Reflections on the Language of Rights from a Queer Perspective

  • Jaya Sharma
Volume 37 Number 5
Published: October 1, 2006
The language of rights has been of great value to queer movements, particularly in the context of claim making vis-à-vis the state. There are however iv Sexuality Matters 0Prelims37.5.qxd 02/11/2006 16:10 Page iv IDS Bulletin Volume 37 Number 5 October 2006 v significant limitations of the rights language that need to be recognised. This article focuses attention on these, drawing on the experience of PRISM (People for Rights of Indian Sexuality Minorities), a queer activist forum based in Delhi, India. The rights language pushes us into a limiting framework of identity politics. It also allows other progressive movements to offer their support from a ‘safe’ distance. A narrow use of the rights language runs the danger of maintaining the discourse of the status quo, offering escape routes from addressing more directly intersectionality, heteronormativity and its subservions. The article makes a case for rooting the rights language in queer/feminist politics in order to allow for a more transformatory engagement with sexuality


  • Gender
  • Sexuality
From Issue: Vol. 37 No. 5 (2006) | Sexuality Matters