Human rights, sexual orientation and the generation of childhoods: analysing the partial decriminalisation of 'unnatural offences' in India

Waites, M. (2010) Human rights, sexual orientation and the generation of childhoods: analysing the partial decriminalisation of 'unnatural offences' in India. International Journal of Human Rights, 14(6), pp. 971-993. (doi:10.1080/13642987.2010.512142)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Abstract

What is the relationship between global struggles over 'sexual orientation' and human rights, and sociological, legal and 'queer' understandings of sexuality and childhood? On 2 July 2009, the struggle in India to end the criminalisation of adult same-sex sexual behaviour by Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a legacy of the British Empire, achieved a landmark victory. The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of a petition by the Naz Foundation, supported by the Voices Against 377 coalition, to decriminalise oral and anal sex in private for adults. The analysis presented here argues that not only the chief justice who made the ruling, but also many campaigners in favour of the petition, strategically invoked a definition of childhood which is colonial in origin. This was problematically articulated in relation to sexual acts other than heteronormative intercourse, together with Indian constitutional rights, international human rights and 'children's rights' which facilitate 'protection' from unlawful sexual activity by adults - thus proscribing many young people's sexual lives.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waites, Dr Matthew
Authors: Waites, M.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:International Journal of Human Rights
ISSN:1364-2987

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record