Conceptualising Sexualities in the MENA Region: Undoing LGBTQI Categories
There have been many attempts to address gender and sexual rights in the MENA region, a majority of which have focused on women’s empowerment and gender equality. More recently the rights of LGBTQI people have taken centre stage in development efforts and in the agendas of policy makers. This report highlights some major problems in the frameworks underpinning these efforts, despite their well-meant intentions. In this report, we shed light on the implications of adopting universalist LGBTQI identity categories within international humanitarian and development programming. Furthermore, this report highlights how LGBTQI identity categories often encourage tensions within and between communities, and even within communities of non-normative people, often undermining the space for change and collaboration on the one hand, and inclusivity on the other. This report also highlights the failure of international protection mechanisms to offer adequate support to those displaced due to non-normative sexual practices. The LGBTQI categories in case of applications for asylum is also problematized in this paper, as it has proven to be exclusionary to those at risk of SPGP violence but who do not necessarily identify as LGBTQI. Current international protection mechanisms have also to a great extent contributed to an image of a uniform LGBTQI identity, an identity that fits within stereotypes of non-normative people. Within these identities, there is a lack of tolerance for difference and an implication of uniformity that does not apply to all of the letters of the LGBTQI. Within this report there is also a country overview of the legal situation affecting LGBTQI people across the region. Click Here for the Full Report.