“Empowered Criminals and Global Subjects”: Transnational Norms and Sexual Minorities in India Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York. In this paper, I comparatively examine the influence of transnational advocacy on legal struggles around sex work and homosexuality in contemporary India. While transnational scholars of sexuality understand globalization as a contradictory and uneven process, there has been little attention to how this unevenness is manifest in the realm of sexual rights and law. Based on qualitative research, I show how transnational discourses on health—in particular, HIV/AIDS interventions—and on human rights interact unevenly with national discourses on sexuality. Whereas discourses regarding HIV/AIDS enable sex workers to mobilize at the national level, global anti-trafficking discourses effectively reduce sex workers to “victims.” For Indian LGBTQ groups, discourses regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic and global human rights enable these groups to problematize the anti-sodomy law in national politics. However, national legal discourses effectively reduce LGBQ individuals to “criminals,” and legal advancements in this arena are uneven. Focusing on this unevenness produced by transnational advocacy this paper highlights how sexual rights are articulated in context of asymmetric and uneven globalizations.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lakkimsetti, C.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016 11:11 AM