The Ruse of Respectability: Familial Attachments and Queer Filipino Canadian Critique

In: Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

This article focuses on queer Filipino artists who deploy familial memories to produce important knowledge around what it means to be queer, racialized, and diasporic in Canada. Through Patrick Salvani’s drag show Sarap (2017) and Casey Mecija’s short film My Father, Francis (2013), the author tracks how familial memories expose the contradictions inherent in being sexually and racially marginalized within this multicultural, settler colonial space. Sarap and My Father, Francis activate various scenes of domesticity to disturb the teleological tropes with which the private and the public have been institutionally compartmentalized. Both also offer examples of Filipino Canadian critique that resist the assimilationary ruse of respectability through economic value and ideological worth. These works reorganize the meaning of “finding happiness,” not by drawing from overwrought narratives of familial “inclusion,” but by mining the complex affects that often emanate from the histories, burdens, and pains of family members.

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