Entries in human rights (2)


Chapter about LGBTQ politics as human rights out now in UMass Boston book

Image by: Colleen LockeLast year I wrote a book chapter for the text Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Rights: History, Politics, Practice edited by by Honors College Dean Rajini Srikanth and Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Elora Chowdhury which has now published.  I was grateful for two editors of color who brought their feminist knowledges to editing my chapter and the book as a whole. 

It was really a pleasure to work with Srikanth and Chowdhury to produce a chapter that is truly interdisciplinary when thinking through LGBTQ Politics and Human Rights. As editors they pushed me to look at examples from contexts I would not have considered without their support. In pratice this meant offering texts outside of the predominently white, Western works  often cited as a way to discuss LGBTQ politics when writing about how it matters in global contexts. This was especially valuable in my framing of the politics presented through the case studies of LGBTQ human rights organizing in Palestine, India and the United States.

This book also presents a unique opportunity to highlight the voices of the UMass Boston community. I got to know some of the other authors while at the UMass Boston because I intentionally TA'd in the Women & Gender Studies department as a way to continue to collaborate with feminist scholars and activists while a doctoral student. It was also during my time at UMass Boston that the new Human Rights program got off the ground, so it is really an important time for this book to come out for faculty, staff and students at the university.

Read more about the book from a piece by Colleen Locke

Edited by Honors College Dean Rajini Srikanth and Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Elora Chowdhury, the book touches on a wide range of human rights topics, including the emergence of Latin American solidarity, the education of displaced children in refugee camps, and how to talk about sexual violence and sexual agency in film. All of the contributors are from UMass Boston, and include a mix of faculty, doctoral students, undergraduate students, and activists.

You can also read my chapter "Global LGBTQ Politics and Human Rights" here. Some of the issues addressed in the chapter include a look at LGBTQ rights as sexual politics. LGBTQ politics at the UN and also discussion questions for the classroom.


Let's talk about the new independent expert on LGBT issues

This sumemr the UN Human Rights Council voted to appoint a person to look into homophobic and transphobic violence. An important moment! But as you can imagine, there was much maneuvering to even get the appointment and it comes with certain restrictions, not the least of which is a limit to a three year term. In my piece for The Establishment I interview a number of people about the expectations and possibilities riding on the new position from activists and academics alike.

This piece gets at the challenging policy and practice nexus. While there is now policy prioritizing looking at LGBTQ issues, how this translates to practice depends on a number of questions: Who will decide which issues to address with a literal world full off problems to examine? How will local, national and international organizations communicate about these issues? And perhaps the question top of mind right now: who will be appointed as the new independent expert?

The new independent expert will report back to the UN at the end of each year of their term. With that in mind, in a year's time this role may prove an important test in terms of what type of leverage the global human rights community is able to exert for vulnerable LGBTQ individuals around the world.