People of Color Mobilization in LGBT Movements in the Netherlands and the United States

Authored by: Nicholas Boston , Jan Willem Duyvendak

The Ashgate Research Companion to Lesbian and Gay Activism

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409457091
eBook ISBN: 9781315613147
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042914


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This chapter offers a comparative historical analysis of the disputes that have spurred people of color to mobilize on a platform of “race” within mainstream, white-dominated LGBT movements, and the ideological postures they assumed in doing so, in two national contexts: the Netherlands and the United States. We revisit crucial transition points in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries transpiring in both countries at which LGBT people of color (henceforth LGBT PoC) launched campaigns for distinctiveness under the banner of racial difference within, or sometimes separate from, mainstream movements. Comparing the Dutch and US cases, we see that, initially, there had been a divergence between these two contexts in the positioning of LGBT PoC vis-à-vis the state, which, in turn, necessitated divergent strategies of mobilization. This formation, of course, depended on who counted as a “person of color” and the very meaning of the category for political action. In this chapter, then, we discuss the particular historical sequences that account for this divergence in national contexts.

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