Mads Ananda Lodahl is a Danish writer and lecturer.
For more than 10 years he has worked with gender expectations and with everyone who gets in trouble with these expectations. This obviously includes lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people (LGBT), but it is also masculine women, feminine men, shy boys, promiscuous girls, childless women, and people who have a fetish, or who are not monogamous – to name a few.
Lodahl tries to make visible what is invisible and turns his spotlight toward the (invisible) normality rather than toward the (all too visible) deviations. He investigates the notion of normality and what it means when you cannot or will not live up to that notion. His strategy is a clever and provocative mirror held up to the face of normality – he refuses to reproduce the othering of those who do not fit into what he calls, ‘The Straight World Order’.
The Straight World Order
‘The Straight World Order’ is the system in which we live, that puts heterosexuality, traditional gender roles and men at the top of a hierarchy. It “punishes” anyone who can not “be, be like or be liked by” the heterosexual, masculine, cisgender (i.e. not transgender) man – as gender activist, Kate Bornstein, puts it in ‘My Gender Workbook’ (Routledge, 1997, p. 45). ‘The Straight World Order’ is thus, a collective term for the society or the ideology that oppresses and discriminates both women and all forms of sexual and gender “deviants.” In the broadest sense possible.
“I believe that 90% of all people are in trouble with The Straight World Order, but obviously some are in greater trouble than others. In this way, the vast majority actually have something to gain from destroying The Straight World Order, but again … some have more at stake than others”.
– Mads Ananda Lodahl
For Mads Ananda Lodahl, well-known boxes like “gay” or “LGBT” are in some ways outdated and redundant in the gender debate. Discrimination and oppression does not happen because you are a homosexual, but because you fail to be a heterosexual. This is, for example, why a straight man can be exposed to homophobia, if he isn’t masculine enough. The important thing is not what you are, but what you fail to be. Are you normal or not normal? Straight or not straight? Man or not man? Or simply not man enough?
Normality in the hot seat
In the struggle against ‘The Straight World Order’, attack, so says Lodahl, is the best defence. It’s more interesting to attack compulsory heterosexuality than to defend homosexuality. To question the institution of marriage rather than to defend gay people’s right to their piece of the wedding cake. To attack the cultural patterns that have some men believe they have a right over women’s bodies and a duty to comment on all things queer, rather than to defend anyones “right to be who I am.” It makes more sense to criticize those who are sitting at the table than to defend those who are out in the cold. To question the set-up. Reverse the burden of proof and put those who fit into the norm in the hot seat for a change.
Some people think that the way to end discrimination and oppression is to provide the “normal” with a sufficient amount of information about the “deviants,” but to Mads Ananda Lodahl, that’s not enough. He believes that “the normal” need to have an investigative and critical look at themselves. And he wants to help them do this.
Mads Ananda Lodahl gives lectures, talks and workshops in educational institutions, businesses, associations and trade unions. He participates in panel discussions and is a popular guest speaker at conferences and festivals. / Book a lecture
He reviews queer movies and books for the Danish newspaper, ‘Dagbladet Information’. / Read (Danish)
At ‘TEDxCopenhagen 2013’ he declared a war against ‘The Straight World Order’ in his talk “Ending the Straight World Order” in Bremen Theatre. A video of the speech has so far been seen more than 43,000 times on Youtube.
Watch Mads Ananda Lodahls talk “Ending The Straight World Order” at TEDxCopenhagen:
He was nominated for Denmark’s finest feminist Award, the ‘Suzanne Gieses Memorial Award’, in 2014 and 2015. He has been called one of feminism’s strongest voices and one of the most important and original people in the Danish gender debate.
In 2005 he co-founded the underground group, ‘Queer Jihad’. In the spring of 2013 they released the book “Se! Den heteroseksuelle verdensorden går i stykker!” (Look! The straight world order falls apart!). The book compiles the best of the group’s work over 8 years and received positive reviews in Danish LGBT-media and national press. Lodahl was co-author and editor of the book. / Visit Queer Jihad (Danish) / Read reviews and buy the book (Danish)
In 2006 he was a co-founder of the annual Copenhagen Queer Festival, where he helped organize five of the following festivals. In 2006-2008 he taught self defence to young queers and their friends. He has curated a monthly queer film club in Copenhagen and Berlin since the fall of 2005 and has been constantly involved in queer and gender activism at grassroots level since 2003.
He works with the organization ‘Sex & Samfund’ (Danish Family Planning Association) as a sex counsellor for young people. He completed a bachelor degree in teaching at N Zahle Teachers’ College, where he wrote his thesis on deviating gender and sexuality in public schools. The thesis was subsequently released as an article in the renowned magazine ‘Social Kritik’. After the bachelor of education he followed a course in queer theory at Copenhagen University and took a course in conflict management.
Mads Ananda Lodahl is also personally in conflict with The Straight World Order.