In September 2016, the UN Human Rights Council appointed an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Less than a month later, the World Bank President announced the appointment of an advisor on SOGI, a newly created senior position tasked with promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusion throughout the work of the World Bank. Both developments are part of a wider trend of global institutions beginning to engage with LGBT/LGBTI issues.
In this article, I identify and analyse these developments, arguing that we are witnessing an emerging phenomenon I call 'global gay governance' (GGG). By 'gay governance', following the work of scholars on governance feminism, I mean the forms in which LGBT advocacy and ideas get incorporated into state, state-like and state-affiliated power. In previous work, I showed that gay governance occurs at the municipal, national and global levels. This article extends this work by focusing on GGG at the level of global institutions.Gross' 'Gay Governance: A Queer Critique' in Governance Feminism: An Introduction (Minnesota University Press, Forthcoming) comments
Referencing Foucault’s idea of governmentality, Janet Halley describes governance feminism as “every form in which feminists and feminist ideas get incorporated into state, state-like, and state-affiliated power.” In her words, when feminists and feminist ideas achieve sufficient legitimacy and influence “the conduct of men [,] women and children and even of inanimate beings like discourses, literary genres, and moral panics, we deem them to govern, and call them GF [Governance Feminism-A.G.].” Following this definition, this chapter examines “gay governance,” meaning the forms whereby LGBT people and ideas get incorporated into state, state-like, and state-affiliated power.
Gay governance is apparent in various practices — government funding for LGBT organizations and involvement in LGBT events such as LGBT pride parades; LGBT advocacy of policies and laws that may lead to increased carcerality by the state in the name of protection for LGBT people, and global export of LGBT rights, including a threat of financial sanctions to states failing to comply, known as “gay conditionality.” These three examples of gay governance, in the occurrences discussed in this chapter, correlate with governance at the municipal, national, and global levels respectively.