IS THERE A TEMPLATE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM? – A STUDY OF UGANDAN LGBT+ ORGANIZATIONS’ DIGITAL SPACES
Keywords:Uganda, LGBT+, norm entrepreneurs, activism, digital media
AbstractAlbeit criminalization against same-sex desires is a remnant of the British colonialization, the 2009 Anti-homosexuality Bill, catapulted Ugandan state-sponsored homophobia into the international spotlight. The ensuing battle over the Bill between on one hand, local and international human rights defenders including Northern development partners and transnational conservative and religious norm entrepreneurs in partnership with local religious and political elites, on the other; highlighted that domestic identity and sexual politics are no longer local affairs. Through a qualitative directed content analysis, the study explore to what degree six established Ugandan LGBT+ organizations engage with international norm entrepreneurs’ attempts to influence Ugandan social mores on non-heteronormative sexuality and non-conforming gender identities, in their self-controlled digital spaces - websites and Facebook- during January 2022. With few exceptions, digital spaces displayed a conspicuous uniform human rights advocacy rhetoric, where same-sex desires and gender identities are presented in essentialist terms as in LGBT+ and universal sexual rights, as opposed to sexual desires and gender identities as embedded and realized in a unique social contexts, that at least in the Ugandan context historically has include significant pluralism and multi-positionality. LGBT+ organizations’ did not discuss the impact of waves of international norm entrepreneurs’ attempts to define and influence the struggle for equal rights, and subsequent potential re-colonialization of Ugandan understandings of sexual desires outside the heteronormative model and non-conforming gender identities. The level of rhetorical uniformity could suggests the existence of a latent template for activism, which could be an unintended consequence of dependency on international funding.
How to Cite
Strand, C. K., & Svensson, J. (2023). IS THERE A TEMPLATE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM? – A STUDY OF UGANDAN LGBT+ ORGANIZATIONS’ DIGITAL SPACES. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.13089