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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 identifies. 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 identifies; 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 hOt 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.
Depuis dix ans, un double mouvement de mondialisation a eu cours dans la sphere des droits des gais et lesbiennes. D'une part, une mondialisation des droits de la personne, par laquelle ceux-ci sont devenus une mesure primordiale du <<progres des nations>>. D'autre part, une mondialisation des sexualites de meme sexe comme identites. Ces mouvements ont le potentiel de s'opposer mutuellement plutot que de se completer et ainsi permettre une reconnaissance plus grande des droits des gais et lesbiennes dans le monde. Au cosmopolitisme animant la reconnaissance de ces droits s'opposent des revendications communautariennes fondees sur un discours d'autodetermination des peuples. Principalement sur la base d'etudes de cas (Tasmanie, Zimbabwe, Roumanie), cet article soutient toutefois que le discours universel des droits de la personne peut etre (et a ete) utilise localement, avec succes, par des activistes des droits des gals et lesbiennes. Plusieurs strategies ont ete employees: la reconnaissance d'identites multiples et entrecroisees ; le deploiement d'un discours par lequel les standards juridiques internationaux forment une part de <<l'essence d'un peuple>> ; et la revendication d'un passe gai authentique a l'interieur d'un contexte communautaire national. De cette maniere, des activistes ont ete capables d'utiliser a la fois un discours global et un discours local. L'article conclut qu'en derniere analyse, les luttes pour les droits des gais et lesbiennes connaitront davantage de succes si elles s'emploient non seulement a proteger les droits des individus sur la base de standards internationaux de droits de la personne, mais visent aussi l'inclusion au niveau du debat politique communautaire ayant cours dans la societe civile.
I. A Double Movement of Globalization II. From National Communities to Supranational Standards III. Human Rights or Special Rights IV. From Rights to Politics Concluding Thoughts
Only a few years ago, it was sometimes queried whether "sexual orientation" raised any human rights issues. (1) Today, those questions have largely ceased to be asked, as sexuality has permeated human rights consciousness. For that, an enormous collective debt is owed to those many courageous activists around the world who have struggled in difficult and dangerous circumstances to articulate their claims openly in a discourse of human rights in order to better people's lives. That is, they have used "human rights" as a way to connect with others in and out of struggle and to make a collective difference.
These human rights claims have also connected to the academic and judicial interpretations of human rights. In the past decade, we have witnessed a far more receptive attitude from courts and legislatures in a range of different ways. Same-sex sexuality cases have come to receive a more positive response from many national courts through the interpretation of domestic constitutional rights documents; (2) through the development of the common law; (3) through transnational legal regimes, such as the European Union; (4) and through the discourse of international law and international human rights. (5) Moreover, these different levels and frames through which the language of rights can be mobilized often intersect and interact. (6) As a consequence, rights proponents can claim that the strategy of deploying human rights in the sexuality arena bas met with considerable success (but setbacks as well), and believers in liberal legal progress will argue that there is nowhere to go but forward in the making of human rights arguments.
I. A Double Movement of Globalization
This story of success and progress can be explained, I argue, through a double movement of globalization. First, we have witnessed a globalization of human rights, whereby human rights become, as Peter Fitzpatrick has argued, the "pervasive criteria" by which nations approach a universal standard of civilization, progress, and modernity. (7) Rights transcend the particular (despite the fact that human rights discourse presumably must come from a particular place) and become the marker and measure of a global civil society embracing all "humans" (itself a historically contested concept).
But there is another globalization move that has occurred: the universalizing of same-sex sexualities as identities. (8) There are many examples that demonstrate the export of an Anglo-American, "Stonewall" model of sexuality, identity, and liberation. (9) In the Stonewall model, same-sex sexuality marks an identity category that comes to be labelled as gay, lesbian, or both (and the two are often problematically conflated). Put crudely, who (in terms of gender) one has sexual relations with is the key to who you are, and the "coming out" is the central moment of identity formation. (10) The sexual relations model has increasingly transcended its own cultural and historical roots to become universalized as the paradigm of sexual identity. This paradigm, however, is a dramatic oversimplification of the dynamics of sexual identity outside of a Western (or, more specifically, Anglo-American) frame.
Despite this globalization movement, activists in many non-Western countries travel between the universalizing and essentializing discourse of sexual identity ("we are everywhere"), to a local, historically and culturally-specific reading of sexuality that resists the bluntness of the Stonewall model. (11) Nevertheless, as gays come to appropriate a sexual identity, the universalizing language of human rights neatly fits the globalizing movement of sexual identity that seems to be occuring (most obviously in urban spaces around the globe). Furthermore, this fusion of the two movements of globalization has been advanced by human rights law and international human rights experts, who have assisted activists in many parts of the world and have brought to the attention of the world the abuses of human dignity that have been experienced. (12) Claims to privacy, equality, and dignity for those who have been constructed as less than human because of their same-sex sexual practices and desires, clearly lend themselves to these universalizing and globalizing currents. In this way, they become cosmopolitan claims to justice, which transcend the particularities of rime and place through the powerful argument that flows from the desire to be "who we are". (13)
Although the ways in which these human rights claims are made are important, what is no less interesting are the ways in which they have been resisted in a number of different cultural locations: (14) we consistently find opposition to cosmopolitan claims to …