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CFR Co-Sponsored: Book launch for Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope

CFR Co-Sponsored:
Book Launch, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope
Date: Thursday September 13, 2018
Time: 6:30 – 8:30PM
Location: Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St, Toronto
Accessibility information: Glad Day Bookshop is wheelchair accessible. Gender neutral and wheelchair accessible washrooms.
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Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope

Customers based in North America can pre-order the book from the University site here:
Customers based everywhere else (UK, EU, Caribbean, Australasia, Asia, Africa) can pre-order from here:
It will also be available on Amazon worldwide and Open Access (via this link: from September 13th.
Book summary: On the brink of global change, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope, is bursting with invaluable first hand insights from leading activists at the forefront of some of the most fiercely fought battlegrounds of contemporary sexual politics in India, the Caribbean and Africa. As well, authors from Canada, Botswana and Kenya examine key turning points in the advancement of sexual orientation and gender identity issues at the United Nations, and turn a critical eye on LGBT asylum in Canada. Authors speak to a need to reorient and decolonise queer studies, and turn a critical gaze northwards from the Global South.
Published by: Human Rights Consortium, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London
This anthology (edited by Nancy Nicol, Adrian Jjuuko, Richard Lusimbo, Nick J. Mulé, Susan Ursel, Amar Wahab and Phyllis Waugh) is an outcome of a five-year international collaboration among partners that share a common legacy of British colonial laws that criminalise same-sex intimacy and gender identity/expression. The project was unique, combining research and writing with participatory documentary filmmaking. This visionary politics infuses the pages of the anthology.
In light of the British Prime Minister’s recent acknowledgement of the legacy of British colonialism on LGBT human rights in contemporary Commonwealth states and her expression of regret for introducing those laws – this volume is particularly timely. It is a book for activists and academics in a range of disciplines from postcolonial and sexualities studies to filmmaking, as well as for policy-makers and practitioners committed to envisioning, and working for, a better future.
A PDF of the book is available to media in advance of the launch, on request. For more information contact: Nancy Nicol,
The resulting volume captures history in the making.Highlights include:
India: on the brink of repealing a 157-year-old British colonial era law
Arvind Narrain, a human rights lawyer in the challenge to the law in India, examines the case against Section 377, the 1861 British colonial law that criminalises ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. A decision on the case by the India Supreme Court is expected by Oct. Should the Court strike down Section 377 – which is likely, given legal developments in the case – it will transform LGBT rights in a country of 1.3 billion people. As well, the ruling will have huge repercussions in other countries, particularly in the Commonwealth, where there are similar legal battles against colonial-era laws that were modeled on Section 377.
Africa: expanded criminalisation and incremental change
Botswanan and Ugandan human rights lawyers, Monica Tabengwa and Adrian Jjuuko write about ‘expanded criminalisation’ to describe a process in post-independence African countries to further criminalise same-sex conduct across Africa today. Adrian Jjuuko and Fridah Mutesi, lawyers for the Constitutional case against the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) in Uganda, provide a detailed first-hand case study of the successful challenge to the Act. Complementing their chapter, Richard Lusimbo and Austin Bryan examine the growth of LGBTI organising in Uganda in the context of the struggle against the AHA, including the formation of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which brought together 50 civil society organisations to oppose the AHA. Kenyan Justice Monica Mbaru, lawyer Monica Tabengwa and ARC International Executive director Kim Vance discuss recent litigation and significant incremental gains in case law based on constitutional protections that guarantee freedom of association in Botswana, Kenya and Uganda. Kenya activists, Jane Wothaya Thirikwa, Guillit Amakobe, Kat Dearham and Po Likimani, examine LGBT organising in Kenya, probing into questions of intersectionality, class, poverty and donor culture with regard to organizing work.
Decriminalisation in the Caribbean: Belize and Guyana
Litigant in the first case to successfully challenge a British colonial-era law that criminalises same sex intimacy in the Caribbean, Caleb Orozco, gives a first person account the struggle for decriminalisation in Belize. In August 2016, the Supreme Court of Belize struck down Section 53 of the Criminal Code, thus decriminalising same-sex intimacy. This legal victory was a result of years of community building locally and from across the region. Pere DeRoy and Namela Baynes Henry examine LGBT rights in Guyana in the context of the cross-dressing law and the challenge to this colonial-era law. Currently a case challenging the cross-dressing law is under consideration by the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Advances in Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) recognition at the UN
Vance, Mulé, Khan and McKenzie map the progress of SOGI initiatives at the United Nations and the engagement of civil society. The authors trace key developments such as: the first resolution on sexual orientation and human rights in Geneva in 2003: the development of the Yogyakarta Principles of 2006 and their ongoing relevance and influence; the adoption of the first resolution on human rights and SOGI by the UN Human Rights Council on 17 June 2011; and the appointment of the first ever independent expert on SOGI issues in September 2016.
(Neo)colonialism, neoliberalism and borders
The impact of colonial, neo-colonial and neoliberal policies on sexual orientation and gender identity issues and rights in Canada and internationally is a cross-cutting theme throughout the volume. Kinsman gives a critical perspective on national identity and border security, raising questions with regard to the current asylum regime in Canada. Mulé and Gamble offer critical perspectives on LGBT refugee issues in Canada focusing on the refugee determination system and mental health. Wahab contextualises the Envisioning data from Saint Lucia, and provides a critical examination of neocolonialism, noting that homophobia and human rights cannot be separated from the broader tensions of the struggles for self-determination in the context of neoliberal globalisation. Mbaru, Tabengwa and Vance provide a detailed legal-activist historical overview of the debate on ‘traditions’ at the African Commission and at the UN through the lens of Africa.
Participatory documentary
Participatory documentary was a key part of the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project, working with community partners and human rights defenders who are engaged in efforts to transform society and advance lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Africa, the Caribbean and India. Envisioning project lead, Nancy Nicol, contributes a chapter on the methodology and outcomes of this work, which includes such films as No Easy Walk To Freedom (2014) on the struggle against Section 377 and the growth of queer organising in India and And Still We Rise (2015) on the impact of and resistance to the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda.
Book Launch Panel:
Nancy Nicol is the principal investigator of the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project and the lead editor of the anthology. Nancy is a documentary filmmaker and Professor Emeritus, York University. As part of the Envisioning project, she coordinated the project internationally and contributed principally to the Canada research team, the India research team and the Africa research team. As part of that work, Nancy worked closely with community partners on the participatory documentary work, directed No Easy Walk To Freedom (90 min. 2014) and co-directed And Still We Rise (68 min. 2015) with Richard Lusimbo.
Maurice Tomlinson is a member of, and contributed to, two Envisioning research teams, the Law and Human Rights Mechanisms research team and the Caribbean research team. Currently Maurice is a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. He acts as counsel and/or claimant in a number of current cases that challenge anti-LGBT laws in the Caribbean.
Jane Wothaya Thirikwa is a social justice activist with more than eight years’ experience in LGBT organising efforts in Kenya. She provided expertise and insights to Envisioning’s Africa research team. She participated in advocacy programmes at both the Gay Kenya Trust and the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, coordinating grassroots initiatives as well as building partnerships with the wider social justice movement in Kenya. Currently Jane is the global partnerships coordinator at KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Toronto.
Amar Wahab is an Associate Professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University. He is a co-investigator with Envisioning and a member of its Caribbean research team. His research interests include: sexual citizenship in liberal multicultural and postcolonial nation state formations (mainly related to the Caribbean and Canada); race and queer transnational politics; critiques of queer liberalism; and race, gender and the politics of representation.


Sep 13 2018


6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


Glad Day Bookshop @ 499 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C6, Canada
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