In many contexts across the globe, queerphobia has become an issue of political contestation and conflict. Transnational groups and governments mobilize against queer rights and groups around articulations related to culture and religion. The counter-mobilizing rallying point is often framed as “gender ideology”, which actors claim would somehow undermine the family and corrupt children. A growing literature, describing political attacks on the rights of LGBT persons, links politicized queerphobia to political or economic crises. In response, queer activists have to develop strategies and adapt to complex political landscapes that are often hostile. Queer identities and practices are subject to (re)criminalisation . Where queer identities and movements have become a reality, their paths forward are still defined by a need to maneuver the “anti-gender” narratives that seek to curtail their socio-political participation. It is, therefore, necessary to consider the expanding and contracting nature of political spaces.

The panel  showcases a focus on the agency of queer activists and their subjectivities in moments of political transformation in  Nigeria, Mozambique, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda and Qatar.   (1) How do queer activists’ manoeuvre in moments of political transformation and uncertainty? (2) What role do language and changing rhetorical landscapes play in the mobilization for and against LGBT rights? (3) What role does the international community play, for better or for worse, in the politics of identity and belonging and how does this create complicated rifts for queer activists to manoeuvre?

This session is hosted by UiB SkeivForsk, SKOK, and the CMI/Law Transform research project ‘RightAct and  is enabled by grants from Fritt Ord and the Research Council of Norway (FRIPRO)

Participants: Sifa Alfakir Jihad, Bayreuth University, Germany; Matthew Gichohi, CMI; Adrian Jjuuko, HRAPF, Uganda; Samah Khalaf Allah, University of Bayreuth, Germany; Mari Norbakk, CMI; Carmeliza Rosario, CMI. 

Moderator: Liv Tønnessen, CMI/LawTransform.

Liv Tønnessen

Director of Center on Law and Social Transformation and Senior Researcher

Mari Norbakk

Post Doctoral Researcher

Matthew Gichohi

Post Doctoral Researcher

Recent CMI publications: