Tension in Turkey

30 07 2008

I still have a great big pile of blog posts and news clips to blog about, which I’ve finally organized into posts based on topic, but since my week is a little crazy, I’d just like to make a little off-the-cuff comment about what’s going on in Turkey.  For those of you who don’t know, the highest court in Turkey ruled today not to allow a ban on the ruling party but instead to cut its state funding in half for trying to impose Islam on the secular nation.

When the news was first coming out about the headscarf issue, I found it very interesting to hear the perspective of my Turkish teacher, Bahar, who like many women in Turkey is Muslim but believes strongly in the secular state.  The way she described it, secularism is the most fundamental principal of the Turkish state and thus allowing women to wear headscarves in school would be a threat to the state’s historical foundations and its values.  In other words, there is a huge fear of the slippery slope.

I have trouble deciding where I stand on this – not that it really matters, as I’m not Turkish, but I still tend to have an opinion on foreign politics.  On the one hand, I see her arguments, especially in light of what has happened in neighboring states and considering Turkey’s position and reputation as a unique secular, modern, democratic state whose population is mostly Muslim.  On the other hand, I grew up in the US where freedom of religion is heavily valued, and it seems strange to me that someone would ban a political party based on its religious ties – not all that democratic, I would think.  It will be interesting to see how all this plays out, in any event.

Humanitarian intervention (still intervention)

1 07 2008

My Foreign Relations Law professor, who is a Russian national, made an interesting point today.  He was talking about the decision to bomb Kosovo, and referred to the humanitarian intervention as a pretext, which I don’t agree with.  However, it’s good to remember that there are two sides to every story, and though I think in this case intervention was the right thing given Serbia’s history of ethnic cleansing, the credibility of the threat, and the lack of national interest beyond humanitarian concerns (very unlike Iraq), there is a Serbian side to the story.  Of course, Russia is an ally of Serbia, and it was due to the promise that Russia and China (nervous about the idea of invading sovereign territory) would veto the move in the Security Council that NATO chose to strike out on its own without UN approval.

The professor was making a link to one of the Federalist Papers, wherein the author (I believe it was Hamilton) mentions the inability of a young United States to remonstrate with dignity.  To illustrate the meaning of this phrase, he used the example of Russian Prime Minister Primakov flying from Moscow to Washington to meet with Vice President Al Gore.  Before leaving, Primakov was informed by Russian intelligence of NATO’s plan to bomb Kosovo.  He called Gore, who informed Primakov that his information was bad.  Primakov got on the plane, and when he arrived at Shannon to refuel, he called once again, again receiving intelligence information that the bombing was imminent.  Gore responded in the same way.  Well, Primakov was over the Atlantic when he found that the bombing was taking place.  Had he arrived in Washington and had his picture taken with the Vice President, the obvious message would have been that Russia supported the mission.  So Primakov asked the pilot to take a U-turn, and he returned to Russia. In my professor’s words, “that was when the United States lost Russia.”

I find this story interesting in two respects.  One is the perspective that many Americans have when it comes to Russia.  I grew up thinking of Russia as a country that was strong throughout the Cold War, though it had trouble feeding its own people and was probably in some way inferior, and after the war ended, I didn’t really think of Russia as anything.  It was this state out on the other side of world that we didn’t have to worry about any more, essentially.  But I’ve come to realize that Russia is a country to watch for, and also to respect.  I think Russian leaders have done some horrible things in terms of human rights, but I also think that to ignore or try to manipulate Russia is a bit foolish. 

The other respect in which I find the account interesting deals directly with Kosovo.  I’ve been reading Richard Falk’s recent book, in which he talks a lot about how Kosovo was illegal but legitimate.  One side you don’t really get, however, is the Russian (or Serbian) side.  Again, I think it’s fairly clear that the mission saved a lot of lives, and that imminent humanitarian attrocities justified the attack, but the nature of the attack is another question.  Humanitarian intervention is still intervention, and respect for sovereignty is one of the key rules of diplomacy.  I think we could do better.  High-altitude bombing, for example, doesn’t seem like the solution.  I think the global world order needs restructuring so that nations can show respect for each other and universal non-acceptance of human rights violations.  If Russia, for example, had been able to retain the option of being Serbia’s ally but at the same time could have refused to use its veto due to the human rights violations going on, and at the same time NATO powers had agreed to use only targeted military force when absolutely necessary in a way that would avoid civilian casualties and ensure quick withdrawal, maybe we’d be in a different position today.  I think that we should work to prevent human rights tragedy no matter what the geopolitical consequences, but I also think we should be careful about verifying the threat and using appropriate responses.  Losing Russia, I think, is proving to be a relatively big deal.  

So what is the goal?  I think universal acceptance of at least the very most basic human rights is a good start.  This is an extremely difficult goal to achieve, but it is in the self-interest of nations to adhere to the principle.  If we could all carry out diplomatic relations as sovereign states, but at the same time understand that none of our allies will help us if we commit human rights atrocities, even within sovereign territory, that our international reputation will be irrevocably tarnished and our economic position threatened… who knows.  Maybe the situation would improve.  I’m not naive enough to think that the world will go pacifist anytime soon, but I have to believe that there is a better way of doing things.

As a human rights activist, my personal goal is to be more sensitive to geopolitical realities and cultural concerns.  Though I do strongly believe that people deserve a minimal standard of living, the way to go about it isn’t to burst into a country and declare that I’m right.  Situations are often complicated, and cultural understanding is essential to intelligent diplomacy.  I do believe that diplomacy is the way to achieve human rights victories, not force.  If international organizations can gain more respect on the world stage, they also may have a critical role to play in informing nations of their human rights violations in a way that appeals to national self interest and cultural context, not just the universal “civilizing mission” that nations are understandably hesitant to embrace.  Even in the human rights field, there are two (or many) sides to the story.  Hopefully we can reconcile them and still manage to save a few lives along the way.

Blogging against homophobia

17 05 2008

To celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, instead of doing a post I offer you two items of possible interest.  The first is an article that ran today in Le Monde, which I have translated for you.  The original text in French appears here.  Keep in mind that I am not a translator by profession, and I did this quickly without editing.  It should be accurate, but if it reads a little stilted it’s because I only translated directly, instead of doing a “smoothing over” after the fact.  The article is an interview with Daniel Borillo, and it caught my eye because I used an essay of Borillo’s on gay parenting in France for my seminar paper.  Fellow history enthusiasts may find it especially interesting.  The second item is the text of my high school graduation speech, delivered in 2003 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  


Interview with Daniel Borillo: “The battle against homophobia is worldwide” 

Since 2005, the International Day Against Homophobia has taken place each year, on the 17th of May.  One of the objectives of this day is the decriminalization of homosexuality throughout the world.  What regions are currently the most affected by the legal prohibition of homosexual practices?

There are, in the world, more countries that impose sanctions on homosexuality than countries that celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia!  Homosexuality is penalized today, often in a very brutal fashion, in more than eighty countries.

In most of them, Islam is the official religion, to which we add the secular states like Tunisia, and the Islamist regimes like the Sudan.  Homosexuality is a crime punishable by the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, in Mauritania, and in Nigeria.  Homosexuals risk a life sentence in Uganda, in India, and in Singapore.

The Qu’ran isn’t more homophobic than the Bible, but in the countries of the Christian tradition, the action of the secular movements has allowed a weakening of religious power. 

What is unfortunate is that, in these countries, the initiatives of civil society are immediately censured.  In 2004, a very important website of information on the prevention of AIDS, gaymiddleeast.com, was thusly blocked by the Saudi authorities, which has had dramatic consequences for the diffusion of the epidemic.  In this country the Islamists, who have pressured the governments to a virulent homophobia, are greatly responsible, but the society as a whole also participates in persecution in rejecting homosexuals.

You have shown, in a critical anthology that pulls together the writings of more than fifty authors, that the West has itself for a long time considered homosexuality a sin, seen as a crime.  What were the successive faces of this stigmatisation?

In Europe, the victory of Christianity constituted the first step in a long persecution of homosexuals.  In 313, under the Emperor Constantine, Christianity became a state religion, and in 390, under the Emperor Theodoseus I, the punishment for sodomy was death by burning.  Homosexuals were then persecuted as sodomites, and in a systematic manner from the end of the thirteenth century.

These peresecutions, which culminated in the setting in motion of a veritable Inquisition at the European level, also targeted Jews and witches, but homosexuals have long had the sad privilege of being pursued as sinners, as sick persons and as criminals.  After the Inquisition, the persecution of homosexuals during the Nazi regime constitutes the most tragic chapter in the history of homophobia.  The Central Office of the Reich for Combatting Homosexuality, created by Himmler, took part from the beginning in the arrest, imprisonment, deportation, and death of tens of thousands of homosexuals. 

Finally, until the end of the 1970s, homosexuality was, in one way or the other, punished in all the European countries: legal sanctions, police repression, jurisprudential practices.

It wasn’t until the decision of the European Court in Strasbourg, in 1981, that the repression of homosexuality among consenting adults was judged contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

These persecutions contrast with the practices of antiquity, which tolerated, even valued, certain forms of homosexuality.  How do you explain that these cultures did not recognize what we today call homophobia?

Greco-roman antiquity basked in a climate of tolerance with regard to homoeroticism, but homosexual practices were very coded.  The sole form of accepted homosexuality was pederasty, that is to say relations initiated between a young man who was to have public responsibilities and an aristocratic adult man.  This was due to the fact that this profoundly misogynistic society strongly condemned the assumption by any free man – Roman or Greek – of the passive role, that is to say his behaving sexually like a woman.  But this didn’t apply to a young man – who was in a relationship of apprenticeship to masculinity – or a slave – who was in a socially inferior situation.   

It is then the active-passive dichotomy, and not the homosexual-heterosexual one, that determined the sexual morality of the ancients.  In France, how was the calling into question of Christian heritage accomplished?

This was accomplished thanks to the veritable political and cultural revolution that the liberal thought of the eighteenth century, which pronounced the distinction between private and public life and the protection of the individual against the interference of political power, created.  For the liberal philosophers such as Condorcet and Bentham, an act that didn’t cause any harm to others, such as homosexuality between consenting adults, could be morally condemnable but didn’t merit any penal or civil sanction.  Later, the Industrial Revolution and the migration of populations into the cities permitted homosexuals to distance themselves from the rigid social structures of the countryside.  Free from the familial constraints of rural life, homosexuals could assume their sexuality more freely.

Did the AIDS epidemic, starting in the 1980s, play a role in the growing consciousness of the discrimination experienced by homosexuals?

We often say that the AIDS virus is “intelligent” because of its manner of transmission, which makes fighting it medically very difficult.  I like to say that the virus had “intelligence” to appear at the moment when the gay and lesbian movement took a structure.  Until then, all epidemics on this scale were handled by classic mechanisms of imprisonment and exclusion of the sick.  What is extraordinary with AIDS, is that the epidemic was handled, in the West, in a liberal and democratic manner, thanks to the individual awareness of responsibility among the infected and the partnership between associations and public powers.

This wasn’t obvious: in the case of AIDS, homosexual practices became dangerous and society could have taken on an attitude of growing hostility.  But the existence of an organized gay movement showed that exclusion, instability, and isolation aggravated both the medical situation of the sick and the social problems that confronted this community.  In spite of its dramatic dimension, AIDS did more for equality than all the previous mobilisations. 

It is at that moment that society became conscious of the fact that a man who had lived for years with his sick companion wouldn’t be recognized by the hospital authorities and that he would be expelled the next day from their communal housing.  It is thus due to the political mobilization around AIDS that one can enter into a PACS. 

Has Europe in its many forms (the Brussels Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the European Court at Strasbourg) participated in this movement for decriminalization of homosexuality, followed by the penalization of homophobia?

The Council of European and the European Parliament were pioneers in the fight for equality.  These supranational bodies allowed for a change in perspective: in twenty years, Europe has replaced criminalization of homosexuality with penalization of homophobia.  I often cite Sartre, who was asked about the Jewish question and responded, “There is no Jewish question; the real question is anti-Semitism.”  For homosexuality, it is the same thing: the question, today, in Europe, is no longer homosexuality, but homophobia.  Homosexuality is no longer a sin, a mental illness, or a crime.  What is a problem for democracy is intolerance towards homosexuality.

What are today, in your eyes, the discriminations that persist in France with regard to homosexuals?

France lacks a real policy on the prevention of homophobia in the schools and in the education of police and judges, but the discrimination principle is written into the law: it is the refusal of gay parenting and marriage between couples of the same sex.  For me, this demand doesn’t deny the difference between the sexes: it is freedom and equality, not masculine and feminine, that constitute the democratic values.  I just read a UNICEF report that affirms that twenty million children in the world today are orphans: I said to myself that what is urgent is to welcome these children into families, and not to debate the difference between the sexes, as the opponents of equality do.

In the past decade, several European countries such as Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands have opened marriage and filiation to couples of the same sex.  Do you believe that this evolution is “inevitable,” using Luc Ferry’s word?

History doesn’t make itself: it is made, day after day, by social movements.  If the gay and lesbian movement continues its struggle, yes, this change in legislation will be inevitable.  France will join with Spain, where marriage is authorized and where homosexuality has become commonplace, this is the ideal situation.

But one must distrust the rhetoric of the mobilizers, because the gains are always fragile: the examples of yesterday’s Poland of the Kaczynski brothers or of Italy under Berlusconi today show that steps backward are always possible.  


Raleigh Charter High School Graduation Speech, May 2003

            Over spring break this year, I went to Key West to visit my family.  One day I was riding my aunt’s spare bike to the Eckerd’s to get some film developed, and while I was unlocking the bike from a rack in front of the store, a woman walked by me.  She looked fairly old, her face was very wrinkled, and she was wearing overalls and ratty sneakers.  When she passed, she said “hello, sister.”  Immediately, my guard went up.  Was the woman homeless?  Or perhaps mentally handicapped?  Thinking I had misheard, I looked up and asked, “sorry?”  She stopped and said, “I said hello, sister.  You’re my sister, because I believe we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.”  She paused, and unsure of what to do, I just looked at her.  “You may not believe it, but that’s what I believe,” she said.  I still couldn’t think of the appropriate response, and she continued on her way.  As I rode back to my aunt’s condominium, I thought about the encounter with some guilt.  I do, after all, consider myself a Christian in some respects, and I like the thought that we are all brothers and sisters.  It demands a certain amount of love and respect for one another that seems lacking in the world today.  However, I couldn’t just show my agreement, smile, and move on.  I had to start churning out assumptions.  Is she homeless?  Is she insane?  Am I in danger?  This sort of experience is troubling, and I’m not the only one who has done something of the kind.

            I have no doubt that the students at our school are kind and respectful, and that many would go out of their way to help someone in need.  However, there is a mindset that many of us carry around that says, whether we admit it or not, that those who are different need to be “fixed” in some way.  We are not comfortable around them, and we may not feel safe.  It is easier to just be politically correct and stand for broad concepts like being against racism, sexism, and homophobia, than it is to actually accept and affirm someone whose thoughts or actions differ from our own. 

            College will be a place where intellectual and other kinds of diversity are celebrated, and where thought that differs from the norm is encouraged.  However, it can be easy not to question the little things we do that reject other people, and to lock ourselves into an “it’s okay, my neighbor did it too” mentality.  This is why it’s best to challenge yourself not just in the classroom, but throughout all parts of your life.  Are you unconsciously more likely to associate with someone or agree with them because of factors beyond their control?  Do you do unkind things without thinking about them, just because they seem acceptable?  Are you unlikely to go against the grain and really think when someone asks you a question?  Do you challenge yourself to answer truthfully no matter what other people think?

            The other day, I was eating lunch with Ms. Solomon when Agnes came in for help with a speech on character for the NHS induction.  Ms. Solomon gave her a piece of advice that really resounded with me.  Those who have character are not always the most recognized people, or the ones you hear about.  They aren’t necessarily the people who wind up in the statistics.  People with character are those who only one person, or perhaps no one at all might recognize, but they are those who feel good about themselves because they have done the right thing, whether or not it was the easiest.

            Last month, Caitlyn Meuse, a 16-year-old student in Massachusetts, was hit in the head with a baseball bat after participating in her school’s Day of Silence.

            A few months ago, two gay men were murdered in their home by a man who also bombed an abortion clinic and a synagogue.  His sentence could be as little as 23 years in prison.

            Between 1994 and 1995, 1,459 hate crimes were committed.  95% of the perpetrators acted alone; obviously the hate they felt is something that pervades our society, not just isolated groups.  Most of the perpetrators did not feel they did anything wrong. 

            9,271 hate crimes were committed in this country in 2001 alone.  4,367 were committed on the basis of race, 2,098 on the basis of ethnicity, 1,828 on the basis of religion, 1,393 on the basis of sexual orientation, and 35 because of bias against a person with a disability.

            In June 2001 a 32-year-old member of a white supremacist group punched a 16-year-old black teenager in the mouth after seeing him with a white young woman, saying that he should only associate with black women.

            You probably just said in your head about at least one of these cases, “that’s wrong” or, “that can’t be possible in this day and age.”  Yet, despite how much statistics and stories like these affect us, it is the people who encourage and cultivate diversity that fail to get the most recognition, not unlike those with general good character.  It takes courage to defeat the internal assumptions about other people that are founded on culture, upbringing, and history – not on logic. These comments, gestures, and attitudes towards other human beings are what keeps the culture that breeds stereotypes self-sustaining.  Yet if you can think about these assumptions and consciously try not to submit to them, you will be all the better for it.

            If you think about it, you will probably be able to recall an incident in which someone made an assumption about you based on some extenuating factor.  Perhaps someone laughed at your southern accent once, or assumed you wouldn’t want to join in a basketball game because of your height.  Everyone makes assumptions, and everyone is the victim of them.  However, I believe this class can do something to improve this troubling social climate.  It doesn’t take much to change an attitude, or think before you say something damaging to another person.  If just the few hundred of us in this room try to challenge one assumption tomorrow, to give one smile to a stranger or to carefully consider one person’s viewpoint, I believe we will be making a big step towards improvement.

            If you want to make a difference after graduating here, and be a citizen of a truly better world, be just a little more aware of who’s around you.  Think before speaking, and challenge your assumptions.  You may not feel like any big hero, but you will be able to live with a clear conscience and a knowledge that you’ve done what was right.

It’s not just a gay thing. It’s a human thing.

15 05 2008

Bloggers Unite

I was thrilled when I heard about the “Bloggers Unite for Human Rights” event, because as you may have figured out, international human rights is kind of “my thing.”  I plan to have a long career as a human rights activist, and to keep writing and learning about human rights.  This semester, I took a seminar on international human rights law, and wrote a seventy-three page paper proposing an express non-discrimination principle based on sexual orientation in the application international human rights law.  Unfortunately, I can’t share the paper with you just yet, because I plan to condense and submit it to either a law journal or an essay prize, and then to expand it into a book, but I did want to talk a little bit about the intersection between gay rights and human rights, and why you should care.

Often, when social conservatives hear the words “gay rights,” I think they conjure up an idea of far out there, leftist, liberal, radical rights for gay people that necessarily conflict with and infringe on their own rights, whether those be social, cultural, religious, economic, privacy, or anything else.  The thing about human rights, though, is that they are universal.  Putting gay rights in a human rights framework really challenges us to think about our humanity, and our dignity.  It requires some tough questions.  I think in any context, thinking about human rights is a long process, and to really “get it,” you have to engage in some fundamental paradigm shifts.  When you picture “gay rights,” whether you’re gay or straight, conservative or liberal, you might imagine a catalogue of rights that are unique in some way, that only apply to people who fit into a particular “gay” box.  

There are some problems with this view, though, no matter where you’re coming from.  First, this model necessarily excludes some people.  It means you have to be “gay” (or lesbian, or bisexual) to have or fight for those rights.  When we base rights on status and identity, we require people to engage in a particular kind of identity formation.  This model is embraced by many in the West, but it causes problems when well-meaning activists import it to the developing world.  (More on that in a future post.)  It also doesn’t necessarily include everyone in the West.  There are plenty of Americans who are uncomfortable with certain labels, or those who don’t consider their sexual conduct a valid indicator of their sexual identity.  The “gay rights” model is also problematic politically, because it makes it easy to oppose.  You might think that gay rights are “special” rights, or that they necessarily mean that other people can’t have rights.  You might think that gay marriage, for example, harms the heterosexual marriage institution, or that affirmative action in employment means you’ll be out of a job.  It’s also easy to think of “gay rights” as being radical, liberal, Democratic, or opposed to Christianity.  I don’t agree with these arguments, but they exist, and they are something to which you constantly have to respond when using the “gay rights” model.

This is why I suggest human rights as an alternative.  One of the most important characteristics of human rights as a group is that they are universal.  Some may be more justiciable than others, certainly.  Some rights are labeled “aspirational,” meaning that people do all have a right to a certain thing, but due to limited resources, unsympathetic governments, or whatever else, they are denied that right at the moment.  Just because a right has being violated, even if it has always been violated, does not mean we do not have that right.  

When we think of these individual issues or rights claims (gay marriage, employment non-discrimination, right to privacy, etc), we must execute a mental shift.  If we think of these rights in universal terms, then we begin to realize that it is hypocritical to oppose them for others, but not for ourselves.  Discrimination is illogical.  John Rawls coined the term “veil of ignorance.”  This means that in thinking about rights, we consider ourselves from an initial position of ignorance about ourselves.  We imagine that we cannot see ourselves, and we know nothing about ourselves – we don’t know if we’re black, Muslim, gay, disabled, French, middle-aged, upper class, or anything else.  In this position, we necessarily would confer as many rights as possible without infringing upon the rights of others, because we don’t know where we’ll end up.  It would be stupid to deny rights to a certain class, if we might end up in that class.  

So take a moment to consider yourself in this position, completely ignorant as to your sexual orientation.  I think you’d be a little hesitant to differentiate between orientations as you dole out rights to individuals.  You wouldn’t want to limit rights for gay people, or straight people, for men who have sex with men, or women who have sex with women, for those who have sex with both sexes, or those who have sex only with the opposite sex.  You wouldn’t want to limit how people are allowed to express themselves, or associate with others.  You’d want to make sure everyone has as many rights as possible to preserve their own dignity – their own humanity – without harming others.

So the next time you hear about “gay rights” in the media or in the courtroom, in the school or in your workplace, try to frame them mentally in a different way.  Think about the right to marriage, for example.  If you’re straight, you wouldn’t be very happy if someone told you that you weren’t allowed to marry your opposite sex partner.  Or think about the right to privacy.  What if there were a law on the books that said (due to population control problems, for example) that men and women were not allowed to engage in procreative sex in their own homes?  Think about freedom of expression.  What if holding hands with your opposite sex partner, or wearing a t-shirt with a slogan such as “I like boys” if you’re female, exposed you to ridicule and violence?  You wouldn’t like it very much.

Those of us who are comfortably gay and have always advocated gay rights can also benefit from this perspective.  It isn’t just a new way to make the argument to those who don’t agree with us, but it’s also a way to be more inclusive.  We can stop thinking so hard about who belongs in the acronym, who can show up at the festival, who gets to enter the club, and whose rights we want to fight for.  Fighting for human rights means fighting for everyone.  It means identifying gaps where they exist, and filling them in.  Perhaps in a given society, people are targeted for same-sex conduct.  Maybe in another society, identity as gay or lesbian or some other moniker is what matters.  Perhaps it’s non-normative gender expression that results in violent responses or inadequate legal protection.  This strategy helps us open our eyes, and see what needs to be fixed, no matter how we personally identify.  It also gives an opportunity for coalition building.  Gay rights are human rights.  So are women’s rights.  So are rights for people regardless of race or ethnicity.  If we recognize that we are all fighting for the same thing, we can help each other recognize violations and work together to eradicate them.  

I hope if you’ve made it to the end of this post, you’ll have some time to think about and digest what I’ve said.  I’m always happy to engage in discussion, so feel free to comment.  And, if you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend the following readings (please excuse the slightly incorrect citation format as I can’t do large and small caps here):

  • Carl F. Stychin, Same-Sex Sexualities and the Global Human Rights Discourse, 49 McGill L.J. 951 (2003).
  • Eric Heinze, Sexual Orientation: A Human Right (1995).
  • Hassan El Menyawi, Activism from the Closet: Gay Rights Strategising in Egypt, 7 Melb. J. Int’l L. 28 (2006). 
  • Laurence R. Helfer & Alice M. Miller, Sexual Orientation and Human Rights: Towards a United States and Transnational Jurisprudence, 9 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 61 (1996).  
  • Robert Wintemute, From ‘Sex Rights’ to ‘Love Rights’: Partnership Rights as Human Rights, in Sex Rights: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2002 186 (Nicholas Bamforth, ed., 2005).
  • Sonia Katayal, Exporting Identity, 14 Yale J.L. & Feminism 97 (2002).
  • Vincent J. Samar, Gay-Rights as a Particular Instantiation of Human Rights, 64 Alb. L. Rev. 983 (2001).
Also, as a final note, not related at all to the sexual orientation side of things, I want to strongly, strongly recommend the book that got me really thinking about human rights in a global way.  It’s an account of one man’s experience, not at all academic, but extremely thoughtful, articulate, and thought-provoking.  In my case, it was life changing.  The book is Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortensen, and it’s quite seriously the best nine dollars you’ll ever spend.