L G B T I Organisations Claiming Human Rights Between the UK and the Commonwealth

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 356 (University of Glasgow)
Matthew Waites , University of Glasgow
This paper presents an 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 LGBTI 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.

  • CES_Waites_LGBTIOrganisationsNavigatingImperialContexts_130717.docx (86.8 kB)