Three recent books are discussed which offer queer analyses of attempts to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from violence and discrimination using the international human rights regime. A common theme is the way in which equal rights are invoked and institutionalised to address prejudice, discrimination and violence. The take, however, is critical: while it may be a remarkable turn of events that the United Nations (UN) and similar institutions have become LGBTI advocates, such Damascene conversions generate their own dilemmas and rarely resolve structural and conceptual paradoxes. This article foregrounds the curiosity of queer scholars engaged with the application of human rights to matters of sexuality and gender, observes how they articulate the paradoxes and dissatisfactions that are produced in this normatively and politically charged field, and draws out the limitations and complexities of rights politics in combating systemic exclusion.
- Human rights
- LGBTI rights