The article makes three interrelated arguments: first, that contemporary politics and governance of sexuality (homosexuality in particular) is embedded in a historical standard of civilisation; second, that sexuality as a standard of civilisation has been produced in relation to global power dynamics; third, that these dynamics continue to intersect, with gender, race, and class in different ways.
Laws established during European colonisation (heterocolonialism) are targeted by Western states and Western-led organisations with the aim to liberate the LGBTQ+ community, a form of homocolonialism. Two examples feature in this summary.
HRW (2017) uses the benchmark of marriage equality to reflect the geographic division between states with and without LGBTQ+ rights. In doing so, it separates civilised from uncivilised societies, thus engaged in a homonormative production of LGBTQ+ rights. Critically, it foregoes a deeper analysis of existing queer communities that are engaged in politics and society in regions where marriage equality does not exist. HRW ignores the depths to which marriage rights are accepted or rejected within these societies and, additionally, reproduces the divided world by perpetuating the construction of the non-West as savage or barbaric.
Similarly, a 2019 United Nations OHCHR publication discusses limited legal protections for LGBTQ+ communities within the global south. In outlining the violence faced in these geographies, it fails to examine the continuation of violence against LGBTQ+ communities in the West, despite legal protections. By ignoring violence that occurs in the West, the separation between the civilised West and the uncivilised “other” becomes evident, reproduced, and fortified.