Recognizing LGBTQ+ Faces Beyond the Mauritian Nation-State

Authored by: Ryan Poinasamy

Routledge Handbook of African Popular Culture

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367483869
eBook ISBN: 9781003080855
Adobe ISBN:


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In Mauritius, citizenship is primarily defined by ethnic and religious affiliation. Minority rights, therefore, are privileged in relation to the recognition of ancestral cultures and do not encompass the multiple forms of marginalisation which different individuals may experience with respect to class, physical ability, gender and sexuality. By focusing primarily on (i) the dating practices of MDM (Men Desiring Other Men) on Grindr (a queer online dating platform) and (ii) the sensibility campaigns produced by Collectif Arc-en-Ciel (a local NGO on the islands), this chapter would consider the affective experiences of the LGBTQ+ community which have not yet entered the political public sphere. These sources demonstrate how an online LGBTQ+ counterpublic challenges political frames by participating in queer utopic world-making to provide recognition for its members in three ways: (i) by subverting the identity documents previously used to discriminate against it, (ii) by reiterating dominant nation-state tropes to encompass previously unrecognised LGBTQ+ identities, and (iii) by simultaneously looking beyond the nation-state in order to explore a cosmopolitan worldview characterised by relational identities.

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