Same-Sex Sexualities and the Globalization of Human Rights Discourse

Stychin, C. (2004). Same-Sex Sexualities and the Globalization of Human Rights Discourse. McGill Law Journal, 49(4), pp. 951-968.

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Abstract

In the past decade, a “double movement of globalization” has taken place in the realm of gay rights. On the one hand, a globalization of human rights has occurred, whereby human rights have become a key criterion by which the “progress” of nations is evaluated. On the other hand, there has been a globalization of same-sex sexualities as identities. These movements have the potential to conflict with, rather than complement, each other in terms of progressing toward a greater recognition of gay rights worldwide: resistance to cosmopolitan claims to gay rights is often grounded in communitarian claims based in the language of the right of self-determination of a people. The article argues, however—largely through the use of case studies (Tasmania, Zimbabwe, and Romania)— that the discourse of universal human rights can and has been used successfully by local gay rights activists. This has taken place through the use of several strategies: the recognition of multiple and intersecting identities; the development of a discourse by which international legal standards become part of the “essence of a people”; and by the reclaiming of an authentic gay past within a national community context. In this way, gay rights activists have become able to move seamlessly between discourses of the local and the global. Ultimately, the article concludes, gay rights struggles will be most successful when they not only engage in the protection of human rights for individuals based on international human rights standards but also fight for inclusion at the level of communitarian political debate within the larger society.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article first appeared in the McGill Law Journal; Stychin, C. (2004). Same-Sex Sexualities and the Globalization of Human Rights Discourse. McGill Law Journal, 49(4), pp. 951-968.
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: The City Law School > The City Law School - Academic Programmes
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/12124

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