Sexuality Policy Watch

LGBTI organizations navigating imperial contexts

This article presents the first sustained social analysis of the Kaleidoscope Trust, the UK’s leading social movement organization on LGBTI issues internationally, and its engagement with the Commonwealth – particularly through forming The Commonwealth Equality Network, comprising national NGOs. A contribution is made to sociological and critical analysis of transnational LGBTI movements, through argument for a new analytical framework combining the sociology of human rights with a decolonizing, intersectional approach – beyond the division between optimistic theories extending Western LGBTI progressive politics, or pessimistic postcolonial queer analyses. To investigate organizations’ strategies leading to the Malta 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the research utilizes sources of data including event observation and website sources, initiating analysis of online environments. The analysis deploys social movement theory to examine how and why Kaleidoscope selected the Commonwealth as a political opportunity structure to engage through strategies of framing and articulation of human rights. Invention of The Commonwealth Equality Network, shaped online and offline by imperial relations between core and periphery, is analysed via transnational public sphere and critical theories and argued to indicate a significant restructuring of global queer politics. It is contended that a consistently decolonizing and intersectional articulation of human rights is needed.

Authored by Matthew Waites. Click here to read the full article.

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