Queer Peace and Security Secrets

Jamie Hagen, Queen's University Belfast

Lesbian feminist organizing has played a significant role in women’s peacebuilding work, including in anti-war and abolitionist organizing. Yet women’s lesbian and queer identities are continually silenced/erased in the history told about the women’s peacebuilding movement, and feminist strategies for resisting patriarchal violence. What can explain the silence about these lesbian and queer lives in the American and UK women’s peacebuilding movements?  How does this silencing perpetuate heteronormative practices in gender, peace and security work? This project considers how queer people, especially women, in peace and security work continue to remain invisible even in work to promote a gender perspective in peace and security spaces. Ultimately, this project seeks to understand whether this invisibility of queer lives is the result of strategic secrecy or silencing or of ignorance on behalf of academic, activist and policy actors. Part of this work is also articulating the complex ways people align themselves with LGBTQ identities and how this has shifted historically when working in international security spaces such as the United Nations.