Ian Lekus - “Fear of a Queer Planet: Activism, Culture Wars, and LGBT Human Rights”

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Ian Lekus is an LGBT Thematic Specialist for Amnesty International USA and a Lecturer in Cornell University’s Washington, D.C. Program, where he is teaching a seminar on social justice in our nation’s capital. He has previously taught U.S. and world history, sexuality and gender studies, HIV/AIDS, and other topics at Harvard, Duke, Tufts, and the Universities of Georgia and Maryland. He is currently completing his first book, Queer and Present Dangers: Sexuality, Masculinity, and the Sixties, under advance contract with the University of North Carolina Press. Both his advocacy and his scholarship address the intersections between grassroots social movements, political and cultural change, and sexuality and gender.

"Over the past few years, human rights violations against sexual and gender minorities have drawn unprecedented global attention, seemingly pitting the West against Russia and the Global South. But why now? How does this easy, comfortable narrative obscure an intricate tapestry of sexuality and gender; race, religion and culture; grassroots organizing; and globalization and reaction? How does the ongoing, genuine queer human rights crisis across the globe reinforce Western preconceptions about hopelessly corrupt African leaders and failed African governance, intractably authoritarian Russian political culture, and endemic misogyny and fanaticism in the Middle East? How are LGBT human rights fundamentally intertwined with other critical issues in democratic civil society? In “Fear of a Queer Planet,” I address these questions, explore how LGBT people and their allies have staked claims to inclusion in the international human rights system, and demonstrate the urgent need for a usable history to combat global homophobia and transphobia." --Ian Lekus