1st Edition

Queer Encounters with International Law Lives, Communities, Subjectivities

Edited By Tamsin Phillipa Paige, Claerwen O'Hara Copyright 2025
    310 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on queer people and their encounters with international law.

    Traversing a wide range of topics, from trans discrimination and conversion therapy to sadomasochism and abolitionism, this book asks questions about the (im)possibility of freedom and equality for queer communities in the world, and the role that different areas of international law have to play in such a pursuit. It considers how queer lives and bodies are rendered legible or illegible to law through how we define concepts such as ‘gender [identity]’ or ‘private life’. It also reflects on whether legal activism focused on LGBTIQA+ rights can ever reflect the insights of queer theory. The book engages with new issues in international law, such as recent contestation over the meaning of ‘gender’ in international human rights law and international criminal law. It also showcases the diversity of approaches to queering international law that are emerging. While some chapters offer a critique of international law’s violent and exclusionary tendencies, others re-invest in international law as a tool in the struggle for queer liberation by seeking to re-imagine it in queer directions. The questions addressed in this book are wide ranging and approached differently by the authors. However, all centre on the complex relationship between international law, queer theory, and queer lives and what the future holds for these encounters going forward.

    This collection of queer encounters with international law will be invaluable to scholars of international law, human rights, and international relations with an interest in critical approaches to these areas; as well as to researchers, activists, and practitioners working in cultural, gender, and sexuality studies.

    1.      (Re)Queering International Law

    Tamsin Phillipa Paige and Claerwen O’Hara 

    PART 1:

    Queer Critiques of International and Regional Human Rights Law

    2.      The Precarity of Trans Survival: Suicidality and the Right to Life

    Matteo Bassetti

    3.      Vague Comparisons and Unstable Grounds: The European Court of Human Rights and the Prohibition of Discrimination against Trans Persons

    Manon Beury

    4.      Abolitionist Human Rights: Queering LGBT Human Rights Advocacy and Law

    Karen Engle

    PART 2:

    (Re)Queering Human Rights Law: New and Alternative Directions

    5.      ‘Nothing was changing’: Queering the Role of International Law in the Global Campaign against Conversion Practices

    Daryl WJ Yang

    6.      Childhood as a Site of Struggle: A Queer Perspective on International Human Rights Law Concerning the Child-Protective Rationale and School Education

    Warisa Ongsupankul

    7.      Sadomasochism at the European Court of Human Rights: Rights to Sex and Drawing the Line Between Privacy and Public Interest

    Alexandra G. Grolimund

    PART 3:

    Queer battlegrounds: ‘Gender’ in International Law

    8.      Human Rights’ Harmful and Harmless Gendered Outlaws

    Giovanna Gilleri

    9.      ‘Ideological Colonising’: The Influence of Anti-Gender Movements on Domestic and International Human Rights Law

    Sandra Duffy

    10.   Fear of a Queer Law: Sex/Gender and the Exclusion of Queer Thinking in International Law

    Juliana Santos de Carvalho

    PART 4:

    The Shifting Nature of Queer Encounters with International Law: Journeys Towards Hope

    11.   The ‘Art of Living’: LGBTQIA+ Activism and International Law

    Odette Mazel

    12.   Queer Edens: Visions of Living with Human Rights

    Loveday Hodson

    13.   Epistemologies Out of the Closet: Thinking Through Queer Theory’s Intellectual Shifts in International Law

    Edoardo Stoppioni


    Tamsin Phillipa Paige is Senior Lecturer at Deakin Law School, Deakin University, Australia.

    Claerwen O’Hara is Lecturer at La Trobe Law School, La Trobe University, Australia.