Introduction : Transnational lesbian culture

Bauer, Heike and Mahn, Churnjeet (2014) Introduction : Transnational lesbian culture. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 18 (3). pp. 203-208. ISSN 1540-3548

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Abstract

This special issue examines the transnational shape and shaping of lesbian lives and cultures in and across China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It uses the expression “transnational lesbian cultures” to suggest that despite sometimes radically different sociopolitical and cultural contexts, the lived experiences of same-sex desire and their emotional attachments create particular affinities between women who love women, affinities that reach across the distinct cultural and social contexts that shape them. The articles brought together explore lesbian subcultures, film, graphic novels, music, and online intimacies. They show that as a cultural and political signifier and as an analytical tool, lesbian troubles and complicates contemporary sexual politics, not least by revealing some of the gendered structures that shape debates about sexuality in a range of critical, cultural and political contexts. While the individual pieces cover a wide range of issues and concerns—which are often highly specific to the historical, cultural, and political contexts they discuss—together they tell a story about contemporary transnational lesbian culture: one that is marked by intricate links between norms and their effects and shaped by the efforts to resist denial, discrimination, and sometimes even active persecution.