(UPDATED) Understanding the complexities of transnational queer tourism


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(UPDATED) Understanding the complexities of transnational queer tourism

  1. 1. Spencer RuelosDr. K. BerryUnderstandingthe Complexities of Transnational Queer Tourism:An Intersectional Feminist and Post-Colonial AnalysisOver the past decade, many of those who supportand identity with the mainstream LGBT movement haveheralded and celebrated the inclusion of LGBT people in the mainstream consumer market and popular culture.LGBT people (especially the G‘s) can be found in commercialsfor alcohol, television shows, auto rentals, touristcruises, and vacation getaways. What this celebratory and ―inclusive‖ narrative fails to incorporate are thecomplexities, contradictions, and inequalities inherent in many acts of LGBT inclusion, especially within thepurview of global queer tourism. In order to tend to these complexities as presented in the literature ontransnational queer tourism, I will explore the racialized, gendered, classed, and sexualized effects of gay tourism onspecific cultures and transnational spaces in order to illustrate how global queer reproduces processes ofcolonization and systems of inequalities while reifying the neocolonial categories of race, class, gender, nation, andsexuality. To begin our discussion of the complexities of global queer tourism, this paper will begin by historicizingthe emergence of the gay and lesbian niche market and examining how corporations and transnational gay travelguides position specific queer-identified person as actors and objects in this global consumer market.The secondsection of this essay will then shift to examining the complexities in the crafting of specific tourist destinations orsexscapes as ‗gay-friendly.‘ In the third and final section of this literature review, we will explore the complexitiesand sociocultural effects of transnational queer tourism in Thailand, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. Throughoutthe discussion of transnational queer tourism, I stress the importance of an intersectional feminist analysis and apost-colonial theoretical lens, ultimately arguing that these two specific frameworks allow us to understand thecomplexities that global queer tourism brings forward.Positioning the Queer ConsumerThe shift in marketing strategies that target queers as primary consumers is a relatively recent phenomenon.It is generally agreed upon that gay and lesbian marketing segment was particularly galvanized in the 80s and 90smostly by AIDS epidemic and the subsequent desire of gays and lesbians to become more visible in the mainstream(Puar 2002a:105; Pritchard et al. 1998:274). This desire for visibility, however, has contributed to the colonizationof the new gay and lesbian niche market by hetero-patriarchal capitalism. According to Alexander, ―heterosexualcapital‘s gesture of rolling out the ‗welcome mat‘ [to gay and lesbian consumers] has less to do with hospitality thanwith the creation of a new consumer and a new market… both of which must be [colonized]‖ (Alexander 2005:71).In the mid 1990s, companies began hiring gays and lesbians in order to help target the interests of this new queerconsumer, thereby attempting to acquire the queer dollar and its ‗untold millions‘ (Alexander 2005:73).These desiresof neo-imperial capitalistic expansion and extraction of wealth illustrate the connection between the emergence ofthe global queer tourist market and reproduction of colonial discourses and processes.Despite this seemingly more queer-inclusive shift to marketing strategies, one very specific and idealizedqueer body—which is simultaneously racialized, nationalized, gendered, and classed—is positioned as the primary
  2. 2. Ruelos 2queer consumer. Utilizing an intersectional feminist analysis reveals some of the power dynamics inherent in thisrepresentation and positioning of the queer consumer. Alexander provides a useful foundation for our discussion:―[T]he quintessential homosexual consumer within the contemporary racialized, gendered political economy of theUnited States is invented and imagined as male and white‖ (Alexander 2005:72). Building upon Alexander‘sdiscussion, Rushbrook calls attention to the politics of difference and the production of racializedOtherness.―When the normal is white straightness, the spatialization of difference or deviation in mutually exclusive,oppositional zones in a hierarchy of places reinforces the production of queerness as white‖ (Rushbrook 2002:185).One could also argue that this same production of difference creates a masculinized homosexual subjectivity as theideal consumer, one that Alexander describes as akin to the real Marlboro man (Alexander 2005:72). Alexander andPritchard, Morgan and Sedgely very briefly mention the positioning of this imagined and idealized gay consumer asable-bodied. Thus the invention of the queer (or, more appropriately, gay) consumer idealizes a gendered,masculinized, racialized, and able capitalist body.Another intersection in the construction of the gay consumer concerns both the subject‘s education andsocio-economic class. The development of the new gay and lesbian niche market was rooted in the assumption thatgays and lesbians were on average more educated than their heterosexual counterparts, producing an above-averageannual household income (Alexander 2005:72; Puar 2002a:109, 2002b:937; Pritchard et al. 1998:275). However,Puar and Pritchard Morgan, and Sedgelychallenge the homogenous assertions of these statistics by arguing thatbecause of gender discrimination in the work place,lesbian couples in fact earn on average lower incomes than thoseof gay male couples (Pritchard et al. 1998:275) and possibly even less than heterosexual couples (Puar 2002a:110,2002b:938). Companies within the gay and lesbian travel industry also position queer couples (and especially gaycouples) as hyper-consumers, taking this increased dual income and the absence of children as fact for all queerconsumers (Puar 2002b:937). Because of these frightful assumptions, however, many queer bodies—i.e. lesbians,queers of color, working class and poor queers, queer with disabilities, and (as we will soon talk about) Third Worldqueers and trans-identified queers—are rendered invisible through this normalization of the queer tourist as a white,middle-class, well-educated gay man.Exploring the level of analysis that both Alexander and Puar provide allows us to understand how the gaytravel guides and websitesreproduce neocolonial narratives and perpetuate this idealized queer consumer. In heranalysis of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and Spartacus gay travel guides,Alexander presents several ways in which these media replicate colonial tendencies:o the reproduction of boundaries of colonial geography;o the positioning of the writer, imagined reader, and targeted tourist as white and Western;o the nativist discourse which construct the ‗character‘ of Third Word people, for example as ‗friendly‘,‗exotic‘, and ‗primitive;‘
  3. 3. Ruelos 3o andthe paradisiacal framework of the geography which reifies the construction of the exotified ThirdWorld Other.Drawing upon Gita Patel‘s notion of the nativization of fetishes, Alexander discusses that this Third World queerbody only exists within the colonial narrative and in ―the authentic local geography‖ in order to fit into the―colonialist fantasy‖ (Alexander 2005: 85). Because of this, autochthonous and Third World queer persons are notpositioned as travelers, but rather only as sexual and commoditized queer bodies to be experienced and consumedby the idealized Euro-American gay tourist. While acknowledging the consumption and commoditization of thefetishized and Third World/native queer body, Puar in contrastfocuses her analytical framework around the imagesof the positioned European queer nationals. She ultimately argues that by juxtaposing white, middle-class gay menagainst rainbow colors and national monuments and flags, gay travel industries invent and imagine gay (and lesbian)inclusion and authenticity in the nation state (Puar 2002a: 113). This discursive construction of European queernationals typifies Alexander‘s claim that the writer and reader are positioned white, Western gay men. Puar alsopresents a list of countries which guides have positioned as ―homophobic sites‖, all of which happen to be ―non-Western‖ countries (e.g. Peru, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Bavaria). In doing so, the guides situate the West withcolonial assumptions of progress and liberation, whereas these Third World countries embody intolerant anduncivilized ideologies. Both Alexander and Puar provide key analytical frameworks to understanding how gay travelguides create both an imagined gay tourist and an imagined, nativized queer Other, thereby illustrating several waysin which global queer tourism employs neocolonial discourses.Spatial Construction of a Transnational Queer SexscapeIn addition to the positioning of an ideal queer consumer, understanding the discursive construction of aqueer travel destination also sheds light in the neocolonial processes of global queer tourism. Several authorsexplore how the label ‗gay-friendly‘ is used to craft that which Murray calls queer tourist sexscape, a term used todescribe a designated queer space whichhe adapts from Arjun Appadurai‘s terminology regarding transnationalismand global cultural flows (Murray 2007: 58). Through an examination of the literature, three dominantcharacteristics emerge which construct a transnational queer tourist sexscape: the existence of a well-known gaypopulation, the creation of queer festivals and events, and the positive status of LGBT rights. However, retainingour post-colonial and intersectional feminist analytical frameworks complicate the construction of ‗gay-friendly‘queer sexscapes by bringing forward a discussion of neocolonial redeployments and systems of inequalities.Pritchard, Morgan, and Sedgely (1998) describe the first dominant characteristic of ‗gay-friendly‘ sexscapesas gay infrastructure, i.e. the existence of a core gay population. In their analysis, they discuss how the Europeanand American cities—specifically Amsterdam, Manchester, and San Francisco (more on San Francisco, see alsoBoyd 2008)—have become prime sitesfor gay tourism because of their large, established concentrations of gayresidents. However, looking back at Alexander‘s analysis extends this claim to Third World locales as well; forexample, the colonialist and nativist discourses of travel guides conceptualize Burundi as traditionally bisexual
  4. 4. Ruelos 4(Alexander 2005: 84-5).Closely tethered to this is the construction of a ―tradition of tolerance,‖ where travelcompanies position both specific Western countries (e.g. the Netherlands and France) and non-Western locales (e.g.Indonesia) as free of homophobia (Pritchard et al. 1998: 278, Puar 2002a: 113, Alexander 2005: 83). Thus, thepresentation of an established gay population and the assumed lack of homophobia provide a relatively convincingconstruction of a ‗gay-friendly‘ tourist destination.Equally important to note is how a sense of homotemporality—or queer time—actively shapes theembodiment of a queer tourist sexscape. Pritchard, Morgan and Sedgely (1998) stress the crucial role that eventslike gay pride parades, the Gay Games, and Mardi Gras festivals have played on promoting global gay-friendlytourist destinations. In his own research on gay and lesbian tourism, Markwell illustrates how Sydney‘s Mardi Grashas created a sense of gay place and time, while simultaneously positioning Sydney as an international gay andlesbian city. Surveying the literature himself, Markwell argues that events like Mardi Gras contribute to theimagined postmodern city as a site for pleasure, fun, and consumption (Markwell 2002: 87). Whereas Pritchard,Morgan, and Sedgely emphasize the importance of gay places, Markwell examines the implications ofhomotemporality (what he terms ―gay times‖) on the construction of transnational queer tourist sexscapes. MardiGras provides an example of this homotemporality, when one month out of the year has an increased focus on gayand lesbian issues (Markwell 2002: 89). Markwell argues that while this does have positive implications for thequeer community, there is a risk that gay and lesbian socio-political issues are ignored outside of the Mardi Gras gaytime (―the danger of ‗temporal containment‘‖ [Markwell 2002: 89]). However, because of the increased success ofits Mardi Gras festival, Sydney has become known as an international gay and lesbian city, where cosmopolitanqueer consumers are called forth in order to participate in queer celebratory events during the month of February.In doing so, Sydney‘s Mardi Gras as an event provides a critical discussion of place and time in the spatialconstruction of a queer tourist sexscape.While both the existence of a gay population and creation of gay events are crucial to the construction of atransnational queer tourist sexscape, Boyd (2008) argues that the status of LGBT/queer rights plays the mostimportant role in the construction of a ‗gay-friendly‘ tourist destination. Specifically, he argues that the US-basedgay marriage movement has contributed to the growth of the global gay tourist economy, while simultaneouslydisciplining consumers by producing homonormativity—that is, a normalized set of ideologies and behaviors thatasserts citizenship rights for gays and lesbians via neoliberal politics and conspicuous consumption. The creation ofthe gay and lesbian niche market, as I have touched upon, contextualizes queer consumption as a vehicle for bothvisibility and civil rights, where neocolonial discourses also equate spending with citizenship rights. Because of this,same-sex marriage has become a tourist attraction in which same-sex couples can participate and get married,thereby demonstrating their citizenship rights through both the act of getting married and the participation inconsumer culture. Gay marriage and gay tourism together thus create ―a new kind of queer consumer [who istaught to be a good citizen through the participation] of civic life via the social rituals of marriage and the
  5. 5. Ruelos 5commercial rituals of conspicuous consumption‖ (Boyd 2008: 228). However, Boyd does point out that with thespread of the gay marriage movement internationally, a new global queer citizen/consumer assumes the ―modernqueer sexuality‖ which emphasizes neocolonial messages about Western sexual liberation and freedom throughcitizenship, civil rights, and ‗out‘ visibility.Hence, the placement of LGBT rights in the forefront of the constructionof a queer sexscape is rendered problematic through a post-colonial theoretical lens.Making use ofour post-colonial and intersectional feminist analytical frameworks also complicates theproduction of transnational ―gay-friendly‖ tourist sexscapes as a whole. Firstly, several authors discuss how thepromotion of a tourist destination with an established and popularized queer community and events can lead to acommoditization of queer identities by (cis-gendered) heterosexual travelers and ultimately a de-gaying of queersexscapes (Pritchard et al. 1998: 279, Rushbrook 2002: 191). For example, queer commodities can becomecommodities for heterosexual spectators at gay pride events and drag shows. The influx of heterosexual tourists toManchester hasalso been known to cause local queer residents to feel unsafe and not welcome within their own gayspace. Targeted as a sexually Otherized body, some local and non-local queers can become neocolonial spectaclesfor white, neocolonizing heterosexuals. Secondly, the economic incentive in positioning of a queer sexscape allow(often) heterosexual capitalists, nationals, and organizations access to an increasingly developing consumer market,illustrative of the insatiable neoimperial capitalist desire to generate revenue. Finally, the construction of a queersexscape through both gay events and LGBT rights lead to the romanticization of geographies, assuming that allqueer spaces are without inequalities. As many of the authors I examined point out, this claiming of a queersexscape forefronts sexuality and sexual identity, which simultaneously erases and renders other categories ofdifference—like race, class, gender, nation, ability, and sexual identities different from gay, lesbian or straight—invisible (Rushbrook 2002: 184, Puar 2002a: 112, Puar 2002b: 936, Pritchard et al. 1998: 274). As a result, thenormalization of the sexual and idealized queer consumer reproduces systems of inequalities based on categoricaldifferences and the neocolonial politics of representation. Overall, the label ―gay-friendly‖ may not be as all-inclusive as it may seem; the crafting of a transnational queer sexscape as a tourist destination continues to drawupon neocolonial tendencies that perpetuate systems of equality.Exploring Queer Tourism through Case StudiesIn this final section of the paper, we will explore the ways in global queer tourism have affected the specificglobal locales of Thailand,Mexico, and the Czech Republic with the reproduction of colonial discourses and systemsof inequality. By building upon the previously discussed theoretical frameworks that we have explored, we willunderstand how neocolonial processes of global queer tourism have specifically shaped the experience of touristsand local peoples within each of specific locations.Trans Medical Tourism in ThailandAs I briefly mentioned earlier, trans tourism has almost always been absent in the travel guides and literatureon global queer tourism. Despite its absence, however, it seems that medical tourism sought after by trans-
  6. 6. Ruelos 6identified individuals is still mediated through neocolonial processes, the exotification of Third World cultures, andglobal neoliberal politics. Aizura, one of the lone authors who has examined trans medical tourism, illustrates this inhis research on gender reassignment surgical(GRS) tourism in Thailand.In the first section of his article, Aizura explains how Thailand in part functions as a transnational transsexscape.―Medical travel to Thailand has become a large industry since 2000, facilitated by governments eager to finda new source of international revenue in the wake of the 1997 Asian economic crisis…‖ (Aizura 2010: 5).Consequently,Thai surgeons have crafted a trans ―sexscape‖ in a sense through the position of Thailand as the―‘Mecca‘ of transsexual body modification‖ (Aizura 2010: 2).Because of this increase in foreign travelers to Thailandfor GRS, the once domestic market for reassignment surgery has shifted directly because of the globalization of theeconomy to a transnational luxury service. As we have seen before, the existence of a Thai gender variant also helpsposition Thailand as a trans sexscape. Several Thai trans clinics evenmarket themselves within these tourismdiscourses by providing four-star hotel accommodation and classes, excursions and activities during convalescence.Through these somewhat familiar processes we can begin see how Thailand is positioned as a trans sexscape.After elaborating on the construction of Thailand as a medical tourist travel destination, Aizura describesthe experience of two trans women to illustrate the complexities of cultural appropriation and the incorporation of―Thainess‖ into these women‘s experience. During Melanie‘s trip to Thailand to meet with her surgeon aboutcompleting her GRS surgery in 2007, she bought a painting of a Thai goddess who she described as ―Kinnaree…it‘sthe representation of a goddess of earth. Feminine grace, beauty‖ (Aizura 2010: 9).Unknown to her, Melanie hadactually confused the goddess Kinnaree with the goddess Mae Phra Thoranee. After eventually returning toAmerica, Melanie got a tattoo of Kinnaree on her shoulder and would begin describing this goddess withcharacteristics of Mae Phra Thoranee. According to Aizura post-colonial theorists have critiqued these forms ofcultural appropriation of ―exotic‖ and ―primitive‖ tattooing, which is seen as an ethnicized commoditization of thecultural Other (Aizura 2010: 10). A similar discussion of appropriation can be seen with Elizabeth, an Australiantrans woman who set ablaze her removed testicles and presented them as an offering in the fishpond of aTheravada Buddhist temple. While both women could be seen as appropriators who participate in practices whichconstruct Thailand as an exotic and ethnicized Third World country, Aizura argues these practices cannot be strictlyseen as neocolonial and orientalist appropriations:They need to be read as an effect of Melanie and Elizabeth gaining the space to perform their own femininegenders in relative, and temporary, freedom [which] enables both individuals to imagine rituals marking theevent of gender reassignment, incorporating something of the geocultural location in which they feel sorespected and recognized. (Aizura 2010: 16)Thus this supplementing of femininity through tattooing and the incorporation of Buddhist beliefs in a self-designed ritual complicate the neocolonial context of such practices. While these practices are disciplinary in the
  7. 7. Ruelos 7creation of an orientalist and exotified Other, they are emancipatory in that they allow these women to carve outspaces where they can freely negotiate their own gender identities.Mexican Sexual Colonization and LiberationContinuing the this discussion of disciplinary and emancipatory effects of global gay tourism, Cantú arguesthat in order to understand the complexities of American gay tourism in Mexico one must understand the processesof sexual colonization and liberation at work. To foreground this complexity, Cantú discusses the historical andeconomic relationship between the US and Mexico. The economic ties between Mexico and the US have beenparticularly developed through Mexico‘s membership in the WTO, GATT, and NAFTA, stimulating both socialand cultural ties between the two countries (Cantú 2002: 143). One of these ties has created a movement of peoplesacross the borders both from the north to the south and both legally and illegally; unfortunately, however, crossingthe border has proven to be more difficult for Mexicans who might be branded as homosexuals. It is because ofthis that the globalization of economy in Mexico through its relationships with the US has lead to the migrations ofMexican queer men and women to urban areas for better economic alternatives.With the development of tourismindustry in the 1960s, the migrations of both Mexican queers and American tourists to Mexican urban centers havelead to the development and commodification of Mexican gay culture through transnational gay tourism (Cantú2002: 144). Consequently, according to Cantú, this has sparked the new emerging Western gay identity for bothmen and women and the overshadowing of the previous ambiente identity.Since this development of transnational gay tourism, new guidebooks on Mexican gay travel have emergedwhich depict the workings of sexual conquest through the redeployment of colonial process of sexual exotification.These guides, following the same methods that the previous guides we have discussed have, focus on sexuality andtarget an American male audience. Firstly, in the covers of the guides that Cantú provides all the Mexican men areat least shirtless, symbolizing their sexual readiness and availability. Secondly, the representations of Mexico in theseguidebooks are twofold: one depiction of Mexico as ―just like home‖ and a second as an exotic, Third Worldcountry which tempts the colonialists desire to be explored and conquered.Yet for queer tourism there also exists a ―border‖ tension between the lure of an exotic paradise and thedangers of homophobia in foreign lands. Here Mexico seems to represent a homosexual paradise free of thepressures of a modern ‗gay life style,‘ where sexuality exists in its ‗raw‘ form yet where the dangers of anuncivilized heterosexual authority also threaten. (Cantú 2002: 148).It is easy to see how these guides embody the discourses of sexual conquest and neocolonial representations ofThird World locations and peoples by crafting a sexualand racialized Other as a commodity for American gaytourists.While it‘s clear to see that the guides present a problematic framework and representation, transnational gaytourism has complex implications on the lives of Mexican gay men and women which can be seen as bothdisciplinary and liberatory. As Cantú illustrates the emergence of the gay and lesbian tourist market in Europe
  8. 8. Ruelos 8created the foundations for the development of the gay and lesbian movement in Mexico (Cantú 2002: 155).Tourism has also sparked the migration of same-sex sexual couples to the States, which itself can be seen asliberatory and disciplinary. In many instances, same-sex sexual couples decide to traverse the US-Mexico border inorder to create better opportunities for themselves and their families. However, often when same-sex sexualcouples from Mexico do arrive in the US they are faced with homophobia and racism, despite the claim that the―modern‖ US is more liberal than developing countries like Mexico (Cantú 2002: 155, 157). Another beneficialfactor that global gay tourism has brought to Mexico have been tools for combating HIV/AIDS, ultimatelyproviding condoms, lubricants, medications, and literature to promote HIV/AIDS activism. One of the more orless shocking influences on Mexican gay men‘s lives has been the embodiment of colonialist desires for conquest inelite Mexican men. For example, upper-class Mexican man named Franco describes his tourism in Cuba: ―‗the menin Cuba are fantastic. I always take some extra things like cologne and clothes. Cuban men will fuck you for a Nikebaseball cap‘‖ (Cantú 2002: 156). Through this description, we see how Franco embodies a (neo)colonizer‘ssubjectivity by seeking sexual conquest in the exotified Cuba and by creating a colonial knowledge about thesexuality of Cuban men. These are some of the diverse impacts on Mexican gay men and women‘s lives that situateglobal gay tourism in Mexico within a disciplinary, yet concurrently liberatory framework.European Otherness: Colonial Knowledge Production of Czech ‘Boys’ in PragueOne final case study that provides some distinctive insights into the effects of transnational queer tourismconcerns the relationship between Czech bodies in Prague and the neocolonial desires of Austrian gay male tourists.In his essay, Bunzl follows Pratt‘s analytical framework by arguing that Prague‘s gay scene can be envisioned as a―contact zone:‖ a neocolonial location which reifies a Western/Eastern European dichotomy and where the relationbetween Czech ‗boys‘ and Austrian ‗men‘ is predicated on sexual, racial/ethnic, geocultural,and socioeconomicsystems of inequalities (Bunzl 2000: 71). At this neocolonial contact zone, Austrian (Western) gay male tourists liveout their neocolonial fantasies to have sexual encounters with Czech (Eastern) gay male bodies. It is important tonote that transnational tourism perpetuates these racial/ethnic/geographic categories of difference between Easternand Western Europe despite the ―Eastern transition‖ into a new Europe through the membership of the EuropeanUnion. Because of these imagined categories of difference, Austrian gay tourists constantly position Prague‘s gayscene as a site for Eastern (same-sex) sexual Otherness.By focusing his ethnographic work on the experience of Austrian gay male tourists, Bunzl illustrates theways in which transnational gay tourism of Austrian men operates under the neocolonial production of knowledgeabout Czech same-sex sexual culture and sexuality (Bunzl 2000: 82). In parallel to the sense of danger that Cantúdescribes in Mexico, Bunzl portrays many Austrian men‘s initial experience as fearful of the perils of traveling to anunknown environment (illustrative of Prague as a neocolonial contact zone). In this sense, Prague can be seen as a―heart of darkness,‖ which must be explored by the Western gay male tourist in order to demystify and familiarizeoneself with the Eastern sexual Other. This neocolonial desire for knowledge production justifies the
  9. 9. Ruelos 9subjectification (and consequently objectification) of Czech same-sex sexuality. Bunzl also comments of the effectsof socioeconomic class and age in the positioning of Czech same-sex sexuality. He depicts how Austrians produceknowledge of about Czech sexuality through the constant description of Czech gay men as ‗boys.‘ While bringingto the forefront a racialized age as a neocolonial category of difference, Austrian positioning of Czech boyssimultaneously superimposes the dependency of Eastern bodies on class-privileged Western tourists. This alsocontinues to justify the desire of Austrian men to travel and explore Czech sexual Otherness.A third and final example of the neocolonial production of knowledge of Czech same-sex sexuality focuseson the colonial trope of sexual availability through the stressing of a distinct Czech same-sex sexual identity. Similarto the assumptions of sexual identity that we have seen in various gay travel guides, Austrians position Czech ‗boys‘as in a constant state of sexual readiness. One dominant paradigm of this sexual readiness characterizes all Czech‗boys‘ as bisexual or pansexual. One informant describes sexuality in Prague:[T]hings are totally different. They are just so openly bisexual. Just about all the boys I‘ve had sex with therehad girlfriends, but they were into having sex with men as well. […] I really think they just like to have sex—boys, men, women—it just doesn‘t matter. They‘re just not afraid of their sexuality, and so I‘ve always gottenwhat I‘ve wanted. (Bunzl 2000: 86–7)Another positioning of sexual availability and readiness, as Bunzl also points out, concerns Austrian gay male touristdiscursively creating a sense of Czech ‗boys‘ desirability to service men. ―‘I had never seen anything like that athome. He didn‘t have his own agenda, but was totally attentive to me. We couldn‘t really communicate, of course,but somehow he could feel what it was I wanted. And he just did that‘‖ (Bunzl 2000: 85). In sum, very similar topositioning a commoditified Third World sexual Otherness (as we have seen multiple times above), this productionof knowledge of Czech ‗boys‘ sexuality through the description of sexual availability creates an embodied Easternsexual Otherness constructed through neocolonial tropes and desires which serve the purpose of reproducing thecategories of racial, sexual, class, and national difference.ConclusionAfter reviewing much of the literature on transnational queer tourism can we the importance ofunderstanding the complexities that this relatively recent form of tourism provides. Some of these complexities areembodied in the rendering invisible of certain categories of difference which normalize the primary queer consumeras a white, middle-class, Western, cis-gendered gay male. Some can also be seen in the complex social frameworkwhich allows us to see queer tourism as both emancipatory and disciplinary. Others require to look at thereproduction of colonial processes of exotification in specific ‗gay-friendly‘ queer sexscapes such as Thailand,Mexico, and the Czech Republic. As we have seen through this examination of global queer tourism, both anintersectional feminist analysis and a post-colonial studies framework allow us to delve into many of thesecomplexities which are often overshadowed and ignored. Thus through attempting to explore some of thecomplexities of transnational queer tourism through these analytical and theoretical lenses can we begin see the
  10. 10. Ruelos 10ways in which global queer tourism reproduce both neocolonial power relations and systems of inequality throughthe categories of race, class, gender, nation, and sexuality.
  11. 11. Ruelos 11Works CitedAizura, Aren. 2010. ―Feminine Transformations: Gender Reassignment Surgical Tourism in Thailand.‖ MedicalAnthropology 29, no. 4 (2010): 1–20. Philadelphia, PA: RoutledgePublications.Alexander, M. Jacqui. 2005. ―Imperial Desires/Sexual utopias: White Gay Capital and Transnational Tourism.‖Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred. Durham, NC: DukeUniversity Press.Boyd, Nan Alamilla. 2008. ―Sex and Tourism: The Economic Implications of the Gay Marriage Movement.‖Radical History Review, 100 (Winter 2008):222–235. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Bunzi, Matti. 2000. ―The Prague Experience: Gay Male Sex Tourism and the Neocolonial Invention of anEmbodied Border.‖ 2000. Altering States: Ethnographies of Transition in Eastern Europe. 70–95.Ed. D. Berdahlet al. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.Cantu, Lionel. 2002. "De Ambiente : Queer Tourism and the Shifting Boundaries of Mexican Male Sexualities."GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 8, no. 1 (2002): 139-166. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Markwell, Kevin. 2002. "Mardi Gras Tourism and the Construction of Sydney as an International Gay and LesbianCity." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies8, no. 1 (2002): 81-99. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Murray, David. 2007. ―The Civilized Homosexual: Travel Talk and the Project of Gay Identity.‖Sexualities 10, no.1 (2007): Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Pritchard, Annette, et al. 1998. ―Reaching Out to the Gay Tourist: Opportunities and Threats in an EmergingMarket Segment.‖ Tourism Management 19, no. 3 (1998): 273–282.Dorset, UK: Elsevier Science, Ltd.Puar, Jasbir K. 2002a. "Circuits of Queer Mobility: Tourism, Travel, and Globalization." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbianand Gay Studies 8, no. 1 (2002): 101-137. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.---. 2002b. ―A Transnational Feminist Critique of Queer Tourism‖. Antipode 34: 935–946.Oxford: Wiley-BlackwellPublishing.Rushbrook, Dereka. 2002. "Cities, Queer Space, and the Cosmopolitan Tourist." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and GayStudies 8, no. 1 (2002): 183-206. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.