SexPolitics: Trends & Tensions in the 21st Century
Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW) would like to re-launch the fourth publication of its most recent cycle of transnational analyses on sexual politics that started in 2015 after some corrections were made.
Volume 2 of the collection SexPolitics: Trends and Tensions in the 21st Century – Contextual Undercurrents comprises seven chapters chartering main trends and debates at work in sexual politics in Africa, the English speaking Caribbean region, Europe, Latin America, post-Soviet Countries, but also China and India, respectively written by Varyanne Sika and Awino Okech, Christine Barrow, David Paternotte, Gloria Careaga and Mario Pecheny, Yana Kirey-Sitnikova and Anna Kirey, Huang Yingying, Vivek Divan, respectively. The standpoints and analytical frames used in each chapter are quite distinctive. Therefore, what emerges from this exercise as a whole is a rich and remarkably insightful mosaic panel of sexual politics worldwide.
We dearly thank all authors for so generously making this excellent outcome possible.
It comprises seven chapters chartering main trends and debates at work in sexual politics in Africa, the English Speaking Caribbean Region, Europe, Latin America, Post-Soviet Countries but also China and India.
The volume covers substantial grounds in terms of empirical information and – as the standpoints and analytical frames used in each chapter are quite distinctive — what emerges from the exercise as aa whole is a rich and remarkably insightful mosaic panel of sexual politics worldwide.
“Queerly, the African struggle for liberation is not merely ‘against’ something but rather a renewed affirmation of struggling ‘with’, ‘for’ and ‘towards’. The queering of societies is an attempt not only to liberate those who declare to be queer but also to transform all African struggles, to invest all African struggles against oppression with the fullest and truest revolutionary potential of the queer. The manifesto reminds us that “[a]s long as African LGBTI people are oppressed, the whole of Africa is oppressed.” (p. 16)
“Yet, the State and the law, bolstered by fundamentalist religion, reinforce a patriarchal construct that privileges heterosexuality with marriage and procreation as the natural, wholesome, God-given purpose for sex, thereby denying citizenship to LGBTQI persons, sex workers and other ‘outcasts’ (Lazarus, 2015; Robinson, 2009). Research conclusions underscore how deeply the dominant, heteronormative language of Caribbean citizenship normalizes moral and social propriety, and resists sexual autonomy, diversity and equal rights.” (p. 45)
“In brief, to what extent is the defense of sexual rights an exception anchored in the normative dimension of European integration? Is EUrope such an exceptional place in terms of gender and sexuality and what are the foundations and the conditions underlying such exceptionality? To what extent is this idea of exceptionality related to a sort of European provincialism and to a pretention to universalism and expansionism? Eventually, what is the future of sexual rights at a time Europe has lost most of its appeal for citizens and the European project itself is in peril?” (p. 86)
“From whatever angle, the Latin America landscape prospects are somber, reflecting in a variety of ways the deeper and wider crisis of capitalism but also of strongly rooted heteronormative formations… While the realities of the current crisis and its shadow cannot be circumvented, it contours may, eventually, have made clear to a wide range of actors located across the political spectrum — from liberals and social democrats to the more radical left — that the consistent and sustained defense of democracy and social justice cannot fail to take into account the centrality of gender and sexuality matters.” (p. 113).
“…contrary to the intended goal of these restrictive laws on abortion and LGBT rights, these reform processes have generated great visibility and multiple public debates on feminist and LGBT issues. More significantly yet these laws became a catalyst for consolidation of both movements as many previously apolitical women and LGBT persons now felt that their rights were under attack. In Russia, the critique of how these laws have been promoted by the United Russia party and other conservative parliamentary members led many people to conclude that no human rights progress can be achieved under the current political system and to join opposition forces.” (p.128)
“The quest for concepts of ‘sexualities’ that are more akin to Chinese local, historical and subjective constructive views has been extensively discussed, amongst other matters, since the mid-2000s in the process of translation to Chinese of the Western literature… The 性/别 (gender/sexuality) frame was inspired by the post 1990s historical experience of Taiwan’s social movements on gender and sexuality and implies a paradigm shift that emphasizes the complex intersectionality of gender, sexuality and other social elements of differentiation.” (p.162)
“A turning point in this entire journey occurred for me soon after, when an activist from Tamil Nadu, supporting the view that Naz India should go to the Supreme Court, said that if that court threw the case out, he would march naked with his fellow kothis on the streets of his town, expressing his anger at a system which refused to recognize his fundamental personhood (I paraphrase). He was angry when he said it, and he expressed it with a kind of courage and determination that I had not seen before. It was an articulation of being fed up, and of not backing down. Queer folk were finding common cause, and with that they were also finding strength in comradeship and support across regions, contexts, classes and languages. I will never forget that moment, and what it symbolized there and then.”