‘A New Language that Speaks of Change Just As It Steps Toward It’: Transnationalism, Erotic Justice and Queer Human Rights Praxis



Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movements have too often been dominated by US liberal individualist framings of lesbian and gay rights, resulting in the hegemony of US-focused issues and institutional actions, despite the irony that the US government has been relatively unsupportive of LGBT rights on the international stage. We argue that transnational, grassroots queer movements embody more profound aspirations that do not limit the meaning of queer liberation to singular identity politics or rights-restraining institutions. Specifically, we point to transnational and Third World-based queer movements that offer more complex structural analyses of sexual oppression as well as more visionary praxes of sexual rights. Drawing on lessons from two cases of queer human rights praxis from the Philippines and México, we assert that a queer grassroots enactment of human rights allows for multiple subaltern constituencies to find – and to make – a place in human rights discourses; queer identity and actions create social formations that expand human rights agendas to further embody the intersectionality, interdependence and transnationality of daily life. Key to these enactments of queer human rights praxis are prefigurative politics and rooted cosmopolitanism, which catalyze new expansions of human rights to include intersectional framings and practices of erotic justice.