'Becoming queer children: The heterochronology of sexual citizenship, and homonormative temporalities of resistance.'
Citizenship discourse is invariably grounded in the language of progressive futurity. According to Edelman (2005), this emphasis on futurity is projected onto the discursively non-negotiable figure of the child. However, this paper seeks to discuss how the queer child disrupts this account of the child as a proto-sexual, proto-citizen. What are the temporalities of the queer child? Recently, much critical attention has been paid to the tacit heteronormativity encoded in dominant contemporary discourses of time and citizenship. Subjects with non-normative sexualities have had an uncomfortable relationship with time since the emergence of early sexological accounts situated us as the casualties of arrested or incomplete development. Halberstam (2005), Ahmed (2006) and Freeman (2010) have addressed how queer subjects’ experiences of time can radically subvert or disorient heteronormative accounts of subject formation, by problematising the cultural significance of inheritance, intergenerational exchange, and rites of passage. If heteronormative rites of passage such as marriage and reproduction enable the individual to suture his or herself to society through entering into intergenerational contracts of investment and return, what temporalities can queer bodies occupy? This paper seeks to address the ways sexuality influences how (or whether) we become citizen subjects. Whilst acknowledging heteronormative developmental chronologies as mechanisms for policing citizenship, this paper will focus on the destabilising role of the queer child as ‘becoming-citizen’. Stockton (2009) has described the figure of the queer child as always already a retrospectively constructed from a queer adult subject position. However, what happens when queer children are more vocal social agents at younger ages, and begin to express their own homonormative accounts of becoming sexual citizens? This paper will discuss these temporalities of resistance as they are performed by young queer subjects themselves.
I am a PhD student at Cardiff University co-supervised between the School of Social Sciences and the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory. My thesis is about the ways queer young people in Wales (aged 16-25) negotiate the concept of maturity in relation to ideas about community and identity. I'm a member of the Young Sexualities research group, and my research interests include homonormativities, queer phenomenology and queer temporalities, participatory methodologies and community engagement.
from our workshop on Power, Time and Agency held in Manchester, January 2013