Entries in lgbtq (7)


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.


Publications with LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security 

This month I was fortunate to publish a working paper with the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security as well as a blog. According to their website the Centre is, " a leading academic space for scholars, practitioners, activists, policy-makers and students to develop strategies to promote justice, human rights and participation for women in conflict-affected situations around the world" and launched last year.

In my Working Paper Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as Part of the WPS Project I developed 5 policy points from the ideas I wrote about in the International Affairs article "Queering Women, Peace and Security" published earlier this year. The piece was introduced by editors Laura J. Shepherd and Paul Kirby in "The New Politics of Women, Peace and Security."

In a blog post also published by the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security I explore how sexual orientation and gender identity were a part of the Colombia peace negotiations. In the coming months I'll continue to explore this topic in my research for my dissertation and look forward to connecting with LGBTQ organizations in Colombia to learn more about their work on the Colombian peace accords.

As an aside, I'm excited I was able to include an image (included in this post) from the Free & Equal campaign UN For LGBT Equality stamps that were launched in February. Check them out here!


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. 



Queerphobia in a Post Marriage Equality America

As a volunteer on the GLAD Answers hotline where we receve calls from LGBTQ individuals about various forms of discrimination it's all too clear to me how dangerous it is to make assumptions about the progress marriage equality marks in American history for LGBTQ communities. In my first piece for The Establishment I address the larger structures of inequality that remain unaddressed by the marriage equality and point to the many activists who have long spoken out about this topic.

For this story I spoke with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney of the ACLU LGBT and HIV Project. I also included videos from DarkMatter, a trans south asian performance art duo I saw perform in Cambridge last month who rocked my damn world.

I also point out in this piece that we can't make any assumptinos about forms of queerphobia (transphobia, biphobia, lesbophobia, homophobia) being on the decline considering the lack of reliable hate-crime statistics dependent on reports from police departments, a place where many queer and trans people do not find it safe to report.

The story was cross-posted over at HuffPost Queer Voices where it was the lead story for a couple of days. People in the comment section on their Facebook page raised some interesting points including the queerphobia within the queer community against trans folks and the rise of hate crimes in general since 9/11.



Although I haven't read the book yet I learned that Gerald N. Rosenberg's book The Hollow Hope speaks to the concerns of using federal legal reform to make change. The narrative of progress from federal legislation in case after case is called into question in a way that appears to be holding true for queer and trans communities as well.

I anticipate more pieces in the coming months about America as a post marriage equality nation. I hope they will engage in some of the critical questions and concerns raised by activists who have long worked for racial and economic justice.


I finished 2015 writing about a rad photo exhibit

Haven't had much of a chance to do freelance writing this year but fortunately I was able to finish the year with a few pieces about an exhibit that closed earlier this month at the Boston Children's Museum, Mimi's Family. I wrote about the exhibit for The Dig and Nylon.

As I mention in my coverage of the show, I'm eally thrilled to see this sort of opportunity for families to talk about gender and in a way that engages with children! It was fantastic to visit the museum and get a tour of the show with exhibit designer Margaret Middleton as well as and talk to photographer Matthew Clowney about what it was like to hang out with the trans grandparent Erica and her family. 

Recent coverage of the exhibit can also be found at Mombian and The Washington Post.