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Type: Journal article
Title: Analysing the politics of same-sex issues in a comparative perspective: The strange similarities between John Howard and Mahathir Mohamad
Author: Johnson, C.
Citation: Intersections: gender and sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, 2006; 14:1-17
Publisher: Murdoch University
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 1440-9151
Statement of
Carol Johnson
Abstract: This article addresses the comparative politics of same-sex relationships. It begins by acknowledging the need to develop culturally-specific strategies for recognition of lgbtq relationships, including the same-sex relationships on which this article mainly focuses. However, it argues that while one needs to acknowledge the different forms which lgbtq relationships can take in different countries, there can also be some surprising similarities in the discourse used by conservative politicians who oppose recognising same-sex relationships. In order to make its case, I present a case study involving two very different politicians. I analyse the Howard government's opposition to the recognition of same-sex relationships in Australia. That case study is then contrasted with the views of a politician, whose 'Asian values' approach has led to critiques of western attitudes towards homosexuality, namely Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Contrary to Mahathir's analysis, his own views are shown to bear some similarities with those of John Howard. In short, while there may be significant differences in lgbtq identities across cultures, there can be significant similarities in the heteronormative discourses which marginalise those identities.
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