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date: 26 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter responds to the challenge state homophobia poses to LGBT rights in its invocation of a “gay menace.” It engages the limits of a rights-based discourse in achieving security for sexual and gender minorities under threat: first, as homophobia is marshalled as a tool of statecraft and then as LGBT rights and identities are bound geotemporally by the historically specific context to which they responded. These two efforts demonstrate the need for an approach sensitive to the practical conditions faced within specific political contexts. The chapter’s argument addresses the political incommensurability of LGBT rights in the context of authoritarian and illiberal states and the danger of associating sexual and gender liberation with autocracy. It considers the consequences of a “gay menace” and of “rights”-claiming in response as both are bounded in geotemporal terms, then dislocated from history, culture, and politics as they become modular. Finally, the chapter asks what a global sexual and gender minority politics might look like through claims around capabilities tied to global civil society that foster collective self-actualization instead of “human rights” or “security” tied to authoritarian or fickle states.

Keywords: queer theory, LGBTQI rights, homophobia, autocracy, globalization, temporality, state, regime

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