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[GENDERWEEK] Feminist and queer solidarities in Palestine

Gender and sexuality norms and politics have been a central part of European colonial imperialism with many repercussions, both for the colonized people as well as for the societies and communities ‘at home’. For instance, norms around ‘proper’ behavior and attire for women and men or assumptions about ‘healthy’ versus ‘deviant’ sexual behavior have led to specific conceptualizations about who is considered to be a proper woman/man, and who is of lower standing. These ideas are, because of their intertwinement with colonialism, imbued with imaginations of racial and cultural hierarchies. Altogether, these assumptions and associating politics regarding gender, sexuality, culture and race were fundamental pillars of European colonialism. In this lecture, we look at the contemporary situation in Israel/Palestine and ask: how do norms of gender and sexuality play a part in Israel/Palestine today? What can a feminist and queer perspective bring to our understanding of settler-colonialism, not only in the Israeli/Palestinian context but also in light of Belgium’s own colonial past? And what are the implications hereof for Belgian and international feminist and queer solidarities with Palestine?

Key topics to be discussed: the concept and practice of settler-colonialism in relation to gender and sexuality, by introducing phenomena such as Israeli homonationalism, pinkwashing and the multidirectional struggle against oppression by feminist and queer Palestinians in Israel/Palestine.

Biography dr. Mikki Stelder

dr. Mikki Stelder is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam/University of British Columbia, specializing in Israeli pinkwashing and Palestinian queer resistance against the occupation. Stelder was awarded a three-year Marie Skłodowska Curie Global Fellowship from the European Commission (2019-2022) for her research Maritime Imagination: A Cultural Oceanography of Dutch Imperialism and its Aftermaths. In this project, she turn to the ocean to better understand Dutch contributions to global capitalist, racial, colonial and imperialist ideologies. The project developed out of growing concerns expressed by social justice movements in The Netherlands around the impact that 400 years of Dutch imperialism has had on contemporary global power relations. Her project is situated at the intersection of critical Dutch studies, environmental humanities, feminist, queer, postcolonial and decolonial critique.

Biography Haneen maikey

Haneen Maikey is a Palestinian activist working against Israeli apartheid by engaging queer and feminist politics. Through cultivating queer Palestinian kinship and organizing spaces, Maikey has become a crucial voice against pinkwashing** and Israel’s co-optation of “LGBTQ Rights” discourse. Maikey views queer, Palestinian liberation as a cause connected to global liberation, and she has joined transnational movements to challenge occupation and racism. Maikey co-founded and served as executive director of alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, after it distinguished itself as an anti-apartheid organization in 2007. alQaws offers “peer support to individuals, we have a hotline operated by 20 volunteers who answer the phones, and a large community-building effort in four areas: the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa,” especially in the face of Israel’s pinkwashing. She also co-founded the activist group, Palestinian Queers for BDS. Alongside her organizing work, Maikey has published multiple articles and authored The History and Contemporary State of Palestinian Sexual Liberation Struggle.


This lecture is part of an inter-university lecture caravan: ‘Palestine: Entangled histories and other ways of seeing ecologies, resistance and solidarity within a settler colonial situation’. This inter-university lecture caravan is a collaboration between UGENT, UA, VUB en KUL. The lecture series is supported by the Global Minds Fund.