LGBTs In, Muslims Out: Homonationalist Discourses and Counterdiscourses in the Flemish Press

Alexander Dhoest


This article aims to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on homonationalism by exploring a European region that has not been discussed so far, Flanders (Belgium), focusing on media discourses. Homonationalism refers to the way LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights are increasingly incorporated in (mostly Western) conceptions of nationhood, at the expense of ethnic and religious “Others” (most prominently Muslims) who are considered inimical to the LGBT-friendly nation. Using discourse analysis to analyze three months of Flemish newspaper reporting on homosexuality in relation to Muslims, this article inquires into which nations LGBT rights are incorporated and by whom, and how homonationalist discourses relate to broader discourses on Muslims and homosexuality. The analysis finds examples of explicit homonationalist discourse, originating with nationalist politicians, but also implicit homonationalist discourse that only refers to Muslims, as well as counterdiscourses. Implicit and partial discourses are particularly insidious in spreading homonationalist arguments contributing to wider Islamophobic discourses.


homonationalism, discourse analysis, newspapers, Flanders, Islamophobia

Full Text: