That national identities have been defined by excluding minority “others” is nothing new. Within the logic of nationalism, LGBT individuals can be viewed as particularly threatening to national identity, because they threaten the foundation of the family and reproduction which are necessary for the survival of the nation.
Zvi Triger introduces the concept of the “wandering gay“, which he derives from the cultural archetype of the “wandering Jew.” The wandering gay “is forced out of his home when his sexual orientation is exposed and he is forced out of his country by social and legal persecution.” On the flip side, the exclusion LGBT individuals from national identities can also pave the way for their construction of a transnational gay identity. Indeed, in some respects, this identity already exists. Triger gives an example of support for certain Eurovision artists on the basis of sexual orientation .
I posit that the potential for transnational gay identity is great, and that social media apps such as Grindr (or Scruff or Adam to Adam or whatever the hot new app is these days) will accelerate the formation of that identity. Apps such as Grindr facilitate mobile communication amongst gay men ostensibly for the purpose of sex and dating. These apps work beyond national boundaries. With apps like Grindr, it is now incredibly easy for an American gay man who is traveling in England to meet other gay men.
These online and face-to-face interactions are opportunities to share culture and experiences, thus developing and reifying a transnational gay identity. As Benedict Anderson recognized the power of technological advances in mass media in the development of certain European nations, apps like Grindr are and will continue to accelerate the development of the transnational gay identity.
I limit this contention to gay men, because as far as I am aware, no comparable social media technology is as widely used for individuals who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer. And of course, the formation of this transnational gay identity is also heavily affected by class, since international travel is limited to only the world’s wealthiest.
Nonetheless, the implications of a transnational gay identity are many. I, for one, am excited about the great potential for organizing and funding campaigns against homophobia across the globe.