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Year: 2006 Type: Article Language: English

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 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 subversions. 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.

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