UCL Urban Laboratory


Gender and the globalisation of sexualities: UCL Queer Space reading group

27 May 2014, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

19 July Global Day of Protest / Iran: Stop Killing Gays . Rally & Candle Vigil

Event Information

Open to



UCL Llewelyn Davies room LG01, Basement, Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place WC1H 0NN

UCL students and staff are invited to the final Queer Space Reading group of the academic year.

Led by Professor Ann Varley (UCL Geography), this session focuses on gender and the globalisation of sexualites. Joseph Massad argues that what he calls the 'Gay International' - a movement dominated by white Western men - have followed fellow travellers in the white western feminist movement in imposing homosexual/heterosexual binary on contexts where no such subjectivities exist, and that this imposition 'heterosexualises' the world, with 'less than liberatory' consequences for Muslim Arab men: 'men who are considered the passive or receptive parties in male-male sexual contacts are forced to have one object choice and identify as homosexual or gay, just as men who are the "active" partners are also forced to limit their sexual aim to one object choice, women or men'.

We will compare Massad's arguments with the views and experiences of poor urban women in Lima, Peru - as reported by Carolyn Williams - in order to explore the difference that gender might make in postcolonial critiques of the globalisation of sexuality. 


1. Massad, Joseph (2002). "Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World." Public Culture 14, no. 2 (spring): 361-386. 

2. Chapter 4: "Women in the conos of Lima: encounters with sexual and LGBT rights". Williams, Carolyn (2009). Sexuality, rights and development: Peruvian feminist connections. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science.

The UCL Queer Space Reading Group was established in 2012 to provide space for discussion around LGBT and queer themes, focused on texts and informal presentations of work-in-progress. The organisers welcome proposals for sessions related to the interests of staff and students. All UCL staff (academic and non-academic) and students are welcome to participate. Each session will be led by a member of staff or student whose role will be to facilitate and structure discussion. All participants are expected to come prepared with points for discussion based on the key text(s). Email communication will be sent out via the Moodle enrolment list - so be sure to add yourself to the group by searching 'Queer Reading Group 2013-14' or clicking this link. If you have queries or would like to propose a session please email Dr Brent Pilkey (b.pilkey@ucl.ac.uk) or Dr Ben Campkin (b.campkin@ucl.ac.uk).

[external source element is broken]
error message: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'to_html'

Image: 2006 Global Day of Protest - Stop Killing Gays (Elvert Barnes)