, economically privileged queers and disregard the socio-spatial contexts of those who are most marginalized by multiple interlocking forms of oppression. Many of these same issues also show up in research that addresses antiLGBTQ violence, and I discuss this next.  Anti-LGBTQ Violence Although anti-LGBTQ violence has been recently recognized as a serious problem in Canada (Faulkner, 2001, 2006; Janoff, 2005), research that examines the extent, nature and impact of these forms of violence on LGBTQ people is very limited. In addition, disorganized community responses have been common (Faulkner, 2001). Ellen Faulkner (2001) has noted that “while American lesbian and gay organizations have documented anti-gay/lesbian violence since the early eighties…Canadians have either not recognized the importance of documenting such attacks or have lacked the resources and funds to do so” (p. 123). She also notes that queer communities in “isolated communities have lacked the capacity or, due to fear or secrecy, the will to organize against hate motivated crime” (p. 123). There have been similar methodological problems as described earlier in the context of IPV research, which affect our ability to document and understand antiLGBTQ violence. Research, policy and community initiatives on anti-LGBTQ violence have typically focused on documenting the prevalence of the problem and on how to respond to multiple forms of verbal, physical and sexual harassment and violence.  80  Faulkner (2006) has conducted research on anti-LGB violence and victimization in three Canadian provinces (Ontario, Alberta, and New Brunswick) and has also reviewed existing North American research on the issue. Her review of the literature shows that most research has used a de-contextualized conceptual framework that has ignored the way misogyny, sexism, racism, and heterosexism influence the construction of anti-LGB violence (p. 154). Similar to the research on IPV in LGBTQ communities, the vast majority of the research on anti-lesbian/gay violence has been positivist in nature and has positioned white middle-class gay men as the universal subject (Faulkner, 2001). Absent from the literature (and in many Canadian organizing efforts) are discussions of the connections between IPV and anti-lesbian/gay violence, thus constructing these as separate and unconnected social problems (Faulkner, 2001). Faulkner (2001) has argued that future work needs to bring a feminist, anti-racist and interlocking analysis that critiques criminal legal system interventions and the role of the state (p. 132). Research has documented various forms of anti-LGBTQ violence including: threats and harassment, hate speech (via letter, email, phone or in person) vandalism, physical attacks, assault with a weapon, sexual violence and murder. It may be perpetrated by strangers but often is perpetrated by co-workers, neighbours, employers, acquaintances, ex-lovers34 and community members (Browne, Bakshi & Lim, 2011; Faulkner, 2006; FORGE, 2011; Grant et al., 2011; Janoff, 2005). Forms of harassment, abuse and violence may have specific sexist, racist, economic/classist, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic elements (Faulkner, 2006; Janoff, 2005; White & Goldberg, 2006). Importantly some “reports indicate that a significant number of trans survivors knew the 34  Violence perpetrated by ex-lovers can fall within the parameters of both categories of IPV and antiLGBTQ violence illustrating the way these categories break down and the need to examine nuances and connections between different forms of violence (White & Goldberg, 2006).  81  perpetrator…which challenges conventional understanding of hate crimes as ‘public’ as distinct from family and relationship violence” (White & Goldberg, 2006, p. 125). Bias or hate-motivated violence can intensify during public events especially during LBGTQ specific events, such as Pride Day (Janoff, 2005). In the largest study of homophobic violence in Canada, Douglas Janoff (2005) has noted specific geographical contexts of homophobic violence. In his review of cases of homophobic violence he found that 16% of the “queer-bashing incidents” took place in or near parks and/or cruising areas, 21 % occurred inside or near a queer establishment, 19% in a neighbourhood or street where queers are visible, 16% in or near the victim’s residence, 4 % in custody (police, prison), 1% in or near the suspect’s residence and 21% in other locations. The largest percentage was killed at home or very close to home (p. 78). Violence against transgender people is often included within the category of LGBTQ violence without any distinction between homophobic or transphobic violence, as well as gendered and racialized forms of violence as well (White & Goldberg, 2006). While research is lacking on the rates and prevalence of violence in the lives of transgender people, there have been two large survey studies on transgender people’s experiences of violence and discrimination (Grant et al., 2011; Lombardi et al, 2001) which reveal that transgender and gender nonconforming people experience pervasive and multiple forms of violence in numerous public and private places, suggesting they may be more vulnerable to violence across their lifespan than the general population (Grant et al., 2011; White & Goldberg, 2006). As well transgender people who are Aboriginal, of colour and/or living in poverty, face some of the highest levels of  82  discrimination and violence due to the combination of racism, poverty and antitransgender stigma (Grant et al., 2011). One study on hate-motivated violence against transsexual/transgender people found that 60% of all transsexual and transgender people have experienced hate-motivated violence (Moran & Sharpe, 2004). When gender and race have been recorded, researchers have noted that the majority of violence has been perpetrated against male-to-female transgender individuals (98% in one study) and a high percentage of transgender murder victims internationally have been women of colour (White & Goldberg, 2006, p. 125). Recently there have been many critiques of the dominant criminal justice and “rights” framework for conceptualizing and responding to anti-LGBTQ violence which has focused on a criminal justice approach to conceptualizing the violence (Browne, et al., 2011; Incite, 2006; Spade, 2011). Indigenous feminists, feminists of colour, and TwoSpirit, queer and trans people of colour, have long argued that criminal legal system approaches to addressing “hate crimes” have contributed to increased state violence in the lives of the most marginalized low-income and poor, queer and trans people of colour and Two-Spirit people (Mogul, Ritchie & Whitlock, 2011; Smith, 2007; Spade, 2011). As I’ve discussed earlier, trans activists/scholars and allies have critiqued the way the dominant lesbian/gay rights and LGBT anti-violence framework has conflated gender identity and sexual orientation and overlooked the specificities and complexities of trans people’s lives. Trans anti-violence organizing has not historically adopted the approach of the mainstream gay and lesbian anti-violence organizations and many activists have integrated an analysis of race, class and state/police violence into their organizing frames. Kath Browne, Leela Bakshi and Jason Lim’s (2011) research has shown that the  83  dominant hate crime/criminal legal paradigm is insufficient for addressing the broader socio-spatial contexts of marginalization, violence and safety in the lives of LGBT people. Writing in the UK context (which despite some differences has similarities to the Canadian context), they discuss the way academic and policy framings have been framed around violence and harassment, and through a lens of criminalization and hate crime. They note the need for broader and more appropriate supports to address the complexities in experiences and effects of the violence for those who experiencing multiple forms of marginalization and health needs (such as trans people and people with mental health issues for example). Like other critical scholars and activists, they emphasize the need to challenge neoliberal conceptualizations of LGBT “safety” which privatize and individualize “responsibility” rather than recognizing the societal responsibility for LGBT safety. Importantly, they state that Addressing LGBT safety within a broader scope, beyond paradigms that seek to define what abuse is and how it can be punished, directs attention towards how service providers, communities and other stakeholders might work to create safety – especially by creating services, environments and contexts for care and caring. In turn, this requires an account of the differential effects of abuse and the ways in which abuse is dealt with. (p. 5) Their research shows that a hate crime paradigm is at “odds with the way in which many LGBT people ignore abuse for their own self-preservation” (p. 5), which may contribute to normalizing abuse. Most studies of anti-LGBTQ violence have tended to overlook the intersectional or interlocking nature of race, class, gender, ability and sexuality in the experiences of  84  victims or perpetrators of hate-motivated violence (Faulkner, 2006; Guadalupe-Diaz, 2010; Meyer, 2008, 2010). Despite this, a few scholars have begun to address this gap arguing for an intersectional approach. For example, the Welfare Warriors Research Collective’s (Billies, Johnson, Murungi, & Pugh, 2009) study examines experiences of violence from the perspective of racially and ethnically diverse low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender nonconforming people (LGBTGNC) in New York City. They argue that the violence in the lives of LGBTGNC people must be “critiqued beyond homophobia and transphobia, to include the racialized neoliberal context” (p. 376). Although they do not use the terms intersectional or interlocking to refer to their methodology, they make connections between neoliberalism, poverty and the increasing criminalization of people of colour, low-income people and LGBTGNC people, arguing it is impossible to separate questions of identity and violence from structural processes. Through their participatory community-based research they seek to: expose violent and discriminatory practices affecting LGBTGNC shelter residents; challenge anti-poverty and LGBT organizations to incorporate the priorities of low-income LGBT people; share knowledge on how to get around obstacles and through institutions in order to make these processes less hard, isolating and dangerous; and encourage low-income LGBTGNC people to become the architects and beneficiaries of new forms of research and social change. (p. 378) Sarah Lamble (2008) applies a critical race and interlocking framework to study the racialized politics of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).35 She argues that  35  In the last decade, “Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) has become a significant political event among those resisting violence against gender-variant persons. Commemorated in more than 250 locations  85  the frameworks and politics surrounding TDOR frequently have produced decontextualized and deracialized accounts of violence that have ignored the hierarchical and interlocking nature of different forms of violence, and the central question of white complicity. Doug Meyer (2008, 2010) employs an intersectional approach to examine the way LGBTQ people interpret and experience hate motivated violence. As Meyer argues, the majority of the literature has focused on the psychological effects of the violence and has ignored the way race, class, gender and sexuality structure victims’ experiences of hate motivated violence. The discussion of the psychological effects has also ignored race, class, sexuality and gender. Within some of the anti-LGBTQ literature, some researchers have sought to understand how lesbians and gay men determine that the violence is based on their sexuality. Meyer notes that in this research, not surprisingly, many queer people of colour highlighted the way racism, homophobia and sexism structured their violent experiences including the nature and severity of the violence (2008, p. 269). In Meyer’s study, many queer people of colour also stressed that “the violence directed against their racial identities was at least partially rooted in homophobia” (p. 269). A number of the experiences described were various forms of physical and sexual violence perpetrated by the police where multiple systems of oppression structured their violent experiences. As well, many queer people of colour found it difficult to determine the “primary cause” of the violence, highlighting how they “often faced situations in which many aspects of their identities were attacked and they frequently encountered situations in which their predominantly throughout North America but also in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and Southeast Asia, this day honors individuals who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice (Lamble, 2008, p. 24).  86  perpetrators did not mention homosexuality” (p. 270). Meyer’s respondents who were of colour noted that white perpetrators often mixed homophobic and transphobic insults with racist and or sexist/misogynist ones (p. 271). Meyer’s analysis also revealed that white gay male victims of hate violence were able to understand their experiences through a singular identity lens (the violence was rooted in homophobia) even in cases where the perpetrators mentioned race. A number of low-income and working-class queer participants in Meyer’s study indicated that they had not thought about whether their violent experiences were based on their sexuality and/or gender identity prior to the interview. The harsh material realities of their lives — for example not having enough food and/or adequate and safe housing — were more pressing concerns than determining whether the violence was rooted in bias. It may also be useful to consider that lowincome and working-class people have experienced more violence in their lives as a result of systemic oppression, which results in normalization of experiences of violence (see discussion in Ristock, 2002). Meyer’s research suggests that the lack of attention to the intersections between race, class and gender and sexuality in researching anti-LGBTQ violence has produced hate crime statutes based on sexual orientation that may serve the interests of white gay and middle-class men more than queer and trans people of colour, working-class and low-income queer and trans people (p. 276). Importantly, Meyer’s work points to the way “racism makes possible certain forms of homophobic violence and homophobia makes possible some forms of racist violence” (p. 277). Also of significance is Meyer’s (2010) research on perceptions of LGBTQ hate crime victims, which revealed that white middle-class LGBTQ participants were more likely than low-  87  income LGBTQ people of colour to perceive their violent experiences as severe, even though the latter experienced more physical violence than the former.  Accessibility and Systemic Barriers The combined effects of racism within many white dominated LGBTQ communities and homo/bi/transphobia and heterosexism within some Indigenous communities and communities of colour, make it very difficult for racialized LGBTQ people of colour and Indigenous people experiencing IPV and/or hate-motivated violence to access support. For example, a recent analysis of websites of South Asian Women’s organizations in the U.S. revealed that the majority are not currently presenting themselves as accessible to LGBTQ survivors of violence (i.e. not mentioning LGBTQ people) which reinforces the invisibility of IPV in LGBTQ communities and creates barriers for LGBTQ survivors (Mehrotra & Munshi, 2011). Programs aimed at addressing partner violence within LGBTQ communities “may not be accessible to queer South Asians or effectively meet their needs, given the intersection of their unique racialized, immigrant, and cultural experiences with gender, sexuality and other salient identities” (p. 9). LGBTQ people of colour who have experienced violence may be reluctant to seek help from mainstream LGBTQ organizations due to persistent whiteness and racism (Choudhury, 2007). The following quote from a South Asian victim of antilesbian discrimination in a medical context illustrates this: I would have not approached [the local mainstream LGBT organization] to help me with this issue. I feel they are an extremely white and extremely racist organization at times…Honestly if I had not reported this through [the local South  88  Asian agency], I would not have reported it. I wouldn’t have reported it through a white queer organization. (quoted in Choudhury, 2007, p. 136-137)  Summary This chapter has provided a review of literature that addresses the problems of IPV and anti-LGBTQ violence, discussing some of the relevant trends and gaps in the research. As this literature review has illustrated, with the exception of some important contributions discussed above, most research has not examined the connections between, and complexities of, violence in the lives of LGBTQ people who experience multiple forms of marginalization such as racism, colonialism, immigration, poverty and economic oppression, ableism, incarceration, ageism, and the socio-economic disparities in rural, northern and isolated communities. In the case of IPV, the vast majority of the research has focused primarily on similarities with heterosexual IPV, and heteronormative and cisnormative assumptions are frequently embedded in the research designs and findings. Many studies homogenize experiences thereby ignoring the diversity of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, class, age, ability and the different forms or socio-spatial contexts of violence. A number of activists and scholars have argued for the need to move beyond a gender-based, heteronormative and cisnormative lens and expand the definitions and frameworks for understanding intimate partner violence in LGBTQ communities. However as my review reveals, there are diverse political perspectives and motivations informing this call. As well many feminists and LGBTQ people of colour have argued against a race and class  89  neutral framework, however most of the literature has not taken up these critiques to shift the analysis. Despite these significant gaps, some important shifts can be seen. For example: studies drawing on a larger number of research participants; an increase in qualitative research; integration of intersectional theory; increase in research that challenges narrow, de-politicized and de-contextualized accounts of IPV; some research conducted by trans people and their allies which emphasizes the intersections between multiple forms of interpersonal, hate-motivated, institutional and state violence. Research on anti-LGBTQ violence in Canada is very limited. As well, most research has relied on a de-contextualized framework that has not addressed the interlocking nature of oppression and violence. Also often missing are discussions of the connections between IPV and anti-LGBTQ violence, thus constructing these as separate and unconnected social problems. For the most part, most studies elide a substantial analysis of the intersectional or interlocking nature of race, class, gender, ability and sexuality in the experiences of victims or perpetrators of anti-LGBTQ violence. While some research on anti-LGBTQ violence has gestured towards an inclusion of geographical contexts, a spatial analysis has been largely unexplored in the area of research on IPV in LGBTQ communities. My research builds on and extends the work of scholars discussed in this chapter who are applying an intersectional and/or contextual framework, and who call for an approach that addresses the multiple forms of interpersonal, hate-motivated, and state violence in the lives of LGBTQ people. Most of the literature lacks a substantial analysis of racialization, space/geographical contexts, and intersecting/interlocking forms of  90  violence, and my research specifically addresses these three under-researched areas. My dissertation thus fills a significant gap in its effort to illustrate the way these systems, contexts and processes work together in creating violence in the lives of LGBTQ people, through the application of a spatial and interlocking theoretical framework. In the next chapter I outline this framework in more detail, as well my research methods.  91  Chapter Four: Theoretical Framework and Methodological Tools  In this chapter, I describe the theoretical framework and methodological tools that I use to analyze discourses and interlocking systems of power in this research study. My qualitative research design includes three case studies: i) individual interviews and a focus group with white lesbian/queer feminist anti-violence educators in Vancouver, BC; ii) a violence prevention curriculum on “Healthy Queer Relationships for Women” in Vancouver BC; and iii) Lesbian and Gay Pride Day and the “LGBT Anti-Violence Project” in Kelowna BC. Multiple qualitative methods were used to collect data, including in-depth interviews, a focus group, and archival data. I critically analyze discourses in various texts including: interview and focus group transcripts, pamphlets and booklets, an anti-violence curriculum, print and web-based news articles, a website for an urban development proposal, and a report from a human rights tribunal. To do this, I use an interdisciplinary poststructuralist framework, drawing on methodological tools from Women’s Studies, Geography, Social Work and Sociology. My interdisciplinary theoretical framework shaped the direction of my research and influenced my qualitative research design, methods for data collection and data analysis. This chapter is presented in four parts: i) research questions; ii) interdisciplinary theoretical framework; and iii) qualitative research methods; iv) strengths and limitations of my methodological approach.  92  Part One: Research Questions A fundamental assumption in my research is that the way we think and talk about violence (and other categories and experiences such as health, identity, rights and space) influences our material, socio-spatial and political experience. My research, then addresses the following over-arching questions: What are the stories that queer antiviolence organizers tell about the violence in our lives? What do these stories do? What, and whom do they make im/possible or in/visible, and how do they do this? What stories are told about place and space and what kinds of understandings of violence are made possible or erased through these imagined geographies (Said, 1978)? What strategies exist for resisting normative narratives and frameworks? I explore these questions through an analysis of discourses and autoethnographic accounts, in three separate but thematically linked case studies which I describe in detail later in this Chapter. The additional analytical questions that underpin the research in each case study are as follows: Case study 1) What are the spatial metaphors in dominant feminist and lesbian/queer anti-violence educational discourses and what are their effects? How do conceptualizations of public and private spaces, influence our understandings of violence and the pedagogical strategies we develop? What is the relationship between white normativity and the public/private dichotomy in lesbian/queer feminist anti-violence discourses? Case study 2) How do queer feminist anti-violence organizers reproduce and/or resist normative frameworks, such as heteronormative, neoliberal and white settler colonial discourses and practices?  93  Case study 3) What are the discourses surrounding Kelowna’s 1996-1997 Lesbian and Gay Pride Day? What can this discourse analysis tell us about how geographies of violence and belonging in LGBTQ communities, are linked to the violence of colonialism and nation-building in a white settler society such as Canada? How is the city of Kelowna produced as a white heteronormative and bourgeois space? How are queer anti-violence and human rights movements related to other social and political movements such as those for Indigenous rights and sovereignty in Canada? Throughout the research, I examine how discourses of normalcy influence which subjectivities and bodies we come to see as intelligible or human through these representations in stories and narratives about violence, health, identity, rights, and space in various contexts, asking: What does the story do? What does it produce? What, and whom does it make im/possible or in/visible and how does it do this?  Part Two: Interdisciplinary Theoretical Framework To address these questions, I employ an interlocking spatial analytical framework to examine three case studies. This combines the following interdisciplinary approaches i) a feminist poststructural analytic informed by Foucault’s work on discourse, power, subjectivity and space and ii) an interlocking analytic that brings together anti-colonial and critical race theorizing on colonialism, racialization and whiteness, with a queer approach that critiques normativity beyond sexuality and gender, to trouble colonial, racial and classed norms as well (Lenon, 2008). The following section, describes this in greater detail describing the literature that informs my conceptual framework.  94  Feminist Poststructuralism. By using a feminist poststructuralist approach to research, I begin with the assumption that all research makes knowledge claims and it is important to ask how we know what we know, what counts as knowledge, and what the material effects of the production of knowledge are. To do so challenges positivist, masculinist and imperialist research paradigms that view research as an objective and scientific process that produces knowledge that is value-neutral, ahistorical and detached from experience. Feminist poststructuralism is “a mode of knowledge production which uses poststructuralist theories of language, subjectivity, social processes and institutions to understand existing power relations and to identify areas and strategies for change” (Weedon, 1987, p. 40-41). Feminist poststructuralist scholars use methodological tools such as discourse analysis, deconstruction, a critique of universalizing narratives and essentialist constructs, combined with feminist analyses of power, subjectivity, structural and material contexts of social inequities, and ethics of accountability (Naples, 2003; Razack, 1998; Ristock, 2002; Ristock & Pennell, 1996). By paying attention to material contexts, power relations and ethics they strive to have their research contribute to sociopolitical change. Some use the same tools but refer to their approach as feminist postmodern. Generally speaking, postmodernism represents ideological shifts and challenges to modernist notions of objective knowledge, progress, reason, identity/autonomous self, and universal truths. Janice Ristock and Joan Pennell (1998) describe a feminist  95  postmodern approach as one that focuses on “feminist links and postmodern interruptions” which means: rejecting universalizing narratives while at the same time taking a firm political stance, affirming real people and their needs for social justice while at the same time destabilizing or disrupting categories that are socially constructed in order to reveal the workings of power and make it possible to imagine alternative ways of thinking that will generate less oppressive conditions. (p. 7) Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan (1994) also position their work as postmodern and argue that some feminist poststructuralist theorists do not integrate an analysis of the relationship between modernity and discourses of colonialism and race (p. 3). As they state: We see postmodernism as a critique of modernist agendas as they are manifested in various forms and locations around the world. Our critiques of certain forms of feminism emerge from their willing participation in modernity with all its colonial discourses and hegemonic First World formations that wittingly or unwittingly lead to the oppression and exploitation of many women.” (p. 2) Similarly in my research, I critique hegemonic discourses (such as modernist, colonial and neoliberal) that circulate within feminist and LGBTQ movements and also highlight counter-narratives that destabilize them. For example, in Chapter Seven I use an interlocking analysis to deconstruct the modernist civilizing discourse of tolerance which is considered synonymous with Enlightenment, showing how “tolerance of gays and lesbians” works as a racialized practice of nation building in a white settler society.  96  Feminist discourse analysts disrupt positivist assumptions about language as transparent, value-free and universal and instead examine how language produces and constructs reality (Cheek, 2004; Lather, 1991; Ristock & Pennell, 1996). They examine how discursive formations shape, or limit what can be said or heard in particular sociopolitical-spatial contexts (Naples, 2003; Ristock, 2002). I use this approach to highlight what is unspoken or unrepresented in discursive frames. In the next section, I explore this further, describing Foucault’s understanding of discourse, power and knowledge.  Discourse and Power. There has been a “narrative turn” in social science research including within the disciplines of sociology, social work and human geography. This has included analysis of the role of stories/narratives and storytelling in: social movements (Davis, 2002; Hemmings, 2011; Razack, 1998); the constitution of identities and subjectivities (Razack, 1998; Ristock, 2002; Hole, 2007); the production of place, space and landscape (Razack, 2002; Price, 2010); and in many other contexts. Within this work there are many understandings of discourse, and many scholars have explored the distinctions between story, narrative and discourse. In my research, I use the terms story and narrative to refer to the same phenomena (Davis, 2002).36 Some scholars see story and discourse as synonymous, while others view story as what is told and discourse as how the story is transmitted (Herman, Jahn, & Ryan, 2005). I focus on discursive practices within stories told in anti-violence organizing in queer communities, and their theoretical and socio-political and spatial effects. I use a Foucauldian understanding of  36  Many scholars use them to refer to the same phenomena but others (such as those using structuralist literary theory for example) may draw distinctions between these terms (Davis, 2002).  97  discourse that examines how meanings are produced through language and the way power and knowledge are constituted in and through each other (Foucault, 1978, p. 100). Geographer Gillian Rose (2007) draws on Foucault’s work in her understanding of discourse, which she defines as: “…groups of statements which structure the way a thing is thought, and the way we act on the basis of that thinking. In other words, discourse is a particular knowledge about the world which shapes how the world is understood and how things are done in it” (p. 142). Ristock and Pennell (1996) also note that discourses are sets of assumptions that are socially shared and often unconscious (p. 114). For Foucault, discourses are not simply descriptive or representational but are productive. As he says, discourses are “practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak” (1972, p. 49). They make possible what can be said or known, they produce or position subjects within them, which all has material effects. It is through discourse that truth and subjects are produced. In my study, I demonstrate how discourses of violence, safety and health that appear to be race-neutral, produce innocent racial white subjects. This constitutive nature of discourse not only includes the production of meaning, but also the production of subjects and bodies in space, which I discuss further in this chapter. Foucauldian discourse analysts specifically investigate the co-constitutive nature of discourse, power, knowledge and subjectivity. Foucault stressed that power “circulates” in the production of knowledge not in a repressive but productive manner (1980, p. 98). As he puts it: If power were never anything but repressive, if it never did anything but to say no, do you really think one would be brought to obey it? What makes power hold  98  good, what makes it accepted, is simply the fact that it traverses and produces things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse. (Foucault, 1980, p. 119) Power is thus not a commodity or a force that only oppresses in a top down hierarchical way but is “employed and exercised” in a “net-like fashion” (p. 98) producing discourses, knowledge and subjects. Feminist Foucauldian discourse analysts are therefore interested in how power operates rather than why, as well as the material, social and spatial effects and implications of what is produced (Adams, 1997; Cheek, 2004; Ristock, 2002; Rose, 2007). In this study, I analyze discourses as socio-spatial practices and pay attention to the way power operates in and through them.  Regimes of Truth. Discourse produces categories of meaning, which make possible some thoughts while excluding others. While Foucault spoke of the multiplicity of discourses, he emphasized that power operates through the construction of knowledge producing what he called “regimes of truth” that legitimize and normalize certain knowledges while obscuring or subjugating others (Foucault, 1980). He described a regime of truth as follows: ‘Truth’ is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation and operation of statements. ‘Truth’ is linked in a circular relation with the systems of power which produce and sustain it, and effects of power which it induces and which extends it. (1980, p. 133) By applying his theory, I ask: How do certain discourses come to be dominant, legitimate and considered true through the disqualification of other discourses (p. 82)?  99  Margaret Wetherell and Jonathon Potter (1992) note that, Foucault argues “…one way to undermine a ‘truth’ is not to counterpose it with another ‘truth’ but to examine the discursive process by which true and false statements become distinguished” (p. 67). In my research, I examine taken-for-granted assumptions and “truths,” interrogating how they structure and limit what is thinkable in specific socio-historical and spatial contexts. My research interrogates regimes of truth within emancipatory and activist discourses that produce exclusions. For example, my research reveals how white normative discourses within queer and feminist anti-violence organizing produce a regime of truth that positions colonial and racialized violence as outside the category of “domestic violence” or “anti-LGBTQ violence”. This is frequently accomplished through the rhetorical strategy of naming colonial and racial violence “off topic” or outside of the frame of reference. The production of these truth claims is directly related to existing power relations and racial and class hierarchies within feminist and LGBTQ social movements. Certain discourses become dominant not only because of their location within socially powerful institutions but also because they claim absolute truth (Rose, 2007). As Julian Cheek (2004) argues “not all discourses are afforded equal presence or, therefore, equal authority. At any time in history, certain discourses will operate in such a way as to marginalize or even exclude others. Which discursive frame is afforded presence is a consequence of the effect of power relations” and socio-historical contexts (p. 1143). Foucault argues that one is never outside of power but that this “does not mean that one is trapped and condemned to defeat no matter what” (Foucault, 1980, p. 141142). He reminds us that “there are no relations of power without resistances” and that  100  like power, resistance is multiple (p. 142). Discourses are shifting and unstable: a “discourse can be an instrument and an effect of power, but also a hindrance, a stumbling block, a point of resistance and a starting point for an opposing strategy” (1978, p. 101). Thus, the possibility of a reverse discourse always exists (p. 101). In my research, I study reverse discourses where subjects resist regulatory practices, and I examine their complex and contradictory effects. For example, in Chapter Six, I examine how power moves in multiple and contradictory ways through discourses in a queer violence prevention curriculum, both resisting heteronormative neoliberal discourses in some cases, but at the same time reproducing some white homonormative neoliberal conceptualizations. Foucault called the relationship between meanings and categories in a particular discourse, a “discursive formation” (1972, p. 38). He frequently referred to the relationality of categories, statements, meanings, institutions, social and economic processes and systems of norms (p. 44-46), and argued that we must examine “the degree to which they depend on one another, the way in which they interlock or exclude one another…the play of their location, arrangements and replacement” (italics mine, p. 34). I argue that Foucauldian discourse analysis works well with a relational and interlocking approach for examining discourse, space, subjectivity and power relations in anti-violence organizing.  Discourse and Subjectivity. Discursive practices operate so as to give stories and narratives meaning and also have material effects including shaping how we come to know ourselves as subjects and our place in the socio-spatial order of things. For poststructuralist theorists, the self does not exist outside of discourse. Foucault (2003)  101  sought to understand how human beings are made subjects. He argued that discourses produce and organize different subject positions. In other words, “discourses make available positions for subjects to take up. These positions are in relation to other people” (Hollway, 2003, p. 277). Drawing on Foucault, Joan Scott (1992) has claimed that “it is not individuals who have experience but subjects who are constituted through experience” (p. 27). In a similar way, Judith Butler’s (1993) theory of performativity addresses the discursive process of reiteration through which a subject is constituted and produced (p. 95). Many discourse analysts have grappled with questions about the relationship between subjectivity and discourses, asking: “How is it that people take up positions in one discourse rather than another?” (Hollway, 2003, p. 278); [Should] “discourse be read for signs of subjectivity?...[or it is] “useful to think of [someone] as the author of his discourse…?” (Wetherell & Potter, 1992, p. 8). In my research, I analyze discourses in various texts, such as anti-violence curriculum, interview transcripts, newspapers and a report from a provincial human rights tribunal. Importantly, my focus is not the educators, authors, journalists or tribunal participants themselves, but rather the discourses that constitute them as subjects. I investigate which subjectivities and spaces are produced or made (im)possible through the available discourses and how they rely on one another or interlock. At the same time, as an activist researcher, I do not view subjects as passive and un-implicated in the statements and organizations of power that they/we produce through discourse, and therefore I stress the importance of addressing complicity and accountability in research for social change. This process “begins with a recognition that we are each implicated in systems of oppression that profoundly  102  structure our understanding of one another. That is, we come to know and perform ourselves in way that reproduce social hierarchies” (Razack, 1998, p. 10). In my research, I examine how my subjectivity is constituted by the discourses I examine, how it shapes what I see and don’t see, as well as how I construct and assign meanings to the data that I am analyzing. I am not outside of the issues examined in this research, but rather am personally and politically invested and implicated in the problems explored in this project, and this informs my approach to feminist autoethnography and personal narrative (which I discuss in part three of this chapter).  Power and Normalization. My research troubles the meanings attached to the category “normal”, examining how normative discourses are produced and resisted within feminist and queer anti-violence strategies. This involves examining power relations and how social regulation and governance shape the construction of norms and processes of normalization. Foucault demonstrated how power operates within and through the individual ensuring that bodies regulate themselves and one another in relation to a defined norm and through subtle practices of surveillance which produce two kinds of bodies: the normal and abnormal body (Adams, 1997; Razack, 2002). Through the imposition of precise norms and processes of surveillance, the discipline of individuals and of a population is accomplished. The goal is to correct and reform deviant behaviour. Normalization is thus a form of social regulation, and “what we take to be “normal” are, for the most part, representations of dominant interests (Adams, 1997, p. 15). Elaborating on Foucault’s work, Judith Butler (1990; 2002) argues that categories of gender and sexuality come to be naturalized through the reiteration, or performance, of a  103  norm or a set of norms. For example, heterosexual identity seeks to naturalize itself as the original, the normal, and the real through the compulsory endless repetition of the category heterosexual. Foucault’s (1991) concept of governmentality describes how this normalizing power works through techniques of governance that regulate and manage populations at a distance by relying upon people to govern themselves. Neoliberalism has been described as a contemporary form of governmentality that deflects attention away from the sociospatial, economic and political conditions that produce violence or poor health, and emphasizes personal responsibility for preventing violence and illness through self-help discourses, expert knowledge and expert assistance (Bumiller, 2008; Lupton, 1999). Neoliberalism is “a facet of a racist society that works to both reinforce the racial structure of society, while also modifying the processes of racialization” (Roberts & Mahtani, 2010, p. 248-50). In Chapter Six, I examine how neoliberal forms of governance and racialized discourses operate in a queer IPV prevention and health promotion initiative. A critique of normalcy is a central aspect of anti-colonial and queer theories and I now turn to a discussion of this part of my analytical framework – first discussing theorizing on race and colonialism, and then anti-colonial queer perspectives.  Anti-Colonial and Critical Whiteness Theories. Racism, imperialism and colonialism are deeply interconnected. Colonialism is the historical and on-going process of conquest and exploitation of people, land and resources (Loomba, 1998; Trask, 2004). Anti-colonial and critical race scholars have demonstrated how the production of others  104  is crucial in defining what is ‘normal’ and in locating one’s own place in the world. The colonized subject is characterized as ‘other’ through discourses such as primitivism and cannibalism, as a means of establishing the binary separation of the colonizer and colonized and asserting the naturalness and primacy of the colonizing culture and world view. (Ashcroft, Griffiths, & Tiffin, 2007, p. 154155) Anti-colonial theories disrupt these racialized constructions of normalcy, including the normative power of whiteness and the binary of self/other. Yasmin Jiwani (2006) emphasizes that racialization is a violent process, which rests on the normativity and invisibility of whiteness (p. 6). Sherene Razack (1998) has referred to whiteness as “the colour of domination” describing how it shows up in discursive moves of innocence and the repetitive denial of white dominance and complicity in systems of domination (see also hooks, 1994). Whiteness is also profoundly spatial (Kobyashi & Peake, 2000). In white settler societies such as Canada it is “that which historically removed and continues to remove [the ground of Indigenous sovereignty]– initially through Terra Nullius and policies and practices of assimilation” and other on-going colonial legal and socio-spatial practices (Nichol, 2004, p. 36). In this research, I interrogate the production of whiteness in queer anti-violence discourses so as to dislodge it from its unmarked and unnamed status and to deconstruct the power it carries. I draw on feminist anti-colonial and critical whiteness scholarship (Dyer 1997; Frankenberg, 1993; hooks, 1992; Nichol, 2004; Morrison, 1992) for investigating how whiteness is constituted through discursive processes of othering and  105  how racialized assumptions are produced in and through discourses. My research examines how the terror and violence of whiteness (hooks, 1992) is denied, erased or naturalized within white hegemonic feminist and queer anti-violence discourses (Jiwani, 2006). While the terms “racism” and “whiteness” evoke different processes and effects of white racial domination, many anti-racist activists and scholars have argued for the need to use the term white supremacy (hooks, 1989; Smith, 2006). Inspired by the work of these scholars, I engage what Zeus Leonardo (2004) calls a “critical pedagogy of white racial supremacy”. This involves more than simply noting racial privileges and advantages, or viewing racism as an unfortunate social problem that is unconnected to white racial subjects. Leonardo (2004) explains: In order for white racial hegemony to saturate everyday life, it has to be secured by a process of domination, or those acts, decisions, and policies that white subjects perpetrate on people of color. As such, a critical pedagogy of white racial supremacy revolves less around the issue of unearned advantages, or the state of being dominant, and more around direct processes that secure domination and the privileges associated with it. (emphasis mine, p.137) The focus is less on the state of privilege or dominance, and more about the direct socio-economic, legal and spatial acts and processes that secure domination. I find geographer Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s (2002) definition of racism very helpful here: “racism is the state-sanctioned and/or legal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerabilities to premature death, in distinct yet densely interconnected political geographies” (p. 261). Like the work of bell hooks (1992), Andrea Smith (2005, 2006)  106  and others, Gilmore focuses on how racism is produced systematically and spatially (for example, through policies and laws), how it is experienced by people of colour and Indigenous people, and how it fundamentally affects the quality and longevity of their lives. My research pays attention to these issues primarily by focusing on how white supremacy is discursively produced (and in some cases disrupted) in queer and feminist anti-violence organizing and education. It encourages activists and scholars to examine “everyday acts of white supremacist thought and practice” (hooks, 2003, p. 40) and to commit to challenge all manifestations of settler colonialism within social justice movements and in the wider state and global contexts as well. This approach foregrounds questions of white complicity and accountability to people of colour and Indigenous people in my analysis. Scholars such as Andrea Smith (2010a/b) and Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua (2005) and Scott Lauria Morgensen (2011) have addressed the lack of critical analysis of settler colonialism and the on-going colonization of Indigenous people within much of critical race, postcolonial, feminist and queer theory. Lawrence & Dua (2005), call for the decolonization of anti-racist theory and organizing practices. By choosing “anti-colonial” as a descriptor for my approach, I situate my work within this body of knowledge which places the past and present day violence of colonial land theft and dispossession and practices of decolonization at the centre of feminist and queer theorizing and social movement politics (Lawrence & Dua, 2005; Morgensen, 2011; Monture-Angus, 1995; Smith, 2010a/b; Trask, 2004).37  37  Some have discussed the differences between post-colonial and anti-colonial theory (Angod, 2006; Berg & Gilmartin, 2007). In some cases, there has been tension and debate surrounding assumptions that the “post” in post-colonial theory describes a period free of colonial legacies or to refer to colonialism as a period that has ended, although not all post-colonial theorists make this assumption. A review of this  107  Anti-Colonial Queer. My framework integrates anti-colonial and critical race feminist theorizing on racialization and whiteness with queer theories (Barnard, 2004; Cohen, 1997; Morgensen, 2011; Puar, 2007; Riggs, 2006; Somerville, 2000; Smith, 2010b,). This approach expands critiques of normativity beyond sexuality and gender, to trouble colonial, racial and classed norms as well, and the interdependence of racialization and sexualization (Lenon, 2008; Oswin, 2008). Central to my interlocking analysis, is the understanding that colonial violence is always gendered and sexualized (Razack, 2002; Smith, 2005) and that processes of heterosexualization are integral to colonial nation building (Alexander, 2005; Driskell et al., 2011; Morgensen, 2011; Smith, 2010b). Andrea Smith (2006) argues that heteropatriarchy is the building block of empire and of the nation-state form of governance. As she explains: “in order to colonize peoples whose societies are not based on social hierarchy, colonizers must first naturalize hierarchy through instituting patriarchy” and heterosexuality (p. 72). While the term queer is often used as an identity category or umbrella term for non-normative sexual and gender identities, it emerged as a critique of essentialist constructs and identity politics. Many theorists conceptualize “queer” as a verb, as a practice or set of deconstructive practices focused on challenging normative knowledges, identities and behaviours (Sullivan, 2003). Queerness is then less about a way of “being” and more about “doing” and offers the potential for radical social critique (Sullivan, 2003). I apply a queer approach in this way in my research, to trouble normative discourses – white and middle-class normativity, and hetero and homonormativity. My  literature and the debates surrounding the differences is outside of the scope of this study and can be read elsewhere (see: Angod, 2006; Berg & Gilmartin, 2007; Loomba, 1998).  108  research interrogates the violence of normalcy and the way this is performed and spatially regulated in white heteropatriarchal settler societies. Influenced by Foucault’s The History of Sexuality Volume 1 (1978), queer theorists explore how sexuality is constructed in various socio-historical contexts and to make visible how heteronormativity is produced, enforced and resisted (Adams, 1997; Lenon, 2008; Ristock, 2002). Foucault argues that since the 17th century, there was a “proliferation of discourses” concerned with sexuality (p. 18) which introduced new categories of identification. The subject position of the “homosexual” first emerged in medical discourses in the late 1800s and specific sexual acts were first understood as the expression of an individual, and tied to specific identities. These identities were constructed through normalizing discourses. Foucault also demonstrated that scientific efforts to define race were intricately linked to discourses of gender and sexuality, in order to manage populations and ensure race purity through “interventions at the level of the body, conduct, health and everyday life” (1980, p.149). Some scholars draw on his work to reveal the intimate and interlocking nature of discourses of race and sexuality (Lenon, 2008; McWhorter, 2004; Oswin, 2008; Sommerville, 2000; Stoler, 1995). In my work, this means paying attention to the interlocking and normalizing power of racialized hetero and homonormative discourses, as well as the way sexual subjects are positioned within racial and colonial hierarchies in white settler societies such as Canada. A number of queer theorists have critiqued the emergence of a new social category “the normal gay/lesbian” (Richardson, 2005; Seidman 2001), and the homonormative discursive and socio-material practices articulated by gays and lesbians that support rather than resist heteronormative neoliberal projects (Duggan 2003;  109  Richardson 2005). These scholars are concerned with the way “normalizing social controls assign a moral status of normal and abnormal” to certain conceptions of family, intimate life, sexual acts and desires and subjectivities (Seidman 2001, p. 326; see also Puar 2007; Richardson, 2005; Riggs 2006). As Diane Richardson (2005) summarizes: “At the heart of neoliberal responses to homosexuality there is frequently both a (continued) recognition and maintenance of difference and, at the same time, an attempt to disrupt this through the introduction of new policy measures that constitute lesbians and gays men as ‘ordinary normal citizens’” (p. 531). In this dissertation, I critically examine homonormative sexual politics and the way they draw on normative and neoliberal representations of respectability that are racialized and classed (Duggan, 2003; Lenon, 2011; Puar, 2007). Anti-colonial queer38 scholars have expanded the analysis to show how homonormativity is implicated in imperialism, white nationalism and settler colonialism (Morgensen, 2010; Puar, 2006, 2007; Smith, 2010b). These scholars have drawn attention to the way homonormative neoliberal discourses and political formations not only reproduce heteronorms of gender and kinship but national and racial norms as well (Morgensen, 2010; Oswin, 2008; Puar 2007; Riggs, 2006; Thorpe 2005). “Homonationalism” is a term coined by Jasbir Puar (2006) to refer to socio-spatial and political processes that strategically incorporate certain privileged queer bodies into nation-building projects. She has shown that there has been a rise in homonationalism in the post 9/11 context, which position certain queer bodies as less threatening to the nation than others (Puar, 2006).  38  This framework has also been described as “queer of colour critique”, “postcolonial queer”, “critical race or anti-racist queer” and “queer intersectionality”.  110  Anti-colonial queer theorists have pointed out that the majority of queer theorists have neglected to address how race-based, class-based norms “circulate simultaneously with (and through) sexual identities” (Cohen, 1997; Riggs, 2007, p. 2). They challenge reductive notions of heteronormativity and narrow understanding of queer “which collapses our understanding of power into a single continuum of evaluation” (Cohen, 1997, p. 452). At the heart of this politic is an understanding of the mutually constitutive nature of race and sexuality and the fact that “the roots of heteronormativity are in white supremacist ideologies which sought (and continue) to use the state and its regulation of sexuality, in particular through the institution of heterosexual marriage, to designate which individuals were truly ‘fit’ for full rights and privileges of citizenship” (Cohen, 1997, p. 453). Anti-colonial queer feminists foreground the symbiotic relationship between heteronormativity, patriarchy and white supremacy to show that heteropatriarchy is the building block of empire and the nation-state (Smith, 2006, p. 71).39 Queer Indigenous scholars and allies have pointed out how colonialism produced what Scott Morgensen (2010) calls “‘settler sexuality’: a white national heteronormativity that regulates Indigenous sexuality and gender by supplanting them with the sexual modernity of settler subjects” (p. 106). This work challenges a harmful binarism of whiteness and settler colonialism within much of queer theory and the heteronormativity within much of critical race and postcolonial theory (Cohen, 1997; Hawley, 2001; Smith, 2010b). While a critique of settler colonialism has been part of this analysis for some Indigenous scholars and allies, much of the critical race literature has largely ignored past and present settler colonialism 39  This work has roots in the early activism and writings of Indigenous lesbian feminists and lesbian feminists of colour such as Lee Maracle, Paula Gunn Allen, Chrystos, Audre Lorde and Barbara Smith, to name but a few.  111  and as such as reproduced problematic colonial discourses (Lawrence & Dua, 2005). Settler colonialism has been described as “the social processes and narratives that displace Native people while granting settlers belonging to Native land and settler society” (Morgensen, 2010, p. 117). This critique and deeper analysis of the hetero and homonormativity of settler colonialism has only recently been integrated into the wider critical race literature (e.g. Morgensen, 2010; Riggs, 2006; Smith, 2010b). A number of scholars draw on anti-colonial theorizing from Indigenous studies and activism that addresses the on-going violence of white settler colonialism (Morgensen, 2010, 2011; Smith, 2010a). Scott Morgensen (2010, 2011) examines “settler colonialism as a condition of the formation of modern queer subjects, cultures and politics” (2010, p. 106) in the U.S. and Canada. He extends Jasbir Puar’s concept “homonationalism” and raises questions about “the conditions under which U.S. queer projects produce settler homonationalism” and the “terrorizing methods that create queer subjects as agents of the violence of the settler state” (p. 107). Damien Riggs (2006) applies an interlocking framework to explore questions of what it means to claim rights or belonging as a white queer subject in a (post)colonizing nation. He interrogates whiteness within queer theorizing and political strategizing in the context of colonial nations, and argues for an analysis of power that recognizes the simultaneity of multiple forms of oppression rather than an additive analysis. He examines the way white queer subjectivities are formed simultaneously through privilege and oppression (p. 2) and how racism is a foundational component of white subjectivities in colonial nations (p. 3). Riggs contends that “queer rights campaigns on the whole have failed to interrogate white queer privilege” (p. 4).  112  Inspired by Riggs’ work, I take up his call to action for white queer subjects in the following ways: engaging with issues of sovereignty and colonialism in queer politics and theorizing; examining racialized assumptions embedded in our discursive and political frameworks; challenging racial privilege; keeping an eye on on-going practices of white violence in colonial nations and interrogate our complicity with them; and moving towards greater accountability to Indigenous and other racialized people positioned as enemies of the white nation. As critical race and post-colonial geographers have noted, these issues are deeply spatial (Berg & Gilmartin, 2007; Kobyashi & Peake, 2000; Razack, 2002). Geographer Natalie Oswin (2008) states that examining these issues requires a broader use of queer theory in geography beyond a liberal framework of oppression and resistance that focuses simply on the production of space as heterosexualized and the subsequent resistance by gay and lesbian subjects. She recommends a “queer geography that engages deeply with feminist, postcolonial and critical race theories to bring questions of race, colonialism, geopolitics, migration, globalization and nationalism to the fore” (p. 90). She suggests that this approach looks at much more than the lives of “queers” and instead focuses our attention on the ways in which “sexual norms do much more than to marginalize homosexuals” (p. 96). Following her work, and others such as David Eng (2001), I explore how the social and spatial regulation of sexuality produces and is produced by race (p. 5). A key aspect of my approach involves a critical examination of the relationships between subjects, bodies and space and I discuss this next.  113  Subjectivity and Space. Foucault (1984) asserts that the production of space is “fundamental in any exercise of power” (p. 252). I understand space as something that is produced through social, political and discursive practices and processes and in turn, it has social and material effects. This challenges the common sense notion of space as natural, static and innocent and explores the relationships between symbolic meanings produced through discourse, social practices, power and material relations in the coconstitution of a space (Massey, 2005; Razack, 2002). In this research, I analyze how discourses simultaneously constitute and link subjects and spaces together. There continues to be widespread tendency to see “place” as something that is concrete, and “space” as something that is abstract (Gregory et al., 2009). Social relations and interactions give meaning to spaces, and it is through these processes that spaces become places (Tyner, 2011). I position my work alongside scholars who understand the way space and place are both embodied practices and processes of production that are both material and discursive (Gregory et al., 2009). My understanding of space is informed by Henri Lefebvre’s (1991) production of space, Doreen Massey’s (2005) relational sense of place, Edward Said’s (1978) imaginative geographies and Sherene Razack’s (2002) interlocking analysis of race and space. In the field of cultural geography, “any place or area, at any scale, or in any circumstance could be thought of as a geographical context” (Anderson, 2010, p.3). Geographers study a range of contexts ranging from a political territory, a physical landscape, a public square, a home, a park, a room, or an office of a non-profit organization, to other contexts such as the “contexts of communication” which could be understood as a “media spaces” or “places of the body” for example (p. 3). Cultural  114  geographers examine the interconnections between these contexts and at various scales asking: what produces these contexts and what effects do they have (Anderson, 2010)? Drawing on the work of Judith Butler (1990), theorists have examined performative geographies showing how the production of space as white, or heterosexual, or male is a performative act — it is naturalized through repetition and regulation, and is continuously (re)created (Bell & Binnie, 1994; Brown, 2000; Browne, 2004; McDowell, 1995; Puar, 2006; Valentine, 1996). In this dissertation, (and as discussed more specifically in Chapter Five and Seven), I show how white hegemonic norms are performatively reinscribed through various repetitive discursive and spatial moves, such as constructing racial and colonial violence as off topic and out of place within hegemonic feminist and queer anti-violence organizing, or by naming violence against women a private sphere problem. Like the work of the scholars above, I explore the symbolic meaning of spaces, paying close attention to the relationship between the discursive and material in the constitution of spaces. This also involves an examination of how spatial boundaries are mobilized and enforced through discourses to manage and regulate populations, and to separate and differentiate between respectable and degenerate subjects. For example, it is through these socio-spatial processes that certain bodies are seen to belong in certain spaces and not others (Nelson, 2008; Peters, 1998; Razack, 2002). Cultural geographers argue that spaces are not simply ontologically pre-given, but instead the materiality of space and the symbolic meanings of spaces work through one another to make up a space (Razack, 2002). To understand how these meanings come to be, we need to denaturalize spaces, for example spaces coded as public or private, or the  115  space of the home, the city, the reserve and the nation. In some cases, this involves an analysis of spatial metaphors in discourses. Although geographers stress the importance of grounding this analysis in the material spatiality of life, many have also argued for the importance of unpacking spatial metaphors, such as “the closet” (Brown, 2000), “the Great White North” (Baldwin, Cameron, & Kobayashi, 2011), “empty space” (Razack, 2002), boundaries and borders, “out of place” and “in-between”. Methodologically speaking, this means that we must deconstruct and problematize the taken-for-granted meanings attached to these spaces and the material consequences of these spatial metaphors. For example, in Chapter Five I deconstruct everyday assumptions and meanings about the public and private spaces of violence within feminist education about violence in lesbian relationships. In Chapter Seven, I use a similar practice to interrogate the way discourses about violence against gays and lesbians in the city of Kelowna became spatialized and racialized narratives about rights in the city and the nation. This includes an interlocking examination of the way social privilege and marginalization shape experiences of (un)belonging in the city (Kern, 2005; Peters, 1998) and the way spaces and subjects are relational. Cultural geographers have brought our attention to the co-constitutive and relational nature of subjectivities and spaces (Massey, 2005) and my research illustrates how this spatial framework works well with anti-colonial and feminist interlocking theories. In this study, I critically examine how spaces and subject positions are socially and mutually constitutive of one another in different, relational and hierarchical ways (McDowell, 2004; Razack, 2002) and how certain constructs mask this relational quality. I am concerned with what they produce or do: for example how heterosexuality depends  116  on homosexuality for its meaning, how a respectable subjectivity requires a degenerate Other, or how the white settler city space is produced through the construction of an Aboriginal reserve. Stuart Hall (1996) describes this process: ...identities are constructed through, not outside difference. This entails the radically disturbing recognition that it is only through the relation to the Other, the relation to what it is not, to precisely what it lacks, to what has been called its constitutive outside that the ‘positive’ meaning of any term – and thus its ‘identity’ — can be constructed. (p. 4) The status or privilege that comes from the construction of certain spaces, categories or subjectivities is dependent upon the subordinate status of another. Despite the relatively recent engagement with feminist intersectional theory in the field of geography, human geographers have made important contributions to our understandings of the relational and co-constitutive production of spaces and subjectivities (Valentine, 2007). Doreen Massey’s work (2005) has been instrumental in shaping our understanding of the relational nature of space and place. She advocates for “a relational politics of the spatial” (p. 147) and describes how this approach encourages us to consider how space is “constituted through interactions from the immensity of the global to the intimately tiny” (2005, p. 9). Massey states that “space does not exist prior to identities/entities and their relations. More generally I would argue that identities/entities, the relations ‘between’ them, the spatiality that is part of them, are all co-constitutive” (p. 10). Importantly, she notes that this understanding of space calls for a politics that responds to a relational view of the world (p. 10). Scholars influenced by Massey’s work, have stressed the multiplicity and  117  relationality of socio-spatial relations of power, emphasizing that space is not static but dynamic, and challenging dualistic and binary conceptualizations of space (e.g. center/margin, core/periphery, urban/rural) (see: Amin, 2004; Anderson, 2000; Howitt, 1998; McDowell, 2004; Springer, 2009). This work sheds light on the way identities are forged in and through socio-spatial relations, as well as the way places are socially, relationally and mutually co-constituted. Richard Howitt (1998) uses the metaphor of the musical scale to explain his conceptualization of scale as relational. He explains how various “scales of analysis might intersect and inform each other”, or in other words, rather than thinking of the size and level of scale to examine “aspects of scale as relation” (p. 56). He urges geographers to “urgently tackle the crucial questions of how to act at multiple scales simultaneously; how to think globally and act locally, at the same time as thinking locally and acting globally (and at other scales simultaneously)” (p. 56). Similarly Kay Anderson (2000) applies a relational framework to study geographies of nation-state building and politics of belonging, in order to move beyond binary thinking about space, identity and entitlement. She argues that processes of nationstate building take shape within and mediate various histories, spaces and scales which “need to be conceived relationally, so as to clarify how the forces of nation building extend and interact across a wide range of surfaces” (p. 386). Anderson suggests that relational geography can help us to “move beyond the binary fixes that inform such stock in-trade dualisms as center and margin, core and periphery, urban and rural, developed and underdeveloped, society and nature” (p. 388). She makes an important connection between this relational turn in geography, and theoretical work within postcolonial and  118  feminist studies, which urges scholars “to study the ‘complex entanglements’ and ‘coexisting multiplicities’ of previously opposed spheres” (p. 388). So while not explicitly naming this approach “interlocking geographies” or “spatial intersectionality”, Anderson acknowledges the similarity between these literatures and the methodological directions they bring forth. I draw inspiration from Anderson, Massey and Howitt’s work and apply their ideas about relational space in this dissertation, to highlight relational geographies of violence that take shape in colonial white settler societies. I also employ these conceptual tools to explore how different struggles for rights (human rights and rights to the city) and anti-violence campaigns are relational, connected and depend on one another. This also involves an analysis of how different forms of violence are related to one another in and through space, and how violence produces space and place (Oikawa, 2002; Razack, 2002; Tyner, 2011). In her examination of the violence of the spaces of the Japanese Internment in Canada, Mona Oikawa (2002) argues that critical geographers of violence must ask what the spaces of violence enable both in the past and in the present (p. 74)? In her work, she explains that “tracing the specific geographies of [violence] of the Internment uncovers both the scale of the violence perpetrated on Japanese Canadians and the microprocesses of power required to accomplish it” (p. 74). In Oikawa’s powerful analysis of testimonies from Japanese-Canadian women survivors and their daughters, she shows how the violent spaces of the incarceration and displacement of Japanese-Canadians produced “a racial social order and a white nation” which “produced and sustained dominant [white] subjects” (p. 73-74). Her critical geography of violence focuses on “re-mapping the  119  spaces of the Internment…to reveal the ideological framework through which Canada was made and the forgetting of violence that is essential to this project of nation-building and the making of citizens” (p. 75). Similar to my theoretical framework, Oikawa illustrates how spaces and subjects were constructed relationally (p. 75) through the social, material and legal processes of racial violence. Inspired by Sherene Razack (2002), Yasmin Jiwani (2006) and Mona Oikawa’s (2002) work, I interrogate both the hegemonic and counter-hegemonic frameworks which mask or erase specific forms of violence and critically examine how spaces and bodies are relational or linked. This involves asking questions about how systems and practices of racism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy for example, “become institutionally normalized in and through spatial configuration” (Goldberg, in Razack, 2002, p. 17). Violence is both a social and spatial practice of control (Tyner, 2011) that has been examined by feminists within different historical, political, social, cultural and geographical contexts. Despite this, there has been limited research within the field of human geography that explores the complexities and relational nature of structural and interpersonal forms of violence. Geographers have examined the geographies of political violence (Gregory & Pred, 2007), geographies of fear, social identity and safety (Kern, 2005; Pain, 2000; Valentine, 1989, 1992), the complexities of privilege and oppression in people’s fear of violence in public and private spaces (Kern, 2005), however there has been less attention to the geographies of interpersonal violence (Tyner, 2011). In Chapter Five I discuss some of this literature in detail (including research by a feminist geographers who have studied the geographies of interpersonal violence in women’s lives) examine the interlocking constructions of public/private violence in lesbian  120  domestic violence discourses. I now turn to a discussion of my approach to data collection, and the methods I used to apply the theoretical framework discussed thus far.  Part Three: Qualitative Research Design and Methods In order to examine my research questions outlined in Part One of this Chapter, I developed a qualitative research design for my study, which examines three thematicallyrelated case studies that emerged from my experiences working as a community antiviolence organizer and educator. I relied on multiple sources of data and used a feminist interlocking approach to discourse analysis combined with authoethnographic accounts and critical self-reflexivity.  Data Collection. Data in qualitative research take many forms. In this study, I collected and analyzed the following data: transcripts from semi-structured individual interviews and a focus group from a previous study, feminist anti-violence pamphlets, a queer violence prevention curriculum, and archival material in the form of print and webbased news articles, a website for an urban development proposal, and a report from a human rights tribunal. The research occurred in three phases and in each phase, I conducted a case study. In the next section I describe the data collected in each case study and following this, I outline my approach to discourse analysis and autoethnography before concluding the chapter with a discussion of strengths and limitations of my approach.  121  Case Studies. Case study research has been a common method in feminist qualitative research and researchers have used different methodological approaches including archival research, interviewing, literary analysis and other methods (Naples, 2003; Reinharz, 1992; Rossiter, 2005). They can be single or multiple case designs. Researchers often select a case to study to illustrate particular theoretical concepts or to analyze details that are often overlooked. Many feminist researchers interested in intersectionality “use the case study method to identify a new or invisible group—at the intersection of multiple categories—and proceed to uncover the differences and complexities of experience embodied in that location” (McCall, 2005, p. 1782). This is often accomplished with additional methodological tools such as deconstruction and critical discourse analysis. Similarly, I use a case study approach combined with feminist interlocking discourse analysis to examine multiple forms of data, which I discuss below. Case study #1: White lesbian/queer anti-violence educators in Vancouver BC. The research discussed in my first empirical chapter, Chapter Five, draws on a secondary analysis of previously collected data. I used multiple research methods including an analysis of three key Canadian educational texts (pamphlets and booklets) and semistructured individual interviews and a focus group with five white, lesbian and queeridentified feminist anti-violence educators who deliver community workshops about violence in women’s same-sex/gender relationships. Given my experience as a queer anti-violence educator, I had a research assistant interview me as well, and the transcript from my individual interview was included as data in my analysis40. I interviewed five  40  Throughout the dissertation, I have used the words “us” “we” and “ourselves” to refer to white lesbian/queers and/or feminists, deliberately including myself as I am not outside the analysis and am implicated in the discussion. In other cases I use “we” when referring to anti-violence activists more broadly but these distinctions are clear in each case.  122  white women although one woman also identified with a specific ethnic identity (not mentioned for reasons of confidentiality). Three women identified as middle-class, one as “mixed-class” and the other as working-class41. This research was conducted in 1999 in Vancouver, British Columbia, a large and diverse urban centre in Canada. Over a decade since the data was collected, the educational practices and conceptual frameworks revealed through this research are still prevalent in North American feminist anti-violence and LGBTQ organizations and constitute a dominant discourse. This is largely due to tight material constraints (lack of funding and subsequent time to develop and change materials and frameworks) as well as investments in maintaining an analysis that reflects and privileges the lives of queer women from socially dominant groups. Secondary data analysis can be described as a method that involves using existing data, collected for the purposes of a prior study, in order to either explore a new theme or issue, or to gain a more in-depth understanding of an issue (Heaton, 2003). In my case, I conducted a secondary analysis of data, as a way to deepen and extend my understanding and analysis of a specific theme in the data that had been underdeveloped in the previous study. The goal was to explore and examine themes related to conceptualizations of public/private forms of violence and to apply a spatial framework informed by literature in cultural geography. I completed this secondary analysis prior to conducting research on the other two empirical objects of my study (discussed in Chapters Six and Seven). By carrying out a secondary analysis first, I was able to identify key themes and problems that I could  41  Further discussion of the methods used in this previous study (i.e. participant selection, interview process, data analysis) can be found in: Holmes (2000).  123  examine in greater detail in subsequent research. The following themes were identified through the secondary analysis and they helped to set the direction and priorities for my remaining two case studies: i) the presence of a white settler mythology in feminist and queer anti-violence discourses; ii) the discursive production of homonormativity and its relationship to whiteness; iii) the relationship between violence and spaces conceptualized as public/private. Case study #2: “Healthy Queer Relationships Curriculum” in Vancouver BC. In my second empirical chapter (Chapter Six), the source of data is a queer violence prevention curriculum “Healthy Queer Relationships for Women” produced by the Safe Choices: Support and Education Program (EVA, 2007). Given that I was involved in the development and delivery of this curriculum in Vancouver BC, I also include a personal narrative reflecting on my experiences as an educator, curriculum developer and activist within this program. Case study #3: Kelowna’s Lesbian and Gay Pride Day and The LGBT AntiViolence Project. The third empirical chapter (Chapter Seven) relies on archival data collected from print and web-based news media (news articles, editorials and letters to the editor), a website for an urban development proposal, and a report from a BC Human Rights Tribunal surrounding Kelowna’s 1996-1997 Lesbian and Gay Pride Day. I also include autoethnographic accounts of my personal experiences as the co-coordinator and educator with a provincial LGBTQ anti-violence project in BC as part of the context of this case study. I reviewed and examined a large research file on the Kelowna Pride Day case housed in the UBC Okanagan library collection that contains archival data collected by  124  Okanagan University College (now UBC Okanagan) students, faculty and librarians. This included: original and photocopied newspaper articles, letters to the editor and editorials, copies of the 1996 City Proclamation, and a booklet from the 1996 Pride Day celebration produced by the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition. I also relied on database searches with the “Canadian Newsstand” database and a Google search of websites, using the terms and phrases, “Kelowna Pride Day”, “Walter Gray”, “Kelowna Human Rights Tribunal” and “Okanagan Rainbow Coalition”. For the news media analysis, I reviewed relevant news reports, articles, editorials and letters to the editor from the following news sources: The Daily Courier, and The Capital News, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Okanagan Sunday, The Oliver Chronicle, The Nanaimo Daily News, Trail Times, The Prince George Citizen, Times Colonist, The Toronto Star, The New York Times, Alberta Report, Xtra West, CBC, BC Christian News and the website Although I did not analyze discourses within all of these sources, I collected and reviewed other relevant data as part of my research and this included the following: the video “untitled part 4: terra incognita” produced and written by Jayce Salloum and the Okanagan Nation (2005) for Kelowna’s Centennial Celebrations; the script for the play “The Orchard Drive” by Christopher Grignard (2002) which is based on this case and is set in Kelowna in 1997 at the time of a protest in response to Mayor Gray’s actions; a booklet from the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition (1996); a memorandum on sexual orientation and human rights law in British Columbia produced and published by the Canadian Human Rights Reporter (2000); news articles and a report on the results of survey by the Indigo Spirit of Awareness Society (2007) about the safety of gay and  125  lesbian youth in the Central Okanagan; and Kelowna tourism and real estate advertisements. I also reviewed two other research files from UBC Okanagan library which included newspaper articles, editorials and letters to the editor from the time period I am examining, on the following themes: i) Racism in the Okanagan and ii) Aboriginal issues in the Okanagan. I also relied on secondary sources to contextualize my primary data sources, including Sharon Dale Stone’s “Lesbians, Gays and The Press: Covering Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in Kelowna, 1996” (2001) and Mary-Woo Simms’ “Human Rights in British Columbia” (2002).42 In this case study I also include autoethnographic accounts of my experiences living in Kelowna from 2005-2007 and as the co-coordinator and educator with The LGBT Anti-Violence Project: Creating Strong and Safe Communities from 2004-2005 — a partnership between the Ending Violence Association of BC (formerly known as the BC Association of Specialized Victim Assistance and Counselling Programs) and Qmmunity (formerly known as The Centre, A Community Centre Serving and Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual People and Their Allies), funded by the Government of Canada’s National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC) and Victim Services Division (VSD), BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The project focused on community development and education, and was not a research project. As such, in this research study I do not include direct quotes from participants but rather include general information shared by LGBTQ participants from the Roundtable Forum, which took place in Kelowna. Participants were aware that there would be widespread dissemination of information gathered through this project and agreed to this with the  42  Stone is the former event coordinator of the 1996 Pride Day celebration by the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition and Simms is the former Chief Commissioner of the BC Human Rights Commission.  126  understanding that identities would be protected. Information was shared with federal and provincial funders and policy makers, as well as participants from all three communities. A summary report was shared publicly. The project did not collect demographic data about the roundtable participants.43  Data Analysis. To analyze the data in each of the three case studies, I used a feminist interlocking approach to discourse analysis. Discourse analysis is an active process of “developing, testing out and justifying interpretations and readings of texts” (Wetherell & Potter, 1992, p. 105). Lawrence Berg (2009) has summarized seven key methodological approaches to discourse analysis within human geography, and I have applied all of these in my study to varying degrees. They are: i) suspending pre-existing categories and critical reflexivity; ii) absorbing oneself in the texts; iii) coding themes; iv) identifying regimes of truth; v) identifying inconsistencies (paradoxes and contradictions); vi) identifying absent presences; vii) identifying social contexts and how power operates through discourse to produce certain subject positions. A feminist interlocking approach to discourse analysis situates the data within its socio-political, spatial and historical contexts and critically examines the dominant categories and taken-for-granted assumptions that may be at work. I examined how 43  The final summary report about the three communities stated it was “challenging to get diverse representation of LGBT community members on the planning committees and at the roundtable forums – particularly in some communities, gay men, trans people, older and younger people, people of colour and Aboriginal people” (Holmes & Toppings, 2005, n.p.). It also noted that “accessibility and violence impacting LGBT people with disabilities were not addressed in this project due to funding limitations and further work is needed to do outreach to LGBT people living with disabilities” (Holmes & Toppings, 2005, n.p.). Class identities and economic oppression were not discussed in the report, although in some communities participants spoke about the impact of poverty or limited access to employment. The summary report noted that “some Two-Spirit women, youth, older gay men and lesbians, trans people and bisexuals participated in the roundtables” (Holmes & Toppings, 2005, n.p.). While demographic information was not colleted, my assessment was that the majority of participants were white, able-bodied, cigender lesbians and gay men.  127  discourses, categories, subjectivities and systems of oppression come into being through one another, and interrogate how discourses reinforce and rely on one another. I examined the relational nature of binary categories in the data to examine how meanings are produced, for example what a category excludes and how the exclusion is implicated in the category (Hall, 1997). As discussed earlier, feminist researchers often use methodological tools such as discourse analysis, deconstruction, a critique of universalizing narratives and essentialist constructs for identifying the processes by which certain stories and bodies come to be missing in texts and the implications of these erasures or exclusions. Similarly, in my data analysis I have paid attention to erasures, gaps and exclusions, but with a specific interest in what is made im/possible and in/visible through queer and feminist discourses that are constructed as emancipatory and “inclusive,” such as feminist and queer antiviolence and human rights discourses. In analyzing the collected data discussed above, I primarily paid attention to repetitive themes. I looked not only at the content of talk and text, but at the meanings associated with words and phrases bringing specific attention to the way these construct or disrupt normative ideas, practices and subject positions (Gough & Robertson, 2011). I read the texts with a critical lens examining how neoliberal, white/hetero/homo/middleclass and colonial norms are reproduced or disrupted through various discursive practices. I read the texts numerous times, noting repetitive words, phrases and themes. I tried to be mindful of silences and contradictions, which revealed insights into the productive nature of discourse and the operations of power.  128  Research Journal. My approach also embraces a critical self-reflexive stance that has allowed for reshaping my research design and analysis based on the things I have learned through the research process (Lather, 1991; Ristock & Pennell, 1996). I kept a reflexive research journal throughout the research process, which provided a place where I raised questions, grappled with epistemological and ontological questions, and clarified my research questions and design. I re-read the journal throughout the research process, paying specific attention to questions and themes that were repeated. The journal helped me to clarify the theoretical framework and methods most appropriate for my research, and at times also prompted me to shift my approach in new directions. I now turn to a discussion of literature on the use of personal experience in research, including autoethnography and critical self-reflexivity. 44  Autoethnography and Personal Narratives. In each of the case studies in this project, (discussed in Chapters Five, Six and Seven) I combine autoethnographic accounts with discourse analysis. Autoethnography can be understood as one product of the “crisis of representation” in the social sciences in the 1980s, where critics within anthropology and other disciplines, argued that ethnographers did not simply describe or reflect culture, but were producing it (Lather, 2007; Gregory et al., 2009). Autoethnographers reflect on “their own life circumstances as a way to understand larger social or cultural phenomena, and who often use personal narrative writing as a  44  I also discuss autoethnography in more detail in Chapter Seven.  129  representational strategy that incorporates affect and emotion into their analyses” (Butz & Bessio, 2009, p. 1665).45 Feminist researchers have developed numerous creative and innovative approaches to study personal experiences. In doing so they challenge a positivist ideology and disrupt binaries such as theory/praxis, subject/object, researcher/researched and personal/political (Naples, 2003; Reinharz, 1992; Ristock & Pennell, 1998). “Personal experience narrative” describes the practice where “social scientists take on the dual identities of academic and personal selves to tell autobiographical stories about some aspect of their experience in daily life” (Ellis & Bochner, 2000, p. 740). However simply sharing personal experiences is not an effective research tool on its own. Engaging in critical self-reflexive analysis of one’s experience and placing this within the wider sociohistorical context and relevant literature, is crucial. Feminist, Indigenous, critical race and queer theorists stress the importance of conscious and critical self-reflexivity in the research process in order to address issues of power, complicity and accountability (Holman-Jones & Adams, 2010; Naples, 2003; Reinharz, 1992; Ristock & Pennell, 1998; Smith, 2005). They were some of the first researchers to advocate for the use of personal narratives in their research and to value the positionality of “insiders” in the research process or narrative (Smith, 2005). Sharon Holman-Jones and Tony Adams (2010) position autoethnography as a queer research method drawing attention to “autoethnography’s and queer theory’s commitments to uncertain, fluid, and becoming subjectivities, multiple forms of knowledge and representations, and research as an agent of change” (p. 108). 45  It is an increasingly common research method in the social sciences and humanities (including cultural geography) and takes various forms (Butz & Besio, 2009; England, 1994; Holman Jones & Adams, 2010, 2011).  130  In my research, I use autoethnographic accounts and critical self-reflection to draw attention to the fact that I am part of the group(s) and issues studied (albeit in multiple ways), and I use this positioning to deepen the study. This approach enables me to examine how I am positioned relationally as a researcher within and across discourses of safety/violence, belonging/un-belonging, inclusion/exclusion, privilege/marginalization and complicity/accountability. It also highlights contradictions and tensions within stories, and resists neat and tidy conclusions. Feminist and other critical social science researchers have debated the benefits and complexities of “insider research,” a term that refers to research practiced by researchers who study the population or socio-spatial circumstance they are part of and “use their insiderness as a methodological and interpretive tool” (Butz & Busio, 2009, p. 1669). This approach has been used frequently by marginalized groups to foreground experiences that have been silenced and to challenge grand narratives. However the insider/outsider binary does not reflect the complexities of subjectivities and sets up a false separation between these identities and experiences. These are not fixed or static positions but are “ever-shifting and permeable social locations” (Naples, 2003, p. 49) and individuals may be multiply positioned within the research context in multiple ways as both insiders and outsiders (Hill-Collins, 1986; Smith, 2005). The limits of reflexivity have been discussed amongst critical researchers (Lather, 2007; Pillow, 2005). Personal narratives, autoethnographic accounts and self-reflexivity in social science research have been criticized by some as narcisstic confessional approaches, or “vanity ethnography (van Maanen in Lather, 2007), which can miss the productive nature of narratives, and lead to depoliticized and simplistic analyses (Pillow,  131  2005; Lather, 2007). Many scholars stress the need for critical self-reflexivity and attention to power relations and the representational practices when using personal narratives. A central goal in my research has been to critically reflect on anti-violence work that I have been a part of and to re-think some of the pedagogical and discursive strategies that we have developed. Thus, throughout my research I have worked to bring a critical lens to my use of personal narrative and autoethnography. Finally, in the next (and last) section of this chapter I discuss the strengths and limitations of my methodological approach.  Part Four: Strengths and Limitations of Methodological Approach One of the strengths of my methodology is my interdisciplinary and interlocking approach, which draws on theoretical tools from the disciplines of Sociology, Social Work, Women’s Studies and Human Geography. An interdisciplinary approach supports researchers in addressing complex questions that cannot easily or successfully be addressed within the boundaries of a single discipline. For this reason, it works well with an interlocking analytic which recognizes the simultaneity and relationality of different systems of oppression. For my research, I sought to answer questions about the way different forms of violence and social-spatial hierarchies come into being through one another and this kind of project requires the tools from different disciplines to examine the way socio-economic, political, discursive and spatial processes work together. As well, by bringing different literatures into conversation with one another, my approach opens up new directions for research and practice within social movements. In addressing the strengths and limitations of interdisciplinary research, Sherene Razack (2002)  132  acknowledges that “borrowing from a variety of disciplines increases the risk that something of the depth of these scholarly projects will be lost” (Razack, 2002, p. 7). Yet, she also rejects the boundaries created by different disciplines noting that If there is anything we have learned about racial projects is that they come into being and are sustained through a wide number of practices, both material and symbolic. The study of the creation of racial hierarchies demands nothing less than the tools of history, sociology, geography, education and law among other domains of knowledge. (p. 7) So while my research may lack the exhaustiveness of a project that is solely based within one discipline (such as geography or social work for example), it is definitely enhanced and strengthened by interdisciplinary tools. There are strengths and limitations with my interlocking approach. I critique additive approaches, binary categories, neoliberal diversity discourses and the mainstreaming of intersectionality, for the way they keep racialized, classed, sexual and gendered forms of normativity intact (Ward, 2008). I underscore the relational and interlocking nature of systems of oppression attending to the way they produce subjectivities, spaces and bodies in symbiotic and hierarchical ways (Razack, 2008). While I embrace a feminist framework that views race, class, gender, sexuality, disability and age as interlocking systems, this study primarily focuses on sexuality and race. I critically reflect on classed and gendered socio-spatial relations, but this is not discussed to the same extent as race and sexuality. A critical trans feminist analysis of gender, transphobia and cisnormativity weaves throughout the research but is not central in all chapters. I do not critically examine the production of disability and ableist discourses in  133  LGBTQ and feminist anti-violence organizing or in the production of spaces, which represents a gap. A strength of the study is my use of multiple forms of data and case studies. My use of multiple data sources in this project enhanced data credibility. Conducting a secondary analysis of interview and focus group data collected for a previous project, allowed me to extend and deepen a spatial framework and examine issues not fully explored in the earlier project. Analyzing discursive practices within a violence prevention curriculum that I developed and delivered, archival data (newspaper and online media accounts, reports from a tribunal), and combined with autoethnographic accounts offers a many-sided look at the framing of violence within queer anti-violence movements. The local focus of this study (i.e. three case studies from British Columbia) can be seen as both a strength and a limitation. It is a strength in that it focuses on the specificity of certain spaces and time. There is also limited research that looks at Canadian (and British Columbian) anti-violence and social movement organizing and my research responds to this gap. It might be argued that the findings are not transferable due to the localized nature of the knowledge produced. However I argue that the findings are relevant beyond the specific location and time, are applicable to multiple feminist / queer sites of social justice organizing and movements. My analysis of white homonormativity is also applicable to other spaces dominated by white queers/feminists or organized through white normative frameworks, as well as other health promotion sites and social movements impacted by neoliberalism in their work to address violence and social inequities.  134  It could be argued that the secondary data analysis is a limitation because it draws on data collected in 1999. However as I discuss in Chapter Five, I argue that this represents a dominant or hegemonic discourse that is still prevalent in community organizing today. While there is evidence of some change and a greater range of discourses in some community contexts, my analysis about the public/private dichotomy and white homonormativity is very relevant in the current context in British Columbia. Similarly, in Chapter Seven I bring together data from different time periods to examine the contested and imaginary geographies of violence and belonging in Kelowna. An additional strength of the research includes bringing an insider position to the research where I analyzed documents, interviews/focus groups, and personal experiences in anti-violence movements. Some might perceive this as a limitation arguing that as the researcher I am “too close” to the material and unable to maintain an “objective” stance. I challenge these assumptions arguing instead that my approach produces “socially situated knowledge” which provides a “strong objectivity” in research (Harding, 1991, p. 152). Sandra Harding’s (1991) argument challenges positivist approaches that claim neutrality in knowledge production and that ignore the role of social location, power relations and the cultural assumptions that shape one’s perspective. Instead she states that “strong objectivity requires that we investigate the relation between subject and object rather than deny the existence of, or seek unilateral control over, this relation” (p. 152). At the same time, I recognize the partiality of this study and the way I am telling certain stories and not others. My analysis might not be shared by others within the anti-violence organizations and social movements that I reflect on. This dissertation is theoretically driven and this is both a strength and limitation.  135  One of my strengths as a scholar is my interest in and ability to theorize complex and interconnected ideas and concepts. Some might argue that a limitation is the somewhat dense and repetitive nature of this theorizing. Some theoretical concepts are re-introduced in different chapters to address the thematic and ideological connections between the case studies. As well, there is a tendency for some ideas to repeat themselves across chapters. This was partly shaped by a contextual factor where a UBC policy change regarding dissertation format demanded a restructuring and re-writing many of the chapters. The research focuses on an analysis of texts. The validity of the results would have been increased if I had included other data sources such as participant observation, interviews with a much larger sample and/or quantitative survey data. I have not relied on extensive ethnographic material, which would have highlighted greater complexities and would have given a more nuanced and complex representation of issues explored. For example, the absence of ethnographic data related to Kelowna’s 1996-1997 Pride Day could be seen as a limitation. I am aware that some complexities may be lost by not including the voices of activists and residents of the city. Similarly, a theme that emerged through this study is the racial and class dynamics of power within feminist and LGBTQ movement organizations and a limitation in the study is the absence of ethnographic data highlighting the voices and experiences of Two-Spirit people and LGBTQ people of colour and working-class queers. It has thus been important for me to acknowledge throughout the dissertation that my research tells a partial story, framed through my eyes and my personal experience, as well as media accounts, which are also (always) partial. It has been also important to bring forward the theoretical contributions of queers of colour and Two-Spirit people from which my theoretical framework is inspired.  136  Throughout my research I have sought to ensure that my research process has integrity and value. As Janice Ristock and Joan Pennell (1996) note, the concept of validity in feminist postmodern research refers to the “integrity and value of the research” and this is “achieved through accountability both to the participants and to those who will be affected by the outcome” (p. 50). In this research project, I have experienced this as a tension. For example, in all three case studies I draw on personal experiences and autoethnographic accounts and in some cases, such as the Healthy Queer Relationships Curriculum, I critically analyze discourses embedded within materials that I helped to develop and deliver in community-based feminist organizations. My goal has been to critically analyze discourses and practices with specific interest in the making visible the normative and hegemonic discourses reproduced within them (as well as the way they were contested and disrupted). In some cases, this has meant uncovering oppressive uses of power such as heteronormative, racist or classist practices (Ristock & Pennell, 1996, p. 50). It has also involved reflecting on, and writing about, issues that were contested and in some cases unspoken or what Foucault (1981) called “forbidden speech” (p. 55). There were times during the research process, when I was worried that my former colleagues and peers would disagree with my analysis or my goals. In writing about these challenges within feminist research, Ristock and Pennell (1996) argue that it is important that the researcher make their own critical analysis visible and not hide it from the participants. In my case this meant asking myself throughout the research process about its integrity and value. I wrote about these quandaries in my research journal and this helped me to ensure that I addressed partialities and complexities when writing up the results in the chapters. I have published  137  some of this dissertation research (see Preface) and I have shared copies and links to the publications with some individuals in community organizations. During my time working in the feminist and LGBTQ anti-violence movement, at times I have experienced a resistance by white and middle-class colleagues to embrace a spirit of critical self-reflection and discuss questions of complicity. Specifically, I have found it difficult to find other white feminists and queers who are willing and open to engage in critical dialogue about white supremacy, homonormativity, racism and colonialism. A strength of my research is my critical self-reflexive autoethnographic approach, commitment to social justice activism, interesting in pushing the boundaries of our thinking within social movements (including my own). However I am aware that this focus may not fully show or highlight the significant work these community organizations have done. In this Chapter I have outlined the interdisciplinary conceptual framework and methodological tools that I have used to explore discourses in queer anti-violence movements. The theories outlined here informed my research design and approach to data analysis. In the following Chapter, I examine the public/private dichotomy in lesbian domestic violence educational discourses where I apply an interlocking spatial framework to destabilize white homonormative practices within feminist and queer antiviolence movements.  138  Chapter Five: Destabilizing Homonormativity and the Public/Private Dichotomy in Lesbian Domestic Violence Discourses Over the past twenty years in North America, community-based educational materials and workshops have been developed as common feminist approaches to addressing violence in lesbian relationships. As practical tool they have been helpful in disrupting many heteronormative assumptions about violence in intimate relationships thus raising awareness about this form of violence within lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and amongst heterosexual family members, friends and service providers. This chapter explores the discursive constructions about violence and the public/private dichotomy within educational pamphlets and workshops with a focus on making visible what they produce and obscure. I investigate how certain stories and constructs make visible (and produce) some subjectivities, forms of violence and histories of oppression while concealing or suppressing others. A central tenet of the dominant Western feminist discourse about violence against women is that intimate relationship violence is hidden through the construct of privacy of the domestic sphere of the heterosexual home. The term “domestic violence” (although not universally applied) also conveys the idea that intimate relationship violence occurs in private in the home. While there are differences between the dominant discourses about domestic violence in heterosexual and same-sex/gender relationships, both rely on this assumption about hidden violence in the privacy of the home. In this chapter I explore the racialized exclusions in the public/private dichotomy in community-based educational discourses about lesbian domestic violence. I examine how the public/private  139  dichotomy masks how the construction of each space, and the violence within them, depend on one another. As I discussed in Chapter One, for four decades Western feminist anti-violence activists and theorists have disrupted hegemonic assumptions about violence and public/private spaces. They have contested the notion of the home (private sphere) as a place of safety and support for women and the street (public sphere) as a place of danger and the primary site of violence against women (McDowell, 1999; Pain, 1991; Warrington, 2001), by showing the high prevalence rates of violence against women perpetrated by someone known (most often an intimate partner) and the greater risks of experiencing violence in the home than on the street (Pain, 1991). This chapter contributes to this literature, but argues that while this conceptualization has been politically effective and salient for some women, it has produced another “regime of truth” (Foucault, 1980) that makes it difficult to see or imagine certain forms of violence enacted on certain bodies, thereby making it difficult to understand the way different forms of violence sustain one another. For example, certain forms of violence, such as the very public violence of colonialism and nation building, are normalized as something other than violence and thus erased or made invisible (Jiwani, 2006; Razack, 2002). I assert that the mobilization of certain analytical frameworks and discursive strategies within feminist and queer anti-violence movements, support this central feature of a white settler mythology — the denial and “disavowal of conquest, genocide, slavery, and the exploitation of the labour of peoples of colour” (Razack, 2002, p. 2). The dominant feminist analysis of domestic violence has focused on the private oppression of white, middle-class heterosexual women in the home and has ignored the public forms of  140  violence that shape the lives of women of colour, Indigenous women, poor women, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, as well as how systemic and intimate forms of violence intersect and interlock (Almeida et al., 1994; Bhattacharjee, 2001; Critical Resistance & Incite!, 2003; Jiwani, 2006). I argue that the ideological scripting of domestic violence as private and domestic makes it hard to recognize certain forms of violence on certain bodies, as violence. While maintaining a steady gaze on lesbian domestic violence discourse, my analysis about the public/private dichotomy applies also to a feminist heterosexual domestic violence discourse and the way multiple forms of violence in the lives of women of colour, Indigenous women, low-income and poor women, young women, transgender women, and sex trade workers are erased through hegemonic frameworks. In this chapter, I am extending the work of scholars who have exposed this universality to highlight a spatial analysis and to problematize the way white homonormativity is produced through discourses that are positioned as liberatory or oppositional. Although I recognize race, class, gender, sexuality and disability as interlocking categories, this chapter focuses specifically on processes of racialization and the way whiteness structures lesbian abuse education. Whiteness produces differently classed subjects and “is not a monolithic construct and does not hold the same level of power and prestige in all its embodiments” (Lopez, 2005, p. 18). I focus here on the way whiteness is produced in homonormative discourses to highlight “the extent to which whiteness as a concept remains wedded to cultural imperatives that have historically been complicit in the oppression, colonization and outright genocide of nonwhite peoples the world over” (Lopez, 2005, p. 18).  141  Context of Educational Discourses Feminist educational discourses about lesbian IPV emerged — in the United States in the late 1970s to early 1980s and in Canada in the mid-to-late 1980s. Lesbian/bisexual-specific anti-violence initiatives exist in only a few major cities in North America within a context of tight material constraints. Some domestic violence organizations and LGBTQ organizations in large urban centres have provided support, advocacy and outreach initiatives and public education campaigns including the development of pamphlets, manuals and websites. Until recently most community education in Canada has been funded through short-term grants and mostly on a part-time basis.46 Pedagogical approaches to address the violence have been developed as both practical tool and political strategy, and have appeared five main forms, i) pamphlets and booklets, 2) support and education groups (primarily for survivors), 3) web-based materials, 4) service provider workshops or training sessions, and 5) curriculum and training manuals for workshop facilitators/trainers. They are directed at three main audiences: i) LGBTQ communities;47 ii) feminist anti-violence counsellors and advocates; and iii) social service and health care providers and criminal justice system  46  Recent exceptions are the Safe Choices Program in Vancouver funded by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Coalition Against Same-Sex Partner Abuse in Toronto funded by the Ontario Ministry of Attorney General. The state frequently funds organizations dominated by white, middle-class professionals to do outreach to immigrant women, women of colour and Aboriginal women rather than providing ongoing core funding to these communities directly (Shin, 1991). These state practices and hierarchical social relations affect the production of knowledge — such as who is funded, hired, published, and whose analysis is legitimized. 47 Most educational work has focused primarily (or exclusively) on lesbian identity, although the late 1990s saw efforts to shift the language and analytical framework to include women who identify as bisexual, queer, Two-Spirit, and/or transgender, or who do not claim any of these identities. Although most materials are not directed towards transgender communities, some recent educational materials have tried to be transinclusive. As stated earlier, there are also debates within communities about the strengths and limitations with a LGBTQ model that can problematically conflate gender identity and sexual orientation.  142  personnel. Short training workshops usually incorporate an anti-homophobia component (Lobel, 1986; Elliot, 1990; Balan, Chorney & Ristock, 1995) and in some cases are part of a larger anti-oppression training.48 Over the last twenty years, a dominant discourse about violence in lesbian relationships has developed drawing on feminist heterosexual domestic violence discourses. Although not unified, static or stable, it can be seen in educational materials and workshops. It is not that this is the only discourse, but rather that power moves through discourses and that hierarchical power relations affect which knowledge is legitimized and positioned as “truth,” or subjugated and obscured. Tensions and points of rupture in the dominant lesbian domestic violence discourse can sometimes be heard in workshops, public forums, conferences and organizing committees and more recently can be seen in some web, print and workshop material (for example, Chen, Dulani & Piepzna-Samarasinha, 2011; Chung & Lee, 2002; Koyama, 2006; Northwest Network, 2006; Queer People of Color Caucus, 2004; Ristock, 2002; Ristock & Timbang, 2005; EVA, 2007). These often speak to how essentialist (and at times biological) constructions of “lesbian” and “woman” marginalize bisexual women and transgender people, and how racialized assumptions keep whiteness at the centre and miss the multiple forms of violence in the lives of queer women of colour and Indigenous women. As I discussed in Chapters One and Two, many scholars and activists have disrupted this grand narrative and have stressed the importance of expanding and deepening feminist anti-violence frameworks beyond a one-size-fits-all model, and to address the interlocking nature of interpersonal and state violence, and the relational 48  Although workshops range anywhere in length from two hours to two days, most last from three to five hours.  143  geographies of violence in the lives of people marginalized by race, class, sexuality, gender and ability. In doing so, we must deconstruct the false dichotomy between structural and interpersonal violence or spaces constructed as public and private. Some scholars have specifically identified their use of a spatial analysis drawing on theoretical tools from feminist and critical geography to examine violence against women. These scholars have explored the social construction of violence (Pain, 1991; Valentine, 1989, 1992), the links between spatial constructions, identity and fear of violence (Pain, 1991, 2000), the construction of public spaces as dangerous (Valentine, 1992), the relationship between identity and space in acts of gendered racial violence (Razack, 2002), heterosexual male violence against women in the home (Pain, 1997; Price, 2002; Valentine, 1992; Warrington, 2001) and the multiple meanings of home for immigrant women experiencing violence (Bhattacharjee, 1997). Although there are some references to different axes of identity, most of this work has not integrated an analysis of race or an analysis of the relational nature of violence in public and private spaces (with the exception of: Almeida et al., 2004; Bhattacharjee, 1997; Duncan, 1996; Pain, 1991, 2001; Razack, 2002). As well, some feminist geographers have argued that the home is the primary site of violence against women (Pain, 1991; Warrington, 2001). As I argued earlier, while advancing this feminist analysis has been important in challenging the notion that the violence takes place primarily in public spaces such as the street and is perpetrated by strangers — it has multiple effects, one of which has been the production of hegemonic norms and the re-centring of whiteness.  144  Theorizing the Public/Private Dichotomy The public/private dichotomy represents ideological divisions, which are fluid and shifting in time and space. Linda McDowell (1999) has rightly pointed out, “a focus on the social relations within a domestic space crosses the boundary between the private and the public, between the particular and the general, and is not, as is often incorrectly asserted, a focus on the ‘merely’ domestic or private sphere” (p. 72-73).While others have also asserted the blurry division between public and private spheres and that these spaces are not unrelated (Bhattacharjee, 1997; Boyd, 1997; MacKinnon, 1989; Pain, 2001), this spatial dichotomy continues to shape how we think about violence and our responses to it. When violence against women is assumed to occur only in the home, “other forms of violence are conceptually erased” (Price, 2002, p. 41). Emphasizing the way public and private spaces are not fixed but fluid and shifting, has been important to a number of theorists; for example showing the way spaces can be rearticulated to disrupt hegemonic norms, such as heterosexing of space (Valentine, 1996) or the way spaces are multiply signified, such as for domestic workers, or for immigrants whose consciousnesses are shaped by migration (Bhattacharjee, 1997). Feminist and queer geographers have theorized about the spatial construction and multiple meanings of home (Bhattacharjee, 1997; Johnston & Valentine, 1995; McDowell, 1999; Price, 2002; Rose, 1993; Valentine, 1993; Warrington, 2001; Westwood, 1997). This has contributed to a more nuanced perspective than that of the initial, and usually masculinist, work by human geographers who first drew attention to the spatial dimension of the home (Warrington, 2001). The home is more than a physical space and is socially constructed with symbolic meaning across time and space  145  (McDowell, 1999). As discussed earlier some feminists have deconstructed the masculinist notion of home as safety and comfort to show how the home is gendered and a site of unequal, and at times dangerous, relations for women and children (Warrington ,2001). Others have in turn challenged the idea of the home as a primary site of oppression for women noting the significance of the home (and family) as a site of resistance to societal racism for African-American women in the USA (Duncan, 1997; hooks, 1991) and Black women in Britain (Westwood, 1997). Rachel Pain (2001) has noted that the notion of home as site of oppression “applies most specifically to white middle-class women who have entered the labour force in large numbers from the mid20th century onwards” (p. 132). Lynda Johnston and Gill Valentine’s (1995) research explores the multiple meanings of home for lesbians where the heterosexual parental home is often a site of surveillance and invisibility, and where this surveillance and lack of privacy from “the parental gaze” restricts expression of one’s sexual/gender identity and creates tension for lesbians in the home (p. 100). Their research is important for showing the heterosexing of the home, the threat of homophobic domestic violence from heterosexual family members and the resistance strategies lesbians employ in this context. It also emphasizes the importance of lesbians creating their own homes where they can visibly express their identity and creating different kinds of homes such as communal houses and community networks of private lesbian homes. They articulate how a homophobic and heterosexist social and familial context can create isolation and contribute to an insular nature in some lesbian relationships, which “can give one the power to control or dominate the other,  146  especially if one women is just ‘coming out’ or has less experience of a lesbian lifestyle than the other” (Valentine, 1995, p. 110). 49 The notion of privacy of the home has also been criticized by anti-racist theorists who have noted that “the private-public dichotomy is not a real opposition; the public intervenes in the private world of the family and none more so than in the case of Black families subjected to specific forms of state intervention which often break up Black families” (Westwood, 1997, p. 173; see also Almeida, 1994; Russo, 2001). Similarly the moral and state regulation of poor single mothers has been documented showing the pervasive and intrusive state intervention in their domestic lives (Little, 1998). White and middle-class Western feminist constructions of domestic violence, as something that takes place in the privacy of the home and receiving little attention or response from the state, have been critiqued by anti-racist and anti-poverty scholars who have emphasized that much of the private lives of people of colour, Indigenous people, poor people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is “neither affirmed nor protected by institutions in our society” (Almeida, et al., 1994, p. 105; see also Russo, 2001). Anannya Bhattarchjee (1997, 2001), Rhea Almedia (1994), Jennifer Koshan (1997), Andrea Smith (2005), and others have challenged the myth of “the state’s non-intervention in the private sphere” (p. 89-90) arguing that there is a large amount of state regulation in domestic spaces of the family and home and that it is those who most transgress the normative model of family (white, middle-class, heterosexual) that are most heavily regulated. The state takes an active role in determining the legitimacy of families. This  49  These kinds of relations were confirmed in Janice Ristock’s (2002) research, where she found that more than half of the women she interviewed had been abused in their first lesbian relationship, and many spoke of a similar dynamic to the one that Johnston and Valentine (1995) describe.  147  analysis is important in thinking about how domestic violence is constructed as private or hidden in the home. Some research has illustrated how space and place is heterosexualized (Bell & Valentine, 1995; Duncan, 1996; Valentine, 1996). The moral and social regulation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people by the state highlights the way private lives are also public. Speaking to this point (in the context of violence in lesbian relationships) Mary Eaton (1994) notes, the notion that a lesbian’s home is her castle, so to speak, and consequently, that state respect for lesbian privacy instills or reinforces battering lesbians’ sense of entitlement to abuse their partners is fanciful at best….the state has no obligation to observe boundaries separating public from private when it comes to ‘homosexuality.’ (p. 214) Eaton argues that privacy is an inadequate conceptual device for analyzing samesex/gender abuse where gay and lesbian people’s experiences of violence traverse the public/private divide and where the state continues to regulate non-normative forms of sexuality. By looking at the work of scholars who destabilize the dichotomy by examining the way race, class, sexuality and gender interlock and shape the conceptualization and production of public and private spaces, we can see that the lives of some women have always been public lives and that they are frequently denied the privilege of privacy through constant scrutiny, regulation and violence (Almedia et al., 1994; Razack 1998; Russo, 2001). Additionally, specific social relations that occur within and outside different spaces contribute to how they are conceptualized and experienced as either  148  public or private. For example as discussed above, racism, colonialism, classism and economic regulation can in effect make the space of the home (commonly understood as private), public through scrutiny and surveillance. This highlights the relational nature of space.  Public/Private Dichotomy in Lesbian Partner Abuse Pamphlets and Booklets I have illustrated elsewhere, in an examination of three frequently used Canadian educational pamphlets and booklets about lesbian abuse, that the central figure presented in the dominant discourse is a woman whose life is structured primarily by her sexuality and her private experiences of violence (Holmes & Ristock 2004).50 The texts examined are: Abuse in Lesbian Relationships: A Handbook of Information and Resources by Laurie Chesley, Donna MacAuley, and Janice Ristock (1991); Assisting Abused Lesbians: A Guide for Health Professionals and Service Providers by Cheryl Champagne, Ruth Lapp, and Laurie Lee (1994); and Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Are Relationship Dangerous? Published by the University of British Columbia (UBC) (n.d.). Although produced in the 1990s, all three represent a dominant discourse reflected in community-based practices today. Two of these texts (Chesley, MacAuley & Ristock, 1992; Champagne, Lapp & Lee, 1994), are currently used in organizations in Canada over a decade later and are readily available from and cited by government sources (Health Canada, Department of Justice) and numerous websites on violence against women and women’s health. In these texts, essentialist constructions of sexual and gender identity are reinforced without references to bisexual or transgender identities. As well, lesbian 50  This section draws on my work in Holmes (2000) and Holmes and Ristock (2004).  149  identity is often structured around whiteness with the use of additive approaches to discussing multiple identities and oppressions. “Lesbian” is used to refer to white lesbians although never explicitly identified as such. In the following example, an additive approach secures whiteness as the invisible centre: “Lesbians have to face not only the sexist culture, but also a homophobic one as well. Lesbians of colour must face sexism, heterosexism and racism” (UBC, n.d.). Whiteness is concealed as neutral throughout two of the texts (Chesley et al., 1991; UBC, n.d.). Although all three texts refer to multiple systems of oppression, the social context of violence in lesbian relationships is primarily described as patriarchy and heterosexism. One booklet discusses internalized patriarchy, heterosexism and homophobia as part of the causes and the effects of abuse (Chesley et al., 1991, p. 5, p. 11). Two argue that heterosexism and homophobia affect everyone – heterosexual, gay or lesbian (Champagne et al., 1994, p. 4-5; Chesley et al., 1991, p. 21) – yet all three texts describe racism and classism as issues for “other people” (Champagne et al., 1994, p. 4) or lesbians of colour, and working-class lesbians only (Chesley et al., 1991, p. 5; UBC, n.d.) Despite attempts to integrate multiple oppressions into the framework, a gender and sexuality-based analysis of power remains at the centre thus positioning white and middle-class lesbians as universal. The discourse in the pamphlets begins with the foundational claim that “abuse has been hidden in Western society until recently” and specifically that abuse in lesbian relationships has been hidden or difficult to publicly acknowledge (Chesley et al., 1991, p. 1; Champagne et al., 1994, p. 2; UBC, n.d.). It also states that violence in lesbian relationships is something that lesbians do not usually discuss or know about each other  150  (UBC, n.d.; Champagne et al., 1994, p. 2) and that has been “kept behind closed doors until fairly recently” (Chesley et al., 1991, p. 1). Discursive strategies that highlight the invisibility or hidden nature of some forms of violence in certain lesbians’ lives, can have a universalizing effect rendering unintelligible the experiences of queer women whose lives are fundamentally structured by racism and classism. By focusing on hidden, domestic violence in Western society the pamphlets highlight difficulties lesbians face in naming experiences of violence in the context of heterosexism. However, the violence experienced by racialized and working-class queer women may not have been veiled in secrecy or for the same reasons. For example, in some working-class lesbian communities violence in relationships has not necessarily been hidden or kept secret, nor has the home been the primary site of the violence in cases where relationship violence often took place in spaces constructed as public like bars (Kennedy & Davis, 1994). As well, it is possible that for racialized and working-class women, violence in intimate relationships may not be constructed as hidden, but visible and naturalized as evidence of the “degeneracy of the race” (Almeida et al., 1994; Kanuha, 1990;). Silence about violence may be related to the fact that these groups of women do not in fact have the privilege of privacy. “Hiding” violence in intimate relationships may be a response to the public violence of racism and its profound effects on individuals, families and communities. Thus perhaps the “hidden abuse” narrative applies most clearly to those groups of women who have been able to claim the privilege of privacy, such as white, middle-class lesbians.  151  White Lesbian Educators Speak about Public/private Spaces and Violence The white queer women in this study are aware of the problems with hegemonic analytical frameworks that centre white, middle-class women’s experiences and to varying degrees (and with varying success) attempt to assert what Foucault (1978) calls a “reverse discourse.” In workshops, various approaches are used to describe the connections between oppressions such as a dominance model, a focus on marginalization and references to colonialism. Despite efforts to move away from a gender-based model of oppression, some educators do take an additive approach to talking about racism and classism in discussions about difference or diversity and rely on the constructs “double or triple jeopardy” or “double or triple vulnerabilities” that have been frequently used in lesbian abuse educational materials to refer to the combined oppression that queer women face (e.g. sexism + heterosexism; or sexism + heterosexism + racism).51 These constructs can have the effect of eliding how systems and identities are related and mutually constitutive of one another, as well as privatizing social relations where differences are seen as essential, fixed characteristics of a biological or a social condition (Razack, 1998). Constructing some groups of women as “more vulnerable,” locates the problem at hand in the individual woman rather than in the social contexts of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism and ableism that position women differently and unequally to one another, thereby privatizing the social relations that produce violence (Razack, 1998). When 51  This may stem from its usage in an influential chapter by Valli Kanuha (1990) Compounding the Triple Jeopardy: Battering in Lesbian of Colour Relationships, reprinted in a training manual on lesbian battering, Confronting Lesbian Battering: A Manual for the Battered Women's Movement (Elliot, 1990). Kanuha's (1990) important chapter does not privatize the experiences of lesbians of colour experiencing abuse and clearly locates the issues within the social and political context of racism and heterosexism. Her chapter addresses racism within lesbian and feminist communities and the complexities of experiences of lesbians of colour who are being abused or abusive.  152  feminist educators, “travel down the path of compound oppression — double and triple oppression — the relations between women, and the ways in which the advantages some women enjoy come at the expense of other women, are masked” (Razack, 1998, p. 131). In a few cases, women try to shift from an additive model by beginning with a discussion of colonialism, then naming racism and heterosexism as roots of violence in relationships. While this is an important shift, white women sometimes still refer to colonialism or racism in an additive fashion (colonialism plus patriarchy equals doubly vulnerable woman). While the white educators interviewed have an intellectual understanding of the social context of racism and classism as part of the social context (public) this is often detached from our analysis of violence in intimate same-sex/gender relationships (private) thereby leaving the hegemony of whiteness in the discourse unexamined. Educators in this study demonstrated an awareness of many of these gaps and limitations and searched for new language and models that would capture greater complexities. However, even when we intellectually understand that systems are interlocked, white educators can continue to use these existing frameworks because they seem to account for our lives and can limit the extent to which we can see ourselves as dominant. One educator spoke about how she has relied on a white, middle-class feminist anti-violence discourse in both her work with lesbians and heterosexual women: What ends up happening…is that it’s real easy for me to slip back into using my own way of, and analysis….coming from a very (pause) a very white, middleclass viewpoint of lesbian battering…cause I bring that into the work that I do  153  around heterosexual violence…I struggle with expanding it further to a larger picture. (Cheryl, interview) She went on to speak about how white privilege influences her own and other white lesbian feminists’ analytical framework on lesbian abuse: …it’s very easy for us to go to a place where race doesn’t come into it. Even though we might be aware…it’s easy for me to see lesbian battering unidimensionally and to really only talk about it in the context of an intimate relationship and not within a social context. (Cheryl, interview) Another educator spoke about how privilege “gives us blind spots” and that she finds it hard at times to make connections between different forms of oppression and said she can’t think “as quickly” around “the corners of race and cultural differences” (Marcia, interview). These quotes highlight the way white lesbian feminist educators are able to externalize the social context and see racism and colonialism as disconnected to ourselves. This is similar to Razack’s analysis cited earlier about pity and also Ruth Frankenberg’s (1993) comments about white women she interviewed, viewing anti-racist work as a benevolent and optional act for the Other rather than about changing systems of domination that shape our subjectivities and lives. The educators spoke about the limitations with the public/private construct in conceptualizations of lesbian domestic violence and gave examples where the framework’s exclusive focus on “domestic” violence in the private sphere (home) breaks down around race. One educator described a conflict at a feminist anti-violence conference that erupted during a panel presentation by survivors of violence in lesbian relationships. The panelists had been assured that women who had been abusive would  154  not be on the panel. Conflict arose when conference participants interrupted the panel because one panelist — a Mãori survivor of lesbian abuse — also spoke about times in her life when she had been abusive and placed this in the context of colonization and a process of accountability in her community. A debate ensued about whether she was an abuser, with the Indigenous women in the audience arguing that the Mãori woman was further marginalized through this process. … the Maorian [sic] woman had been in this whole process of the entire community of people... taking accountability for times they had used abuse and putting that in the context of colonization and…in the context of surviving. And she was coming from this perspective of having like all this support around looking holistically at this... and then we were all up to judge, ‘Was she a batterer or not a batterer?’ And the women of colour… a lot of the First Nations women, were saying ‘She’s not a batterer and you’ve just set her up’ and a lot of the other women were saying it was just this terrible thing. (Teresa, focus group) This powerful example shows how various dichotomies in the dominant lesbian domestic violence discourse break down around race, such as batterer/survivor and private/public. The dichotomies cannot hold the complexities of multiple forms of violence, including the possibility that someone could be both a survivor and perpetrator of violence, as well as the interconnected “private” forms of intimate relationship violence and “public” forms of violence of colonialism and racism. The conflict highlights how this hegemonic feminist framework excludes the violence of racism and colonialism (i.e. the Mãori lesbian’s experiences of victimization as a survivor of colonization were not legitimized within the category of “survivor/batterer”) and forecloses an examination of how the  155  white lesbian survivors in the room are implicated in the structures of violence in the lives of the Mãori woman, other Indigenous women and women of colour. This illustrates the hierarchical nature of binaries and shows how “biopower” (Foucault, 1978) operates within and through the individual, ensuring that individuals regulate themselves and one another in relation to a defined norm. In this case, the norms of the dominant white hetero and homonormative domestic violence discourses — that one can be either a survivor or batterer and that the only legitimate form of violence is private. The binaries allow dominant groups to police the categories to ensure “safety.” Yet, this space is not safe for racialized women or others whose experiences of public and private spaces do not fit the hegemonic norm. In this discourse, the public/private dichotomy, paradoxically, marks non-white bodies as Other and perpetuates hegemonic whiteness, but does so in a fashion that is invisible to white people. Two other women spoke about a similar example where conflicts about racism and conceptualizations of public/private violence arose during the process of organizing an educational forum on woman-to-woman abuse. The organizing group was initially a group of white lesbians that took a liberal “outreach and inclusion” approach to addressing race. Lesbians of colour challenged the white lesbians about the racism inherent in this strategy, which tokenized lesbians of colour and ignored issues of power. After discussing these issues, the group decided to hold two forums – one open to all lesbians and another organized by and for lesbians of colour and Two-Spirit women only. Secondly, lesbians of colour and Two-Spirit women challenged the focus on woman-towoman abuse in the private sphere and emphasized the importance of expanding the analysis to include discussions about violence perpetrated by women in spaces coded as  156  public — specifically white women’s racist violence in the socio-historical context of colonialism and racism. This analytical shift felt confusing and threatening for the white women on the committee and in the sponsoring feminist organization. As Cheryl described, one of the sponsoring feminist organizations threatened to withdraw its support and funding because of the committee’s decisions to expand the definition of violence to include racist violence perpetrated by women towards other women in “public” spaces and communities, and to hold a forum organized by and for women of colour and Two-Spirit women only. .... [white women in the organization were saying] ‘Yeah you white girls can talk about what’s happening, but you know, let’s not really bring racism into this. Let’s not really look at the breadth of the problem, let’s more just look at it in a good little middle-class lesbian family, you know, lesbian homes, that’s where the violence is OK. But when you start to bring racism into it, and you start to look at, you know, expand a bit into looking at…not just what goes on within the home but what goes on within our whole organizing community, then that’s where we draw the line’. (Cheryl, focus group) The resistance from some white feminists to expanding the dominant domestic violence framework is a good example of the way a discourse can promote a norm that threatens to render illegitimate and abject those experiences (in this case, experiences of violence) that do not comply with the dominant or normative framework. The discourse limits our thought, making some ideas unthinkable (Ristock & Pennell, 1996). It also shows how white women’s investments in these models and subsequent regulation of definitions of violence are tied to seeing ourselves as innocent and unimplicated in the  157  oppression of other women. The question that must be asked is “when, and for whom is it advantageous to stress the private sphere over the public?” (Razack, 1998, p. 94). Both of the above examples illustrate the discursive strategies of denial that show up among many white feminist anti-violence advocates. The resistance to include colonial violence or white lesbians’ racism towards lesbians of colour and Two-Spirit women in the definition/discussion on “woman-to-woman abuse” was framed by white feminists as outside of the legitimate and privileged definitions, which focus on relationship violence in the homes of white, middle-class lesbians. These examples also show how white feminists’ regulation of definitions of violence can be intricately linked to seeing ourselves as innocent and unimplicated in the oppression of other women. As Mary Louise Fellows and Sherene Razack (1998, p. 343) argue, in feminist debates women whose dominance is challenged frequently respond with emotional attachments to innocence, which can be “linked to colonial representations of white, innocent femininity” (Srivastava, 2005, p. 36-37). As stated earlier, lesbian domestic violence education frequently conceptualizes the social context of domination as “out there” (responsibility of men and heterosexuals) and detached from us as white lesbians, which allows us to continue to see ourselves as innocent. In her research on anti-racism initiatives within feminist organizations in Canada, Sarita Srivastava (2005) argues that “imperial histories of innocent white femininity” and “historical constructions of a just feminist community underlie some feminists’ emotional protestations of innocence” (p. 56).52 She notes Over the past two decades, as Western feminist practice has gradually integrated 52  Srivastava (2005) explains: “…just as first-wave feminism was shaped by the backdrop of imperialism and nation building, contemporary feminist communities have been similarly shaped by representations of morality rooted in racist and imperial histories” (p. 36-37).  158  antiracist thought, it seems that ideas about what makes a good feminist have also shifted. My analysis finds, however, that as some white feminists move toward new ideals of antiracist feminism, they often move toward deeper selfexamination rather than toward organizational change. (p. 30) My research confirms this where participants identified their own and other white feminists’ resistance to change organizational practices despite an intellectual awareness of the multiple forms of oppression. White lesbian/queer feminists’ narratives are contradictory. While the dominant lesbian abuse discourse effectively destabilizes some heteronormative constructions of violence, it has produced a homonormative construction that is constituted through whiteness. Although this discourse has helped many women in abusive relationships, at the same time the familiar, taken-for-granted assumptions contained within it produce racialized exclusions. An exclusive focus on violence in the private sphere predictably breaks down around race, concealing the relationship with public forms of violence, and as a result the entire framework for understanding and responding to violence needs to be re-worked. By highlighting the inherent exclusions in the category domestic violence, I am not suggesting that we should stop looking at abuse in intimate relationships. Rather, when we look at interpersonal violence, we must critically examine our assumptions about the spaces in which the violence occurs, and explore the multiple contexts of the violence in women’s lives. When we look at the home as the site of violence as separate from an ostensible public sphere, we must ask whose life and what forms of violence can be imagined or named. For example, at the anti-violence conference, the multiple forms  159  of violence and the violence of colonialism in the life of a Mãori woman were discounted and positioned as illegitimate within lesbian domestic violence discourse. We need to question what forms of violence are erased by white lesbians when they dismiss the violence that Indigenous women experience as part of racism and colonialism, and instead valorize only private or “domestic” violence in their analyses. While I have focused on the production of whiteness in a homonormative discourse, it is evident that middle-class assumptions and classed power relations are also intricately intertwined with whiteness in many of the constructs and ideologies. Regardless of the classed locations of the research participants in this study, my research highlights the way white queer subjects call upon and reproduce, what is at times clearly a white middle-class domestic violence discourse. Further research is needed to examine the nuances and complexities of white middle-class homonormative anti-violence discourses. This research urges us to unsettle familiar everyday notions about violence, space and identity and ask “how spaces come to be, and to trace what they produce as well as what produces them?” (Razack, 2002, p. 7). By demystifying and deconstructing the spatial metaphors that circulate in anti-violence discourses, we would seek to “queer the space” — that is to think outside of white middle-class hetero/homonormative notions of home and family and public spaces. In speaking about the limitations with binary thinking in same-sex/gender domestic violence work, Jasbir Puar (2000) and others (Chung & Lee, 2002; Chen et al., 2011; Incite!, 2006; Ristock, 2002; Smith, 2005; Spade, 2011) argue that we need to seek alternative strategies for safety and accountability that actively involve queer community members rather than solely relying on social service  160  providers. This calls for an examination and destabilization of white, middle-class hetero/homonormative assumptions about home and kinship. As Puar (2000) explains, developing these alternative strategies to address violence in same-sex/gender relationships “also radically rewrites the space of the domestic, queers it, because it rethinks the structure of the family, the function of a house, and the kinship patterns that are normally assumed to fit into that house” (p. 12). This suggests that we must pay greater attention to the way meanings (of abuse, the home, the family, safety and public for example) are constructed and reconstructed depending on which voices are highlighted (Ristock & Pennell, 1996). Narrow conceptualizations and constructs limit our ability to see or imagine certain forms of violence or strategies for safety. In the next Chapter I continue this examination of homonormativity and whiteness through a critical reflection and discourse analysis of a “healthy relationships” curriculum for queer women that I developed and delivered.  161  Chapter Six: Troubling Normalcy: Examining “Healthy Relationships” Discourses in Lesbian Domestic Violence Prevention In 2001, I had the opportunity to develop and coordinate a new feminist queer violence prevention initiative — the Safe Choices Support and Education Program. Aware of the limitations with hegemonic feminist anti-violence frameworks and the way they position white, middle-class, able-bodied, and/or heterosexual women’s experiences as the norm, my colleagues and I were motivated to develop innovative anti-violence programming for queer women that would shift this framework. This chapter offers my critical reflections on some of the competing discourses in the “healthy relationships” workshop curriculum of this program, and some of the struggles facing us in the feminist and queer anti-violence movements. The Safe Choices Support and Education program, located on unceded Coast Salish Territories in the city known as Vancouver British Columbia, a large socioeconomically diverse Canadian city, is based in a non-profit feminist anti-violence organization and funded by a health promotion program of the regional health authority. Each year, the program provides six service-provider training workshops about abuse in women’s intimate same-sex/gender relationships and five healthy queer relationships workshops for lesbian, bisexual, queer and Two-Spirit women. The healthy relationships workshops offer “information and opportunities to break isolation in order to improve the health of women who are currently, or have been, in abusive same-sex/gender relationships” (EVA, 2007, p. 5). Their goal is to empower women and strengthen queer communities to respond to the issue of abuse in same-sex/gender relationships.  162  Approximately seventy-five to one hundred women attend these free workshops annually.53 The curriculum manual includes five healthy relationships workshop modules: i) “After the Honeymoon: Healthy Communication and Problem-Solving;” ii) “Knowing You-Knowing Me: Negotiating Separateness and Togetherness in Intimate Relationships;” iii) “Mind Your Own Business – Don’t Air our Dirty Laundry: Talking About Relationship Concerns with Friends and Family;” iv) “Sexuality, Intimacy and Desire;” and v) “Keeping Our Relationships Alive While Parenting.” All workshops acknowledge they are open to all lesbian, bisexual, queer and Two-Spirit women (including those who identify as transgender) regardless of relationship status or the language they use to self-identify. They are not sequential and each is designed to be offered independently of the others. They follow a similar format, delivered over a three and a half hour period, and use a support and education model. They are not meant to function as a therapy or support group, but are intended to provide queer women with opportunities for connection, dialogue, exchange of information and resources, and skill building about healthy relationships.54 Over the years, participants have indicated through formal evaluations and informal feedback that the workshops were innovative and helpful by offering support and information outside of traditional counselling services. Early in the program’s history, the possibility of funding cuts prompted some participants to write to the health  53  Safe Choices: Support and Education Program is a program of the Ending Violence Association (EVA) (formerly known as the BC Association of Specialized Victim Assistance and Counselling Programs) and is funded by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. In addition to service provider training and healthy relationships workshops, it provides referrals, consultation, resource development and facilitator training. 54 The program was developed in 2002 and expanded over six years. In 2008 a facilitator’s manual was produced.  163  authority about the significance of the workshops in helping to combat the negative effects of homophobia on queer women’s relationships. Many told us that participating in the workshops enabled them to make positive changes in their lives, including in some cases, ending abuse in relationships. Some said attending a workshop was a first step in breaking their isolation and connecting to other queer women. In several instances, facilitators ran into participants outside of the program hours (for example, on the street, in a coffee shop, the doctor’s office or a community event) where women shared these stories about the positive effects of the workshops. While it was clear that the workshops were offering a new and positive prevention strategy for many queer women, there were a few comments, as well as some unspoken and unwritten feedback revealed through some participants’ body language and awkward silences, suggesting that the workshops may not have been meeting everyone’s needs. While difficult to analyze this “feedback” without interview data or written evaluations, I had a growing sense that some of the discourses in the curriculum had normalizing and exclusionary effects. And as I discuss below, these issues were difficult to fully address in a neoliberal context with excessive state monitoring and limited funding. In creating the program, we shifted away from an earlier vision of providing ongoing individual counselling and support groups, for two key reasons. First, we wanted to develop an innovative approach to queer violence prevention focused on creating healthy relationships. Second, we were compelled to work within the constraints of a limited budget and align the program more closely with the aims of the health promotion fund,55  55  Referrals to counselling services are offered to women wanting additional support, however there are few appropriate affordable services. As a result, capacity building and training for existing service providers is an important component of the program. Using a co-facilitation model, the workshop activities include information sharing, self-reflection exercises, and large and small group discussions. Unlike most  164  which centers on “cost-effective, innovative strategies for promoting and improving population health…build[ing] community capacities, skills and assets so communities can better identify and manage their own health needs” (Vancouver Coastal Health, 2008).  A “Healthy Relationships” Approach in the Context of Neoliberalism Most LGBTQ anti-violence initiatives (primarily based in large urban centres) have traditionally focused on outreach, supportive counselling, and resources for victims and education for LGBTQ communities. Some have recently identified the need for innovative community-based approaches that concentrate on creating healthy queer relationships rather than focusing explicitly on domestic violence (Chung & Lee 2002; EVA, 2007; Northwest Network, 2008; Ristock, 2002; Ristock & Timbang, 2005). Partly, this is in response to the challenges queer women face speaking about relationship violence, as our identity is already stigmatized through its association with pathology, deviance and violence. As well, many queer women do not name their experiences “domestic violence” or “abuse” as a result of the heteronormative framework of domestic violence. Further, our experience in the late 1990s in Vancouver (like that of other advocates in Toronto and Winnipeg) had shown that many survivors of abuse in lesbian relationships were not accessing lesbian abuse support groups for a variety of reasons, including: shame about publicly identifying themselves as being in an abusive lesbian relationship; concerns about confidentiality within small communities; and/or confusion about whether their experience would fall within the category of “abuse” (Chung & Lee, anti-violence groups, these workshops do not include an intake process to assess dynamics of abuse or victim/perpetrator roles.  165  2002; EVA, 2007; Ristock, 2002). Some advocates noted that more queer women were showing up for groups to learn about healthy relationships than to talk about their experiences of abuse (Ristock, 2002, p. 165). At the same time, many of us supporting friends in abusive relationships spoke about feeling confused by complex dynamics we observed that could not easily be explained with the available feminist anti-violence frameworks. We often felt unconvinced that the traditional feminist power and control model and victim/perpetrator binary used in counselling practices were the most effective or accurate ways for understanding, intervening and supporting change in queer women’s relationships. This shift to a focus on “healthy relationships” was seen not only in queer antiviolence work, but also more broadly within the anti-violence movement in North America where an increasing number of programs began to develop healthy relationships curricula for (predominantly heterosexual) high school students. Interestingly, these efforts coincided with a differently motivated move taking place more broadly within the movement – that is, the increased alliance with the neoliberal state. Neoliberalism is often used to describe the dominant economic, cultural and political system that is driven by pro-corporate free-market priorities (Duggan, 2003). Neoliberal discourses support the development of economic and social policies that encourage the privatization of services. There is an emphasis on individual freedom and rights where “the role of government is to provide advice and assistance to enable selfgoverning subjects to become normal/responsible citizens, who voluntarily comply with the interests and needs of the state” (Richardson, 2005, p. 516). In this chapter, I am concerned with the relationship between neoliberal discourses, strategies of governance,  166  and the spaces of community non-profit anti-violence and health promotion initiatives. Kristin Bumiller (2008) argues that over the past two decades, there has been a growing and problematic alliance between the neoliberal state and the movement to end violence against women “where the feminist campaign was modified and integrated into state and quasi-state organizations and became part of the routine business of social service bureaucracies and crime control” (p. 7). Alongside this, she argues, we can see how a growing anti-feminist backlash campaign contributed to a normalizing and mainstreaming of the movement focused on addressing violence by “situating it as part of programs to combat sexism in workplaces, build healthy relationships, and improve communication between men and women” (p. 10). Interestingly, she makes the point that “the progressive ideals of this campaign deferred to the more pressing prerogatives of security, public health, preservation of the family, and other demands to maintain order” (p. 7). In the Safe Choices program, our attempts to shift the existing lesbian antiviolence framework proved to be very challenging in this neoliberal context where our work in feminist anti-violence organizations was often highly constrained by the regulatory demands of state funding. The effects of neoliberalism on the feminist antiviolence and LGBTQ social movements are complex and contradictory. While the move to neoliberal principles of government has meant the divestment of state funding for public services in favor of privatization, it has also meant an increase in regulatory functions of the state and policies that enforce personal responsibility (Bumiller, 2008; Richardson, 2005). The feminist rationale for state funding for anti-violence services has become modified and transformed by the neoliberal agenda. There is now a growing  167  presence of the state within many feminist anti-violence organizations and these organizations often function as part of the regulatory apparatus (Bumiller, 2008). As a result of these trends, many community non-profit anti-violence and LGBTQ health promotion programs are burdened by funding requirements in conflict with their feminist or anti-oppression philosophy that require an excessive amount of staff time to complete, such as guidelines for professional practice or “outcome measurements” expectations (Bumiller, 2008; Ward, 2008). Ironically, the requirement to measure outcomes often comes without sufficient funding to develop strong and innovative programs in the first place. Importantly, those of us developing the healthy relationships workshops often spoke of the need for more time to critically reflect about the categories we were constructing, the gaps and limitations produced in the curriculum, and ways to disrupt white and middle-class lesbian norms in the healthy relationships workshops. However, the program was seriously under-funded and there was barely enough time to meet the “deliverables,” let alone to reflect on, critique and revise our work. Despite our best efforts to disrupt these normative frameworks, I remained concerned that my own and other facilitators’ white, and in some cases middle-class, privilege continued to influence the (re)production of hegemonic discourses and social practices in the program. Further, I had an underlying sense that the discourses embedded in the healthy relationships model we were building were homonormative and contributed to the making of the ideal “healthy citizen” of the neoliberal, colonial nationstate. Like other feminist and queer scholars and activists, I worry that neoliberal techniques of governance are presented as benign, necessary steps in creating healthy relationships and healthy societies, when in effect they may contribute to increased moral  168  and social regulation. The workshops draw on a normalizing discourse of healthy relationships to counter homophobic constructions of queer relationships as violent and pathological, but in doing so may render white and middle-class queer subjects complicit with processes of nation building (drawing on Riggs, 2006, p. 75). This chapter is a response to these concerns and offers theorizations of how hegemonic discourses of neoliberalism, citizenship, homonormativity and whiteness operate through healthy queer relationships discourses.56 I examine how healthy queer relationships workshops are implicated in processes of normalization and how these contribute to and/or resist forms of social marginalization.57 As I write this chapter, I am mindful of the current political context impacting the anti-violence movement in British Columbia, where the provincial government has announced further funding cuts to health and social services, including women’s antiviolence services. Given this climate and the dearth of resources for queer and feminist anti-violence work, I am aware my critique could be misused to deny queer rights, eliminate designated services, fuel homo/bi/transphobia and anti-feminist backlash. I want to stress that my intention is not to deny or minimize the positive outcomes of this initiative and others like it. The Safe Choices program has been lauded for its innovative and unique programming, not only within Canada but recently in the UK where scholars and community-based advocates identified it as a “best practice” or “model” for other communities to adopt in their efforts to prevent and respond to same-sex domestic  56  My focus is not the curriculum writers and facilitators them/ourselves, but rather the discourses and the way they constitute us as subjects. That being said, I do not view subjects as passive or un-implicated in the statements we produce through discourse. 57 While I view systems of oppression as interlocking, this chapter focuses primarily on sexuality, gender and race with a limited discussion of class. My analysis about normative frameworks and their exclusions could also be applied to disability and age.  169  violence. I believe it has helped many women and offers crucially needed violence prevention tools. My interest is not to find fault but rather to examine some of the “pitfalls of well-meaning efforts” (Srivastava, 2005, p. 29) — including my own - and the hegemonic tendencies within strategies deemed to be “health promoting,” “innovative” or “anti-oppressive.” The concerns and issues I raise here are not specific to this program or to the antiviolence movement in Vancouver or Canada. They reflect common struggles that confront us, and a historical context of racialized and classed hierarchical power relations within the feminist anti-violence and queer movements in North America. The issues are embedded in a political context where there is a growing and problematic relationship between social movements and the neoliberal state, contributing to normative conceptions of identity and citizenship that (re)produce social exclusions. I want to highlight the contradictions within normalizing discourses and interrogate my complicity and race and class privilege, with the hope that this investigation contributes to an ongoing dialogue amongst anti-racist and queer feminist activists and scholars who are committed to a politics accountability. In doing this, I recognize the contradictions and dilemmas that come up in reflexive practice where declarations of white reflexivity can unwittingly draw on notions of moral goodness, and want to instead “trouble the possibilities for ‘coming clean’ in practices of researcher reflexivity” (Lather, 2007, p. 17). As discussed in Chapter Four, Foucault understood power as operating within and through individuals ensuring that bodies regulate themselves and one another in relation to defined norms and through subtle practices of surveillance which produce normal and  170  abnormal bodies (Adams, 1997; Razack, 2002). His concept of governmentality (1991) illustrates how this normalizing power works through techniques of governance that regulate and manage populations at a distance by relying upon people govern themselves. Neoliberalism has been described as a contemporary form of governmentality that deflects attention away from the socio-spatial, economic and political conditions that produce violence or poor health, and emphasizes personal responsibility for preventing violence and illness through self-help discourses, expert knowledge and expert assistance (Bumiller 2008; Lupton 1999). As noted earlier in Chapter Four, a number of queer theorists have critiqued the emergence of the category “the normal ordinary gay/lesbian citizen,” and the homonormative discursive and socio-material practices articulated by gays and lesbians that support rather than resist heteronormative neoliberal projects (Duggan, 2003; Puar, 2007; Richardson, 2005). In the following analysis of the Safe Choices curriculum, I examine how some queer violence prevention discourses reproduce these troublesome normal/abnormal, irresponsible/degenerate binaries in ways that concurrently reproduce hegemonic forms of subjectivity. My discussion in this chapter reflects a growing critical concern within feminist and sexuality studies in geography about the relationship between neoliberal forms of governance, the state, social movements, and voluntary-sector health and counselling organizations (Andrucki & Elder, 2007; Bondi, 2005; Richardson, 2005). Like the work of these scholars, this chapter highlights the relationship between neoliberalism, processes of normalization and professionalization, and power at the spatial scale of the urban non-profit and its relationship to other geopolitical scales such as the state, and the  171  nation. While I do not explicitly examine the production of space in LGBTQ or feminist non-profits or anti-violence organizations in this chapter, I do elaborate a critical geographical perspective on neoliberalism, professionalization, normativity, racism, whiteness and intersectional feminist political discourse in the socio-spatial context of a feminist non-profit anti-violence organization in Canada. I examine curriculum discourses at the scale of the feminist or LGBTQ non-profit organization, with attention to how they are directly related to broader critical geopolitical issues such as colonial state violence and homonationalism for example. I discuss these interconnections further at the end of this chapter and in the final concluding chapter of the dissertation.  Analysis of the Curriculum: A Discursive Mosaic Discourses are shifting and unstable. While discourses can be “an effect of power” they can also be “a point of resistance and a starting point for an opposing strategy” (Foucault, 1978, p. 101). In my examination of the curriculum, I have identified a “discursive mosaic” (Kiely, 2005) where contradictory and “reverse discourses” can be seen (Foucault, 1978). This reflects both the curriculum writers’ and facilitators’ recognition of the limitations with existing discourses, as well as their investments in many of them. Various factors influence how discourses are taken up or resisted. Power Each facilitator brings a unique analysis and approach to the workshops, and their social locations and experiences of privilege and marginalization most probably come to bear on how facilitators’ interpret the curriculum. Many women contributed to the workshop development, and the contradictions within may also reflect tensions and disagreements between them/us. It appears that despite falling back on certain normative frameworks  172  that produce limitations and exclusions (which I discuss below), the curriculum is also a welcome departure from other educational materials on lesbian abuse which present a seemingly unified, coherent or universal narrative which does not fit with women’s lived experiences (Holmes, 2000; Holmes & Ristock, 2004).  Feminist Anti-Oppression Philosophy A “feminist anti-oppression” discourse is evident throughout the curriculum with references to “interlocking oppressions or identities,” “multiple locations of oppression,” “inclusion” and “diversity.” While there are different meanings and effects of these terms, together they function as a discursive strand. The facilitator’s manual begins with the philosophy of the Safe Choices program, which outlines the program’s feminist antioppression approach to same-sex/gender relationship abuse. It defines abuse and states that the social contexts of various forms of oppression interconnect and impact an abusive relationship in complex ways. The curriculum reveals investments in a dominant feminist domestic violence discourse that can have what Foucault would refer to as a homogenizing effect of normalization (1980). For example, the curriculum relies on a power and control model emphasizing a power imbalance in all abusive relationships where the abuser has the power and the victim does not or where “abuse is abuse” (Ristock, 2002). It also, however, complicates and challenges normative assumptions. The philosophy challenges hegemonic feminist discourses that take an additive approach to “difference” and argues instead that multiple systems of violence operate simultaneously and depend on one another. It foregrounds “the social context of structural inequality, systemic oppression  173  and power imbalances based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, age, immigration or refugee status, class and HIV status,” as well as forms of abuse that are linked to “exploiting one’s societal power by using norms of dominance such as racism, sexism, ableism, classism, anti-semitism and ageism” (EVA, 2007, p. 5). It states that the program “speak[s] out against harmful stereotypes and the scapegoating of communities such as people of colour, First Nations people, the bar crowd, the S/M community, femme/butch couples, transgender and bisexual communities” (p. 6) – groups often stigmatized as inherently “more violent.” In addition, by mentioning abusive dynamics that can feel confusing, abusers in one relationship who are also survivors of abuse in previous relationships, complexities of same-sex/gender abuse, and differences between abuse in heterosexual and same-sex/gender relationships, it offers another narrative: there is not one universal experience. These examples show how the program attempts to shift hetero and homonormative feminist thinking about same-sex/gender abuse in new directions, specifically reflecting the influences of anti-racist critiques by feminists of colour and Indigenous women of over the past two decades (see Crenshaw, 1991; Davis, 1987; Kanuha, 1990, 1996; Razack, 1998, 2002; Smith, 2004), as well as the influence of Janice Ristock’s (2002) research, whose analysis about violence in lesbian relationships has been instrumental in highlighting problems with normative frameworks. The philosophy is followed by a section that discusses how language is political and both shapes and reflects identity. It challenges notions of stable, static and universal knowledge and identities, and instead explains in non-academic terms how ideas, knowledge and identities are socially and historically constructed, fluid and changing. It  174  stresses the importance of facilitators problematizing language and its implications for inclusion and exclusion: The terms individuals and communities use to describe them/ourselves are informed by our age, gender, race, ethnicity, geography, etc. Language and meaning evolve as individuals, communities and social movements change. For example in recent years queer has been reclaimed from its oppressive origins and reclaimed as an expression of power and pride. However this does not mean that all members of the LGB and T communities will feel comfortable using or even identify with this term. Analyzing the language we use reveals the complexities of experience, history, politics and power that shape the meaning of the terms and concepts we use to think about identities and same-sex/gender relationships abuse. At Safe Choices we use same-sex AND same-gender to talk about relationships abuse because sometimes the two people in the relationship may NOT identify as the same gender, but identify as the same sex, or they may identify as the same gender but NOT the same sex. (EVA, 2007, p. 7) The example given is the use of gendered pronouns and the way they can impact bisexual women and transgender participants. It addresses a universalizing tendency within “LGBTQ” anti-violence models and approaches, where categories of gender and sexual orientation are often conflated which not only leads to confusion but also the erasure or marginalization of transgender experiences of violence (White & Goldberg, 2006). This is a change from previous feminist educational discourses about lesbian abuse, which have tended towards a rigidified analysis that relies on essentialist constructs (Holmes & Ristock, 2004). Yet, there are contradictory discourses about  175  identity within the curriculum where we see a reliance on many binary oppositions (male/female, lesbian/heterosexual, white lesbians/lesbians of colour) all the while trying to foreground the multiplicity, fluidity and socially constructed nature of language and identity. Through the language used, and in the examples of relationship scenarios, most of the workshops still privilege a non-trans lesbian identity. While the curriculum states that the healthy relationships workshops are inclusive of people who identify as transgender, this was a point of confusion for many workshop facilitators and transgender participants over the years. There were many times when trans-identified participants — specifically those who identified as gender queer, female-to-male (FTM) or neither male nor female — indicated they did not feel the workshops were inclusive or responsive to their identity and experiences. In a recent attempt to address this, the following was added to the philosophy statement: “we attempt to make our healthy relationships workshops trans inclusive. This means that women who are in relationship with a trans partner, trans couples, MTF (male to female) and FTM (female to male) trans people as well as people who identify as intersex are welcome” (EVA, 2007, p. 6-7). Examples, however, that address the very diverse experiences of these groups are on the whole, absent in the healthy relationships curriculum.58 Similarly, homogenizing and tokenistic inclusion strategies adopted by some facilitators in workshops to address bisexual women’s experiences produced the very exclusionary effects they ostensibly set out to contest. Surprisingly, while the curriculum  58  The only exception is the workshop on Sexuality, Intimacy and Desire which integrates an analysis of trans experiences within same-sex/gender relationships more than the other workshops, reflecting the analysis of a specific facilitator and curriculum developer (Caroline White) who is also active as an ally in the trans anti-violence movement.  176  reminds facilitators that “our attempts to be inclusive [must] be reflected in practice as well as language, i.e. we want to avoid adding on other identities (such as trans) but not offering a curriculum that explores and addresses the unique issues trans folks face” (EVA, 2007, p. 8), this was mostly not the case as the content and examples are based primarily in non-trans lesbian experience. This example shows how an intellectual understanding about the problems with tokenistic inclusion strategies does not necessarily translate into an understanding of how to change practice. I now look at the way this antioppression philosophy addresses racial identities where similar issues surface.  Good Non-Racist Feminists The discussion about language in the curriculum is followed by a section on the strengths and limitations of the program, which acknowledges shortcomings and encourages critical reflection for facilitators. It addresses how the program is innovative and the only program of its kind in Canada with on-going funding. It also notes that participants’ feedback indicate that the program is meeting many community needs. It recognizes the combined efforts and knowledge of many queer women involved in the program’s development, making special note of “the important contributions of women of colour and Aboriginal women” as advisory committee members, workshop participants and facilitators (EVA, 2007, p. 9). This is followed by the program’s limitations where it states: “However, we also recognize that the majority of the workshops’ curriculum has been produced and delivered by white middle-class nondisabled North American women working from within an anti-oppression lens and viewing the curriculum with an understanding of the intersectionality of all oppressions.  177  More work is needed to increase the content to reflect the experiences and to honor the leadership of women of colour, Aboriginal women, low-income women, immigrant women and women with disabilities” (EVA, 2007, p. 9). A few pages later, there is a statement encouraging facilitators to expand the analysis, raise questions and problematize ideas, emphasizing: “we are particularly interested in expanding the notes section in ways that reflect our commitment to provide inclusive, anti-oppressive workshops that reflect an understanding of the intersectionality of identities and the interlocking nature of oppressions” (p. 9). These statements could be seen as a “responsible” move to make whiteness, and other forms of dominance, visible — marking and destabilizing norms that are naturalized and made invisible. The emphasis is on the good intentions of the privileged subjects who “mean well.” While different axes of identity are mentioned, I want to draw specific attention to racialized discourses and the way confessional narratives of good intentions, function in feminist discourses to recite and secure the dominance of white subjects. The program is represented as “meeting many needs” and yet anxieties about white racism – that there are women who are excluded, not having their needs met – appears in the narrative with the mention of women of colour and Aboriginal women. Anti-racist scholars argue that “whiteness gets produced through being declared” (Ahmed 2004, p. 12), and that these moves often mask other motivations, such as white feminist subjects’ emotional attachments to innocence and to seeing ourselves as good non-racist feminists (Ahmed, 2004; Fellows & Razack, 1998; Srivastava, 2005). Discourses of benevolence and “good intentions” have been a historical foundation of whiteness (Riggs, 2004; Srivastava, 2005). While there is a recognition of gaps in  178  curriculum content and related power imbalances in the production of knowledge, explicitly naming the dominant subjects as “anti-oppressive” and “with a lens of intersectionality” works as a redemption discourse and further asserts our/their dominance — we cannot really be blamed for any exclusions or on-going oppression because our intentions were/are good. Here, as Sarah Ahmed (2004) explains in relation to whiteness, admitting racism or declaring whiteness does not represent evidence of antiracist practice. Anti-oppression can become a matter of making dominant “antioppressive” subjects “feel better” about their dominance or the exclusions produced through it (Ahmed, 2004, p. 33). Clearly, these declarations of privilege do not function merely as descriptions, but can also work as confessionals, which recite the dominance of white, middle-class, able-bodied women. I argue that this example in the curriculum functions in this way despite its claims to do the opposite.  Intersectional Identities Informed by feminist anti-oppression philosophy, efforts are made in the curriculum to contest and complicate universalist discourses that construct queer women’s identity around race, class, age, and ability privilege, although to varying degrees and success. For example, a section on workshop planning offers guidelines for facilitators: Think about how race, immigration, ethnicity, class, ability, gender identity, sexuality, age, health, having children, homophobia and heterosexism, racism, colonization, sexism, ableism, ageism, classism, past or present substance use, and other factors impact our relationships as queer women and abuse. For  179  example: fears of calling police because of the homophobia and racism of the legal system, or because you don’t have your landed status yet; fears that no-one will believe you because your partner is a disability rights, feminist anti-violence or anti-racist activist, etc.; your partner’s emotional abuse includes racist and ableist comments. (EVA, 2007, n.p.) There are also attempts to apply this analysis in a workshop on communication and conflict. In the workshop “After the Honeymoon: Healthy Communication and Problem-Solving”, the narrative states that “styles and meaning of non-verbal communication vary tremendously across culture, class, gender, age, etc.” and that health, extended family responsibilities, money, children, immigration and racism (among other factors) can impact a couple’s communication (EVA, 2007, n.p.). Likewise, the section on conflict instructs facilitators to “introduce this section by acknowledging that gender, class, race, culture, ability, family of origin, our own disposition and other factors such as stereotyping influence how we deal with and respond to conflict” (EVA, 2007, n.p.). Yet importantly, there is no discussion of how these factors influence communication. The lack of language and theory about power differences based on class, race and ability in intimate lesbian relationships has made it very difficult to resolve conflicts and build healthy and just lesbian relationships (Kadi, 1993). The curriculum reflects an awareness of this reality but the analysis is not fully integrated into the workshop content, which can inadvertently produce a universal subject whose life is not impacted by racism, classism, poverty and ableism. Thus, points of resistance and contestation to universalist discourses show up in the curriculum reflecting contradictions that produce a wider range of subjectivities than  180  in the earlier educational discourses on lesbian abuse produced in the 1990s that I discussed in Chapter Five. I remain concerned, however, that a discourse of intersectionality or anti-oppression can mask a racist liberal “inclusion” or additive approach to addressing race/racism by white women, where issues of power are ignored (or discussed but not acted upon or changed) and where women of colour are “needed” so as not to appear white. Often in these tokenizing “inclusion” efforts (perhaps now framed as “anti-oppression” efforts) queer women of colour and Two-Spirit women are acknowledged without deconstructing the constructs that maintain white privilege and changing institutional norms and power relations. As feminists, we must examine how feminist “anti-oppression” discourses are used by dominant subjects; are they mobilized to abdicate responsibility, as a way of “coming clean” and maintaining power, or do they help us address hierarchical power relations between women, create greater accountability and activate organizational change? We must examine the contemporary manifestations of historical constructions of racial innocence in feminist anti-violence organizing and be prepared to look at some of the problematic effects of well-meaning feminist anti-oppression efforts and make necessary changes (Srivastava, 2005).  Expert Knowledge – Psychology and Health Promotion Discourses In addition to feminist anti-oppression and anti-violence discourses, the workshops draw on psychology and health promotion discourses. These disciplines promote activities that can be identified as strategies of governmentality in the ways they construct and regulate the population through systems of knowledge (Foucault, 1991),  181  and produce health promotion and psychology experts who provide their knowledge “directed at improving individuals’ health through self-regulation” (Lupton, 1995, p. 10). Neoliberal trends in responding to sexual and domestic violence emphasize a normative vision of professionalized service providers with specialized expertise to diagnose, treat and prevent sexual/domestic violence (Bumiller, 2008). This has lead to defining the problem of violence through public health discourses of surveillance and expanded forms of expert psychological knowledge about, and programming for, women who have been victimized (Bumiller, 2008). The healthy relationships workshops begin by challenging this dominant neoliberal discourse of expert knowledge that positions mental health, social service, criminal justice and educational professionals as experts and in relations of power over “users” or “consumers” of services. The guide states: “Explain that you are not experts. Acknowledge that everyone in the room has experience and knowledge and that one of your goals is to make sure there are lots of opportunities for them to share some of it with one another. Add that you’re there to facilitate and share some information and ideas about strengthening our relationships” (EVA, 2007, n.p.). Further, the curriculum includes exercises that validate the participants’ knowledge base, creating opportunities for collective knowledge production and problem solving. This was a deliberate move to contest professionalization and the resulting individualist models of many health and social service approaches that diminish the significance of collective self-help that has been a foundation of grassroots feminist anti-violence philosophy (Bumiller, 2008). Despite this, the discourses that inform and shape the facilitators’ practice — social work, counselling psychology and education — position them hierarchically in  182  relation to the participants. Deeply classed and raced psychological and social work discourses (including some that are “feminist”) are extremely significant in the way in which one social group or class “comes to be responsible, often as professionals, for the moral regulation of the other” (Walkerdine, 1996, p. 357). Individual facilitators may have different degrees of attachment to these expert discourses and questions remain to what extent in practice they encourage participants to critically examine and challenge knowledge and taken-for-granted truth claims. Discourses of empowerment, critical pedagogy and community development often mask the investments of “public health professionals in persuading groups to develop ‘skills’ and ‘exercise control’ over their lives” (Lupton, 1995, p. 59-60). These so-called emancipatory discourses have been “absorbed into the complex bureaucratic network of public health” with increased focus on techniques of self-surveillance and control (Lupton, 1995, p. 76). Through government-funded health promotion programs the state functions as the facilitator shaping the health of the community, and in a neoliberal context they ensure that citizens are healthy in order to promote productivity. Safe Choices is positioned in this way — emphasizing its role assisting queer women to develop skills to improve their health. While the program’s feminist philosophy tries to contest these discourses, contradictions can be seen in the curriculum’s narrative. In the healthy relationships workshops, new information is offered after participants generate their own individual and collective knowledge. Nevertheless, information is presented from key texts written by psychologists — some of whom are lesbian and feminist — who are recognized as experts in the field. Although various feminist and queer/lesbian resources are recommended at the beginning of the  183  curriculum, it is material from No More Secrets: Violence in Lesbian Relationships (Ristock, 2002), Lesbian Couples: A Guide to Creating Healthy Relationships (Clunis & Green, 2005), The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (Gottman & Silver, 1999),59 and material from psychologist Brent Atkinson (2008) that are most prevalent in the workshop content for two of the workshops on healthy communication and separateness and togetherness.60 Most references to research in these modules refer to the work of Gottman and Atkinson.61 Thus, while expert knowledge is seemingly eschewed by the curriculum, on closer examination, it is evident that the program privileges the research of experts in psychology. Additionally, although beyond the scope of this chapter, my analysis of Gottman and Atkinson’s work thus far reveals a de-gendered, de-raced, de-classed analysis of (predominantly) heterosexual couples. When this work is used in the curriculum the diverse socio-cultural contexts of queer women’s relationships recede or disappear with references to generic couples. I argue that by applying this material in this way, the unintended result was the reproduction of some of the hegemonic assumptions we were seeking to disrupt. As I show in the following section, this reliance on psychological, as well as health promotion, knowledge in the healthy queer relationships workshops is problematic in that it serves to reproduce normalcy.  59  Gottman’s work is used widely by family and marriage therapists and he is currently conducting research project on Creating Healthy Relationships funded by the US government (Gottman, 2009). 60 These workshops were offered more often than others based on requests by participants. 61 The exception is the workshop on Sexuality which includes references to research on lesbian sex as background resources for facilitators  184  Healthy Subjects = Normal Subjects? The disciplines of psychology and health promotion play a role in governmentality through the (re)production of normalizing discourses that are racialized, classed, and heteronormatively gendered (Gleason, 2003; Riggs & Augoustinos, 2005; Walkerdine, 1996). These discourses (re)produce binary oppositions between healthy/unhealthy or civilized/uncivilized subjects. We come to understand what constitutes a “healthy” ( and/or “normal”) self in part through comparisons between the self and “unhealthy” (and/or “abnormal”) others (Lupton, 1995). These disciplines rely on liberal individualist discourses that emphasize health as an individual and moral responsibility, which has a depoliticizing effect (George & Rail, 2006). In addition, they are premised on a generic model of subjectivity, which constructs the subject as autonomous, rational, self-regulated, controlled, individualized and civilized (Cermele, Daniels, & Anderson, 2001; Lupton, 1995; Riggs, 2007). The white able-bodied bourgeois heterosexual masculine body is valued as most closely conforming to this idea of the civilized body (Sibley, 1995). Generic models of subjectivity rely on an additive approach to difference, which misses how different axes of identity are connected and hierarchical. For example, these discourses position whiteness as an indicator of health (Cermele, Daniels, & Anderson, 2001; George & Rail, 2006; Riggs, 2007). In developing the Safe Choices curriculum we sought to disrupt generic and additive models of subjectivity and construct a queer subject whose experiences of abuse and health were shaped by many interconnected factors and social systems. Yet, many taken-for-granted “truths” show up in the curriculum and do present a neoliberal individualist discourse. In all of the healthy relationship workshops and in many of the  185  handouts there are references to the importance of “self-care” and “taking responsibility for your own feelings and behaviour and needs” (EVA, 2007, n.p.). In Foucauldian terms these could be described as psychological “technologies of the self” such as self-esteem, self-knowledge and self-discipline. Most (heterosexual) relationship self-help manuals are based on the “notion of social obligation in that technologies of the self such as selfdiscipline and self-knowledge are the ‘right’, or ethical, thing to take on, not only for the sake of the self, but for one’s partner and for the wider society. By prescribing what is emotionally ‘right’ or ‘healthy’ for the individual they also provide a picture of how healthy relationships between individuals should be conducted, and the healthy society that would result” (Hazelden, 2003, p. 425). These neoliberal individualist discourses produce effective healthy citizens who are self-regulating and who can take care of themselves, rather than subjects that are interdependent and relational (Hazelden, 2003; Kiely, 2005). Similarly, neoliberal approaches to violence against women promote individualistic strategies of problem solving rather than those that rely on more complex understandings of the multiple forms of domination and violence in women’s private and public lives (Bumiller, 2008). In social work and public health literature this discourse focuses on how “women need to be trained to make better choices” so that they can have a “normal, non-violent family” (p. 84). Once again, the Safe Choices healthy relationships curriculum is contradictory in its up take and resistance to these discourses. References to self-care and taking responsibility for one’s self, feelings and needs are consistently combined with discourses of relationality, accountability, mutuality, community, interdependency and a social  186  context of hierarchical power relations. All of the workshops emphasize the importance of the individual’s connectedness to community and a number of them address the complex role and significance of extended family in queer women’s lives, including responsibilities to and/or loss of extended family and “chosen family” in the context of a heteronormative, homophobic and racist culture. One example of a discourse of community connection and accountability is the workshop “Mind Your Own Business, Don’t Air Our Dirty Laundry: Talking About Relationship Concerns with Friends and Family”. The workshop speaks to the silence about partner abuse in many queer communities, and the reality that many queer women who have been in abusive same-sex/gender relationships are more likely to talk with a friend or family member about the abuse, than anti-violence, health care or social service providers (Ristock, 2002). As a departure from neoliberal discourses of self-help or expert knowledge, the workshop seeks to increase the capacity of friends and queer communities to strategize and problem solve together about relationship violence. The workshop examines how “community values” play a role in supporting, condoning or preventing abuse and sustaining healthy queer relationships. It encourages critical thinking about discourses of shame, privacy and accountability and promotes collective dialogue about ways queer women can support values that foster safe, strong, healthy, accountable and non-violent relationships and communities. This discourse clearly challenges neoliberal individualist discourses by emphasizing interdependency, collective power, social and communal responsibility, and accountability. The regulatory power of the state-funded health promotion model, however, and the neoliberal techniques of governance it produces, may limit and  187  constrain the potential of this discussion to move in more radical or transformative ways. As well, even when there is attention to interdependency and relationality, neoliberal technologies of the self (self-esteem, self-care and self-improvement) can still function to privatize and individualize socio-economic and political issues (such as poverty, racism and violence). I also wonder how, as a technology of governance, the workshop may unwittingly encourage queer subjects to monitor and regulate one another.  Queer Sexual Subjects? Neoliberal discourses also “promote a narrow kind of sexual subjectivity which obscures sexual pleasure and desire” (Kiely, 2005, p. 254). Heteronormative neoliberal discourses pathologize queer sexuality and promote heterosexual sex within the confines of marriage only, while homonormative ones desexualize queer identity in order to promote a responsiblized, respectable gay or lesbian citizen (Richardson, 2005; Seidman, 2002). As well, normative discourses about lesbians erase the possibility of sexual assault within lesbian relationships. Interestingly, Safe Choices’ “Sexuality, Intimacy and Desire” workshop offers a counter-hegemonic discourse that troubles these normative narratives. The goals are to help women develop a language to talk about sex, intimacy, and desire in queer women’s relationships, to identify the socio-cultural “messages we receive about our sexuality” from “dominant society and lesbian/queer communities,” to understand some of the barriers to talking about sex, these issues, and strengthen communication skills when talking about sexuality (EVA, 2007, n.p.). This workshop also addresses the topics of  188  consent and boundaries and provides information and discussion about sexual assault in women’s same-sex/gender relationships. Evident here are deconstructive strategies that provide opportunities to examine discourses influencing our sexuality and desires. The narrative disrupts neoliberal normalizing techniques that assign a moral status of normal and abnormal to queer sexual acts and desires (Seidman, 2001), with discussion of a wide range of issues such as: polyamorous and nonmonogamous relationships, butch/femme, transgender and bisexual experiences, sexual practices such as masturbation, S/M, the use of sex toys, erotica/porn, and social factors such as racism, aging, health issues and disability. A queer feminist discourse of desire is combined with a discourse of relationality, ethics and accountability to self and one’s sexual partner(s). These non-normative sexual discourses, however, fade in some of the other workshops in the curriculum. Given that the workshops are not offered sequentially and that women do not necessarily attend them all, these nonnormative discourses of sexuality and desire remain marginal, which could have the effect of promoting a desexualized queer subject in the rest of the curriculum. In this chapter, my concern has been to examine the extent to which the Safe Choices healthy queer relationships workshops rely on and reinforce normative frameworks and neoliberal discourses and technologies of governance. My examination reveals many contradictions within the curriculum’s discursive framework. The workshops both resist and reproduce some of the neoliberal discourses of professionalization, expert knowledge, individualism and narrow approaches to responding to violence. Neoliberal self-help discourses are evident in the workshops but integrated with relational, communitarian and social discourses to varying degrees. As  189  well, the curriculum destabilizes narrow neoliberal models of subjectivity that desexualize queer women. A discourse of intersectionality and anti-oppression challenges universalism, however it functions in complex and contradictory ways — to complicate generic models of subjectivity and relationship violence in some cases, but also to reinscribe them most often through white feminist moves of dominance. The presence of discourses of benevolence and racial innocence (“being good nonracist feminists”) position white queer women not only as the norm but also as “benevolent helpers” to racialized others. This exploration raises a number of areas for future research, education and organizing work. Clearly there are different levels of engagement with neoliberal agendas (Richardson, 2005), and the contradictions in the Safe Choices program reveal this. These discourses and techniques of governance, however, are insidious and their normalizing power is often secured through common-sense language. The limited funds and excessive state monitoring of the program greatly impacted our capacity to invest resources in curriculum development, facilitator training, mentoring and grassroots community organizing. While queer anti-violence initiatives need stable financial resources to accomplish their work, I am also mindful of how a reliance on state funding can create increased surveillance of social movements, thus constraining our ability to challenge racist, classist and (hetero)sexist state policies and practices. My analysis is similar to the critique of the non-profit industrial complex by Incite! Women of Colour Against Violence Against Women (2007; see also Russo & Spatz, 2007), which highlights the regulatory state structures and systems that non-profit organizations must follow and that regulate and constrain our social justice work. I do not  190  see simple or easy answers to the dilemmas and questions raised about the impacts of state funding and neoliberal ideologies on the LGBTQ and anti-violence movements. But as anti-violence and queer activists, we must engage with one another in a critical dialogue about some of these paradoxes and pitfalls with our reliance on state funding and explore creative strategies for transformation of social movements that resist processes of bureaucratization. This also requires looking at the role of the state in perpetrating violence and the forms of state violence in queer women’s lives. We need to exercise caution about the development of “best practice models” given the growing alliance between feminist anti-violence and LGBTQ organizations and the neoliberal state. While developing these tools can be helpful in sharing knowledge and encouraging consistency, neoliberal trends suggest that best practice models and educational tools can become techniques of governance and contribute to rigidified and universalist analyses that perpetuate normative constructions and exclusions. Similarly, we must continue to resist the professionalization of social movements, instead encouraging collective peer resource and community mobilizing strategies as well as on-going dialogue and critically reflexive dialogue about the values guiding our choices and how these expert and professional discourses shape our violence and health prevention efforts within non-profit organizations. Through this, we can examine how these discourses produce us as dominant normative queer and feminist subjects and ask how we are accountable to marginalized communities struggling for social justice. In these collective and self-reflexive efforts we need to move away from a moral and regulating stance and keep focused instead on an ethical stance (Ristock, 2002, p. 170). A strength in the Safe Choices curriculum is the frequency with which the  191  narrative reminds facilitators to think critically about the inclusions and exclusions produced through language, how it foregrounds the social construction of knowledge and is grounded in popular education philosophy. But the “critical” language we use can lend itself to the same techniques of governance that we critique (Ahmed, 2004, p. 9), and as programs become more established, often popular education strategies and philosophy fade as facilitators fall back on more familiar and state-supported social service models. For dominant feminist and queer subjects, this stresses the importance of staying implicated in what we critique, attending to our responsibility and accountability, while at the same time, moving away from a focus on ourselves as hegemonic (white, middle-class, able-bodied) subjects (Ahmed, 2004, p. 59). Anti-violence strategies for queer women need to place the experiences of women of colour, Indigenous women and low-income women at the centre, rather than focusing on increased accessibility or specific multicultural programs (Smith, 2004). This requires not only addressing institutional power and hierarchical relations within feminist and LGBTQ organizations and widening the circle of power and opportunity, but critically examining how white and middle-class cultural norms and practices are produced and legitimized as natural even through the use of “diversity” or “intersectionality” rhetoric (Ward, 2008) in a neoliberal context. It also means working on grassroots political issues that are not typically defined by white and middle-class queers and feminists as “queer anti-violence issues.” For example, community organizing with queer women around issues such as welfare cuts, racist immigration policies, on-going struggles for Indigenous sovereignty, police violence or the structural violence imbedded in state programs such as the Live-In Caregiver Program in Canada (for example, see Pratt,  192  2005). Similarly queer anti-violence prevention initiatives could focus resources on strengthening relationships and alliances with grassroots groups working on these struggles for racial, economic and spatial justice. The Safe Choices program did participate in events surrounding many of these issues, however the requirement to meet the programs’ “deliverables and outcomes” (as defined by the funders) often meant there was little space to expand in new ways and the focus became service delivery (workshops) despite a desire to work from a social justice and community-organizing framework. My analysis of the healthy queer relationship curriculum suggests that we bring greater attention to how “health” as a category is never neutral, universal or inherently good, and the way healthy relationships are constructed through various normalizing discourses. This requires greater understanding of which models of “health” and “family” are sanctioned by the neoliberal and colonial state and whether our feminist and queer anti-violence prevention and health promotion efforts destabilize or prop up white and middle-class nationalist agendas. It means resisting trends towards white middleclass homonormative relationship models and (re)envisioning the many ways queer women can and do form non-violent and ethical intimate relationships. We can focus on promoting ideas about subjectivity, health and citizenship that are not only relational, but that further stress the interconnections of the socio-economic and political contexts of queer women’s lives and the way these contexts shape our understandings of queer women’s health, relationships and violence through normalizing frames. I explore the interlocking nature of these issues further in the next chapter, where I critically investigate the relational and multiscalar geographies of violence and  193  belonging through a close examination of whiteness, hetero and homonormativity the surrounding anti-LGBTQ violence and Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in the Western Canadian city of Kelowna, BC.  194  Chapter Seven: Contested geographies of violence and belonging: Queering discourses of tolerance and gay rights in a white settler Western Canadian city The hegemonic national story of Canada is framed around the central themes of tolerance, multiculturalism and universal belonging. Yet this story masks the everyday material, discursive and spatial relations of violence and un-belonging that are hierarchically produced in a white settler society such as Canada. As such it also masks the interlocking and contested nature of geographies of belonging in Canada and how they are racialized, gendered, heterosexed and classed. This chapter explores some of these contested geographies of belonging (Anderson, 2000) and violence in Canada, by examining the interlocking nature of race, sexuality and space in discourses within stories surrounding Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in the mid-sized Western Canadian city of Kelowna, British Columbia. I focus specifically on the period from 1996-2007, as 1996 was the first year that Lesbian and Gay Pride Day took place in this city — an event which sparked controversy and struggles over what Henri Lefebvre (1968) called the “right to the city,” which he described as the right to inhabit, appropriate and participate in the production of urban space (Mitchell, 2003). In the following year, the city’s next Mayor refused to include the word “pride” in a Lesbian and Gay Pride Day city proclamation requested by a local gay and lesbian coalition. His primary motivation was that “he did not approve of homosexual behaviour and did not want to appear to be supporting or approving or endorsing a homosexual lifestyle” (Okanagan Rainbow Coalition v. City of Kelowna, 2000). The coalition filed a human rights complaint, which resulted in a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal where members of the local lesbian and gay communities spoke  195  about the relationship between the mayor’s actions, homophobia, and a lack of safety for LGBTQ people in the space of the city. In 2000, the tribunal Chair ruled that the mayor’s actions were discriminatory under provincial human rights legislation. These struggles are not unique to Kelowna, British Columbia or Canada. Accordingly, in this chapter I use the controversies surrounding Kelowna’s 1996-1997 Lesbian and Gay Pride Day as a case study of a specific event to examine how we construct and imagine belonging, safety, violence, and queer rights in the space of the city in white settler societies more generally. The struggle for rights produces space in particular ways, through rules of law, the construction of public and private spaces, and boundary enforcements (Mitchell, 2003). Places are defined, produced and called upon in struggles over rights (Blomley & Pratt, 2001). The politics of rights and space intersect in Canada in specific ways that reflect the country’s colonial nation-building history and its contemporary rights culture entrenched in Canadian political discourse through the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Blomley & Pratt, 2001). In this chapter I explore the following questions: What are the discourses surrounding Kelowna’s 1996-1997 Lesbian and Gay Pride Day and what “work” do they do? What can this analysis tell us about how geographies of violence and belonging in LGBTQ communities, are linked to the violence of colonialism and nation-building in a white settler society such as Canada? How is the city of Kelowna produced as a white heteronormative and bourgeois space? What stories are told about places and whats kind of understandings of violence