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besides his sex. Over the centuries he has implicitly been white, heterosexual, middle class, affluent, able–bodied, and young to middle–aged. The unacknowledged assumption in much of Irigaray’s writing, including Elemental Passions, is that all these implicit characteristics are shared by the man and the woman of its drama; the only significant difference between them being sexual difference. But why make this assumption? What forms of racism, homophobia, and prejudices of class, age and ability are left unchallenged or even covertly reinscribed if these alterities are

in Forever fluid
Irigaray and Hegel

her approach, but that other readings – such as a lesbian one – of her work are possible (1998b: 28–32).41 Such is the harsh tone of Irigaray’s anti-lesbian language, however, that at times her work borders on homophobia. As a consequence, Irigaray’s quest for a ‘felicity within history’ (the subtitle of I Love to You) would appear to be compromised by her restrictive model of relationship to the ‘fecundity of the couple’. Her depiction of this new community in I Love to You, which is a rejoinder to Hegel’s idea of community that she criticized in her essay ‘The

in Divine love

disseminated, is an inflammatory distortion. Thus, for example, although much publicity has been given to cases of homophobia, police figures for homophobic incidents recorded in different London boroughs show that, for the twelve months up to September 2012, the worst borough was Westminster, which recorded a hundred and twenty-one incidents to Tower Hamlets’ seventy-one.104 Nevertheless, the previous chapter did record how local councillor, Shiria Khatun, was threatened for wearing western dress, though this could be as much a product of a more general misogyny as of

in Class, ethnicity and religion in the Bengali East End