KuB, Migrationsrat, MILES/LSVD, Schwulenberatung, … those are just a few out of many "eingetragener Verein" (abbrev. e.V.) in Germany, a bureaucratic term used to denominate a formalised association for charity, otherwise known as NGO, although the German term is very difficult to explain in plain English when literally translated without risking over-simplifying relevance to important details. I came across these associations mentioned above through individuals I met in the city of Berlin in 2011, who would recommend me to go there for advice on legal matters related to migration and/or discrimination. Simultaneously, I also came across a different type of e.V. through internet searches, while looking for professional opportunities in the city. But it wasn’t until the year 2012 when I exiled from the Dominican Republic and based myself in Berlin that these associations stepped into my panorama, gradually surrounding me and narrowing my possibilities for self-determination. First I came across SAVVY Contemporary, an e.V. working with "contemporary art," but it wasn’t until the day in which Dr. Antke Engel contacted me in March 2015, that I came into consciousness of what is inside these associations in full dimension.
Dr. Engel is the name behind Gender/Queer e.V., a charitable association registered at the Amtsgericht Berlin-Charlottenburg like many others. Dr. Engel contacted me because she was interested in including me in a four-days workshop about art and activism, because she knew of my work as archivist and curator from the former e.V. — it was supposed to be a workshop together with a bunch of other artists, scholars and whatnots; all of them working in topics of feminism, post/decolonial and "anti-racist" discourses in the field of visual activism — It was all matching exactly what I was interested in at that time. In these four days a bond grew between Dr. Engel and I, as she gradually came closer to me, as if I was chosen, claiming "to admire my intelligence and capacity to elaborate complex abstract concepts and to put them into visual form." I was fascinated by the way in which this workshop developed and the internal dynamics; there were artists from South Africa, both natives and descendants of settlers, Turkish/Kurdish, Americans, and of course Israelis. But in general the atmosphere during these workshop hours was always very tense, and there was a lot of hostility for people who claimed to be interested in fighting discrimination. They were around fourteen individuals which were all defining themselves collectively as "queers." That was how as part of the participants, my intervention in the workshop became to find a definition of what queer was.
I took big amounts of input to construct my previous analysis about the antifa individuals from my observations during these four days, but the main focus of this article lands over the origin and purpose of the so-called gender ideology
A Taste for Ambiguities
I only got to hear about the term "queer" in 2011 while still in the Dominican Republic, when a colleague journalist introduced me to a video showing Beatriz Preciado having an interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky. In that video, Beatriz (known now as Paul B.) Preciado introduces herself as a "queer philosopher" and shows how, applying artificial hormones, she could increase or decrease her levels of Oestrogen until reaching that of a male, therefore becoming a female-to-male transgender. I discussed with my colleague that Preciado was not really doing that (becoming a man), and that it is impossible to change your gender based on hormones. And I knew that because I had already done a research with transvestites (in my hometown as an assignment for the university) who also thought they could become women by taking artificial hormones. And it is precisely there; in a cradle of ambiguities, misinterpretations and errors where the core-origin of the so-called gender ideology was born. With examples like the one with Preciado on the video, the "queer theory" and the "gender ideology" are to be taken and understood as a package, or set of speculative ideas and neologisms about identity and sexuality full of ambiguities and misconceptions lacking scientific rigour or scrutiny, which doesn’t even reach the status of a pseudo-science.
Then, how was possible for these ideas to spread wide and filter academic environments around the globe in less than ten years? In the analysis about the so-called antifa, I explained how this sort of ideas are exported onto developing nations by North-American and European NGO-volunteers and social-workers, through their status as "foreigners from a rich country," but in this article I am writing from the position of a witness: It was only while taking part in that four-days workshop with Dr. Engel that I could come to understand the modus operandi of this sort of associations. How, in their multimodal existence these e.V. become sentinels at the margins of law, widening the gap in which to hide or wash several different criminal activities, behaving like a cultural network.
A Quasi-Sophisticated Mediocrity Machine
What is the gain of all this hassle? It seems pointless and simply wicked, why would somebody do that? First, we must come to agree that global inequality is evidenced to be the source of much of today’s societies problems: poverty, violence, discrimination, racism, and so forth. Although it seems like coming from nowhere and to be in a never-ending chain of perpetual return, one comes to ask, what if this is all being engineered? To sketch an answer, lets return to my experience as a witness: With Dr. Engel "becoming" fond of me, our intellectual affair grew into a collaboration, which later enabled me to filter into one of their horrible think-tanks. And so, through a workshop titled queer aesthetics was how our collaboration continued, a workshop which was first applied against the same participants taking part during the four-days workshop I was first invited.
Many of the victims, who are usually taking part in exchange programmes or fellowships, would be convinced he/she should stay in Europe to join a "queer future," learning and teaching the concepts and notions of the "gender ideology." They would also be incited into irresponsible sexuality and drug-habits disguised or presented to them as normal European social habits, just to later have their support interrupted and to be sent back (or deported) to their countries of origin, charged with these set of wrong ideas and bad habits, with the finality of having them influence and transfer these wasteful acquired habits onto others (mostly younger students) back in their homelands, turning that way in vectors of corruption.
Many Relations in this Kind of Networks are Kept Informal
The queer aesthetics workshop was initially a common ground for Dr. Engel and I to look closer at visual codes embedded in artworks which may function as references to ideas of empowerment and resistance, or at least that was how I was looking at it all. But as we were progressing building up a two-hours workshop, my agency was gradually nullified, becoming unable to make decisions about the content to be shown and discussed during the workshop, at the end I was reduced to just follow orders and to give consent to Dr. Engel’s propositions. Although I was always placed in the forefront of this initiative, I had little control on what was going to be discussed without her implicit approval. This way, based on single spontaneous meetings at her office or a cafe in Kreuzberg, she would suggest excerpts from writings by Teresa de Lauretis, José Esteban Muñoz, E. Patrick Johnson, Claire Colebrook and many others, to be matched with artworks from "underground" artists, mostly performance and videoart with explicit sexual content or references. The workshop was then edited and re-shaped into a fancy laid-out slideshow designed by me (taking advantage of my expertise with design softwares and the domains of aesthetics); and was presented two more times: once to a big group of established scholars, all of them female feminists having a chair in respectable institutions. And one last time to a group of students from the University of Halle an der Saale, together with a mini video-exhibition displaying the works of Tejal Shah and Wu Tien chang. That was the last time I worked with the Gender/Queer e.V. But consequently, Dr. Engel introduced me to the idea of becoming part of the "board of members" at her "Queer Institute" together with people I already knew from my previous period at SAVVY Contemporary e.V.
From my perspective it was all good, and I was proud that although I was working on my own editorials (this magazine's first volume) and simultaneously ongoing an asylum process, I was also capable of collaborating with this "institute" meetings (in one of which I was sitting next to Judith Butler), and also to take part in future fund applications to work and develop bigger and more ambitious formats of the queer-workshop. I thought this would be a great professional opportunity for me, and it was great to sit for two hours with intelligent people to discuss about sexuality and identity through what they understood to be postmodern philosophy, while analysing the work of artists in that context. The problem emerged when Dr. Engel wanted me to take the workshop with her to children, that turned into the point of rupture for our relationship/collaboration, or at least that was what I thought. Once I stated clearly my rejection to get involved in a workshop on sexuality directed to children, I was subject to a hostile harassment, I got to notice that Dr. Engel was aware and updated about privileged information concerning my life and my asylum application, which she seemed to be using at the moment against me. And then was when appeared the death-threats coming all of them to me from the "Left," and all of them related to my negative attitude towards cooperating in taking my workshop about sexuality and power to children. And not to private schools European kids, but to children with "migration background."
Consent is the Keyword
The function attached to these theories conforming the so-called "gender ideology" is similar to that of a password, they still today seek and demand public consent and need the individuals’ approval, which is the main reason why these strategies are taken from the European Union to the rest of the world and not the other way around. They are used to build a fake zeitgeist of complete openness and sexual liberty, in which pedophilia could be decriminalised and perhaps become another stripe at the LGBT flag. And for that, individuals interested in these practices finance and support wrong ideas promoting hyper-sexuality, drug-addiction, negligent and unsafe sexual practices disguised as culture, filtering in developing nations targeting the youth, who would access such ideas through social networks on the internet, coming across them in the form of fashion trends. Ideas which facilitated by the peer-pressure of influencers and/or models imprint the pre-conscious of teenagers, working on them like a translucent veil which gives meaning and shape to everything perceived through it, making them turn against their own milieu and culture, and making them turn into anti-socials. These "gender ideologies" when taken into a context in which they can erode the social fabric attack societies at their very core: the family.
It all sounds like an exciting Tech-Talk, but in reality "gender ideology" is far away from becoming a science; the effect of these theories and ideas aren’t yet formally proven, but are nevertheless evident: They work as a device for social destabilisation, which for many represents just another business opportunity. And just as many charity associations working today across the globe, they will always look over ethics in their pursuit for profit (or charity), while many new victims fall into their traps everyday. The reason why these NGO should be placed under stricter control and supervision.
What is gender ideology?
Ismael Ogando — June 24, 2019
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(2019) VICE en Español