This ethnographic essay reflects research conducted in urban Tunisia among two distinct, yet interrelated, groups of young “men who have sex with men” (MSMs). Theoretically, the essay focuses on the politics of identity categories, how these categories travel, and the intersections of their associated onto-epistemic instantiations. While the principal focus is on the movement of the categories of éffeminés, gigolos, and MSMs, it also considers the conditions of possibility for the emergence of a gay movement in Tunisia, enhanced by Internetbased technologies. Analysis is derived from ethnographic field materials (2003–2010) and interactions on social networking sites. A lack of cohesion among and between these groups highlights the absence of significant shared objectives that serve individuals in an effort toward solidarity, while simultaneously suggesting that the subject position of “gay” provides a key site from which micro-practices and techniques of the self challenge and reinforce identity politics. Ultimately, in light of the infrapolitics of both groups, coupled with the increasing accessibility of online networking tools in Tunisia, this essay demonstrates that same-sex intimacies have not been a salient political concern for the Tunisian state, although recent events suggest a pronouncedly different future.
Efféminés, Gigolos, and MSMs in the Cyber-Networks, Coffeehouses, and “Secret Gardens” of Contemporary Tunis
Rodney Collins; Efféminés, Gigolos, and MSMs in the Cyber-Networks, Coffeehouses, and “Secret Gardens” of Contemporary Tunis. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 November 2012; 8 (3): 89–112. doi: https://doi.org/10.2979/jmiddeastwomstud.8.3.89
Download citation file: