Can the master’s tools dismantle the master’s house? Queer perspectives on law, difference, and radicalism after marriage equality in Australia

Odette Mazel
PhD Candidate, Melbourne Law School

Whilst the legalisation of same-sex marriage has been widely celebrated in Australia, it has also brought to the surface tensions for some LGBTIQ+ activists and queer theorists who see this legal achievement as a form of assimilation to a heteronormative ideal, rather than an expression of the right to be different. This project investigates the tensions involved in navigating the impulse toward equal rights and advocating social change, whilst keeping true to a more radical queer imaginary. Can the legal and marital institutions, deeply set with white, patriarchal privilege and homophobic histories provide us the tools with which to carve our future?

Through an empirical approach, I am exploring how, why and when LGBTIQ+ people have worked with or without the law to bring about change, if and how the legal system has responded, and what the impacts or the implications of these approaches are. How do we negotiate the entanglement of pragmatic practices and emancipatory ideals? This project incorporates the use of visual and sensory research methods as a way of opening up the dialogue between the researcher and participant to encourage a different approach to eliciting and understanding our responses to law, equality and radicalism.