Human Rights and Sexual Citizenship

February 01, 2020

Call for papers to the Special Issue "Human Rights and Sexual Citizenship" in Societies:

Dear Colleagues,

Sexual citizenship concerns people’s sexual lives and the ways that culture, politics and institutional systems influence them. The concept developed as a framework to understand the LGBT movement’s fight for recognition of and equal opportunities to sexual rights and expression. Their pursuits included ‘claims for inclusion, … acceptance of diversity, and a recognition of and respect for alternative ways of being’ (Weeks 1998, p. 37). This emergence of ‘the sexual citizen’ can be understood in the context of contemporary society where sexual subjectivity became of increased importance (see also Giddens 1992). In other words, sexual identity became the basis for rights claims as well as for theorisation of sexual and intimate citizenship (Plummer 2003; Richardson 2000). The research field developed in a symbiotic relationship with LGBT activism (Weeks 2010).

Sexual citizenship status has traditionally been dependent on a person’s (hetero)sexuality, and relatedly been tied to varying degrees of access to certain sexual rights: to sexual identity, sexual practice and validation through institutional systems (Richardson 2000; 1998). However, as intersectionality theorisation has evolved and more groups have claimed rights specific to their conditions and needs, the concept of sexual citizenship has expanded (Richardson 2018). People in homelessness, migrant positions, sex workers, disabled people and many more have claimed their human right to sexual expression and agency, and their right to equal access to institutional provisions. The traditional fights for marriage equality and sexual freedom for gay and lesbians have extended to a much wider understanding of what sexual citizenship means – and can mean.

We invite papers that discuss empirical, theoretical, policy- or practice-related dimensions of human rights and sexual citizenship, as well as arts-based contributions, that aim to forge new understandings and illuminate experiences of being, or being denied, sexual citizenship in different societies.

Dr. Julia Bahner
Guest Editor