Human rights in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity are at last reaching the heart of global debates. Yet 78 states worldwide continue to criminalise same-sex sexual behaviour, and due to the legal legacies of the British Empire, 42 of these – more than half – are in the Commonwealth of Nations. In recent years many states have seen the emergence of new sexual nationalisms, leading to increased enforcement of colonial sodomy laws against men, new criminalisations of sex between women and discrimination against transgender people.
Videos of the Toronto launch of Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth can be viewed by clicking the following links:
The video of the London launch of Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth can be viewed by clicking here.
Dr Corinne Lennox is Lecturer in Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, United Kingdom.
Dr Matthew Waites is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.
The book includes
The first quantitative analysis of legal change related to sexual orientation and gender identity across all the Commonwealth’s 54 Member States, and an overview of existing transnational politics and activism.
13 peer-reviewed chapters by academics and activists presenting analyses of struggles for decriminalisation and change in 16 national contexts covering all regions of the Commonwealth: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas.
A unique comparative analysis across the Commonwealth, based on the 16 national analyses, focusing on learning lessons from states in the global South where decriminalisation of same-sex sexual behaviour has been achieved, including the Bahamas, South Africa and India.
Some recent transnational activism has sought to use the Commonwealth as a medium to achieve decriminalisation. This volume distinctively opens up questions of how such developments should be interpreted in the contexts of colonialism and post-colonialism, and critical perspectives on cultural racism, Southern theory and homonationalism. It thus offers analytical frameworks for developing struggles and strategies for decriminalisation and human rights in the context of a multi-dimensional understanding of inequalities and power.