Cross-Movement Coalitions and Sexuality Politics: How activists resist political homophobias in East Africa
Sexuality is part of what structures politics. States rely on reproduction to replicate their populations. How sexuality is regulated is political, and it should be considered in political science literature. In recent decades there have been significant changes in rights for lgbt people globally, but also backlashes against them in states where rights have been won and where they have not. These backlashes are referred to as political homophobias, actions states take to dehumanize and police gender and sexual minorities. In this dissertation, I analyze how resistance occurs against these political homophobias, even in contexts where they appear to be highly popular amongst political leaders and the public. Through this analysis, I demonstrate that the perception that political homophobias can be used to gain cheap popularity for a government can be altered. Using literature on cross-movement coalitions, hybrid and authoritarian regimes, and international human rights activism, I argue that activism can change political processes on political homophobia legislation, specifically analyzing Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi as a shadow case, all East African countries that introduced political homophobia legislation in 2008 and 2009. Political processes produce conditions ripe for political homophobias in Uganda and Rwanda. Tracing decisions from colonialism to independence governing structures, structural adjustment to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I argue that political decisions on how sexuality should be regulated created conditions to empower those promoting political homophobias in the twenty-first century. Using interviews and document analysis, I track why Uganda and Rwanda did not institutionalize political homophobias, despite the perception that the proposals were popular. I argue cross-movement coalitions coordinating resistance were central to the defeat of the proposals. Cross-movement coalitions use in-depth knowledge of the political system to advise international allies on how best to respond, given domestic considerations, including regime type. I demonstrate there is room to resist political homophobias, even in authoritarian regimes. Political homophobia literature should consider how these proposals interact with other political issues, and how activism can change political calculations about what is politically most advantageous.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/24882
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