Liabilities of Queer Anti-Racist Critique
In September 2009, Raw Nerve Books, a small independent feminist publisher in Britain, issued a public apology to prominent gay right activist Peter Tatchell for content they had published in an edited collection titled, Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality (2008b).1 It has been widely speculated that this apology was the result of a threat of legal action.2 The book contained an article critical of Tatchell’s gay rights activism in Britain, arguing that some of his work contributes to larger patterns of racism and Islamophobia (Haritaworn et al. 2008). Both the article and book offered important and timely analysis of the ways that discourses of queerness and raciality have been silenced, displaced and marginalized within more dominant LGBTQ politics and human rights work.
The book had been initially scheduled for reprint following a sold out first run. However, in November 2009, amidst considerable controversy surrounding their earlier apology, Raw Nerve Books released a statement declaring that due to ‘factual errors’ and ‘inaccuracies’ in the book they had ‘no alternative’ but to refrain from republishing.3 As a result, the book is no longer available for re-ordering and, with no reprints in production, the authors and editors of Out of Place have become effectively subject to the same form of silencing they critique.