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2010-01-20

Ryan Richard Thoreson, "Queering Human Rights: The Yogyakarta Principles and the Norm That Dare Not Speak Its Name"

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http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a916820784&db=all

  

Journal of Human Rights, Volume 8, Issue 4, October 2009 , pp. 323-339.


Abstract

Over the past twenty years, regional and international efforts to secure formal protections for sexual minorities in the human rights framework have met with limited success. The prospects of these campaigns changed significantly in November 2006, when a group of activists, intellectuals, and policymakers met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to draft a document that would outline the rights that sexual minorities enjoy as human persons under the protection of international law. Since then, activists and policymakers in local, national, and international forums have consistently invoked the Yogyakarta Principles as an authoritative document on the rights of sexual minorities worldwide, despite the fact that the document itself is not legally binding for any state or governing body. In this paper, I explore the entrenchment of sexual minorities as an at-risk group protected by human rights and the importance of the Yogyakarta Principles in advancing this “norm that dare not speak its name” on the global stage. I identify three reasons why the Principles have been quickly assimilated into policymaking: the modesty of their demands, the stability of their foundations, and the strategic, inventive ways that activists have framed and deployed them from multiple points of entry in the global system. In doing so, they have fostered a growing consensus that sexual minorities deserve protection, without necessarily creating or promoting the rights or formal protections that typically accompany such claims.

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