The growing chasm

International polarization around queer rights

Authored by: Corinne L. Mason

Routledge Handbook of Queer Development Studies

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  January  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138693753
eBook ISBN: 9781315529530
Adobe ISBN:


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As the successes of the LGBT movement in some parts of the world have been mirrored by increasing repression in others, the result has been increasing international polarization. This is reflected in increasing repression, including rape, murder and torture, and the enforcement of anti-homosexual laws in a number of states. Under the Obama Administration the United States emerged as the leader of a group of states, mainly European and Latin American, determined to extend the provisions of human rights protection to people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). The issue sharply divided governments, with a coalition led by Russia and the Islamic bloc claiming such rights ran counter to religious and cultural traditions, and had no basis in international law. Our chapter examines this international divide, and questions whether aid conditionality and the language of individual human rights is necessarily the most effective way to protect people who are singled out for persecution on the basis of their failure to meet hegemonic heterosexist norms.

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