Date of Degree

2-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

James Wilson

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Human Rights Law | International Economics | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Sexuality and the Law | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance

Keywords

LGBTQ Human Rights in Egypt, post-colonial state, Homonationalism, Pinkwashing, Reverse-Pinkwashing, Egypt's State-Sponsored LGBTQ crackdowns, Al-Sisi, Neoliberalism, US Leahy Law

Abstract

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the struggle for LGBTQ human rights has become a leading standard that depicts whether or not a state can be considered modern and progressive. Yet, while this new criterion seems to be supported by Global North states, other nations in other regions, like Egypt from the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) has criticized the international pressure to implement this standard as neo-imperialist and inauthentic to its Muslim-Arab culture. Egypt claims to be the universal Arab-Muslim voice for the MENA region and has become one of the greatest challengers to the international campaign for LGBTQ human rights since 2001. As a result, Westernized-homonationalist rhetoric has disseminated that blames Egypt’s non-Western and Muslim cultural norms for the stagnation of LGBTQ human rights in the country. This thesis will focus on Egypt's LGBTQ human rights struggle, and what that means regarding international relations, to better understand this complex phenomenon. The first chapter will explore Egypt’s colonial-era, state-formation, and religious viewpoint histories and how it is crucial to understand its history in order to debunk the political rhetoric that Egypt’s impediment to LGBTQ rights progression is due to its Muslim-majority societal norms. Rather, it was Egypt’s puritanical French and British colonizers that influenced legislative and psychological attitudes to repress non-heteronormative sexual practices and identities and further conveyed over to the state’s post-colonial constitution and public perception. The second chapter will focus on Egypt’s state-sponsored LGBTQ crackdowns started by former President Mubarak and continued by incumbent President Al-Sisi a domestic public relations strategy I call “reverse-pinkwashing” in order to divert civil society’s attention from its disillusionment with the government and instead shift focus on moral issues like LGBTQ visibility in Egypt. Lastly, the third chapter will explore Egypt’s international relations, specifically, UN commitments, treatment of “Westernized” rights NGOs, and neoliberal international policies. Egypt’s neoliberal foreign trade agreements with “pro-LGBTQ” states, like the United States, will show how, in fact, it is the Global North’s turned blind-eye and appeasement of Egypt’s LGBTQ human rights record that hinders LGBTQ rights development in Egypt.

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