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Lecture | Leiden Queer History Network

Writing the History of the International LGBT Rights Movement

Thursday 19 September 2019
Free entry, no registration required. The talk is followed by a reception.
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden
Room 0.11

Please join us on September 19 for a lecture by Laura Belmonte, Dean of the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, who will present from her forthcoming book on the history of international LGBT rights activism. David Paternotte, Associate Professor of Sociology at Université Libre de Bruxelles and author of several works on the NGO-ization of LGBT activism, will provide commentary on the lecture. Afterwards, all are welcome for a festive reception to celebrate the launch of LQHN's second year.

Geopolitical Complexities and Stark Contrasts

The global landscape of international lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights is fraught with geopolitical complexities and stark contrasts. In 2019, 123 of the 193 member states of the United Nations have legalized consensual same-sex sexual acts, but sixty-eight countries criminalize such behavior, including six nations that impose the death penalty. Another twenty-six states punish same-sex sexual acts with sentences ranging between ten years and life imprisonment. While twenty-six countries have legalized same-sex marriage and seventy-three have nondiscrimination protections for gays and lesbians, thirty-two nations have “morality” laws that restrict freedom of expression relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.

'Victory' for Global LGBT Equality?

These triumphs and challenges reflect a long arc of transnational LGBT advocacy efforts dating from the mid-nineteenth-century to the present day. It is a trajectory that has involved individuals, informal networks, non-governmental organizations, and states who have not always worked in concert and who often meet resistance from a similar constellation of actors determined to stop the global movement for LGBT equality. Using selected historical figures, organizations, and events to illuminate critical junctures in the global LGBT movement, this lecture asks us to contemplate whether “victory” for global LGBT equality is possible, what such success might look like, and what actions the global community could take to facilitate that aim.

Laura Belmonte

Laura A. Belmonte is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. A specialist in the history of US foreign relations, she is author of Selling the American Way: US Propaganda and the Cold War (2010) and co-author of Global Americans: A History of the United States (2017). Her new book, The International LGBT Rights Movement: A History, is forthcoming in 2020.

David Paternotte

David Paternotte is AssociateProfessor of Sociology at the Université libre de Bruxelles. He has published widely on the NGO-ization of LGBT activism, and is the coeditor of several volumes, including The Lesbian and Gay Movement and the State: Comparative Insights into A Transformed Relationship (Ashgate, 2011 with Manon Tremblay and Carol Johnson), LGBT Activism and the Making of Europe: A Rainbow Europe? (Palgrave, October 2014, with Phillip Ayoub), and The Ashgate Research Companion to Lesbian and Gay Activism (Ashgate, 2015, with Manon Tremblay).

Leiden Queer History Network

This event kicks off the 2019-2020 season of talks hosted by the Leiden Queer History Network, a new initiative co-convened by Dr. Andrew Shield (History) and Dr. Ann Marie Wilson (Leiden University College). It has been made possible with financial support from Leiden Global Interactions and the Leiden University Fund.

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