Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Pinkwashing Policies or Insider Activism? Allyship in the LGBTIQ+ Governance–Activism Nexus

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Abstract:  While there has been an increase in the rights and visibility of LGBTIQ+ people in (most) European countries, critiques of what is denounced as instrumentalization by public policies of LGBTIQ+ issues have also developed. In this context, one can ask how to qualify the strengthened relationships between governance and activism. In this article, I propose to explore the paradoxical articulation of the multiple sites from where the cause support can be enacted. Drawing on a Geneva-based ethnographic research project, I use the concept of governance–activism nexus to reflect on the liminal position of public officials in charge of implementing equality agendas. Troubling further the insider–outsider binary divide, I argue that they act towards a discrete queering of municipal governance from the inside, through the practice of allyship in solidarity. In so doing, this article offers future research perspectives for the study of urban/regional LGBTIQ+ activism and politics, while allowing us to question our own position as critical or activist researchers in the field of feminist and queer geographies.

Keywords:  allyship; equality; Geneva; insider activism; pinkwashing; public policies; queer space



© Karine Duplan. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.