From Health Crisis to Rights Advocacy? HIV/AIDS and Gay Activism in China and Singapore

Original Paper

Abstract

The relationship between HIV/AIDS and gay activism has been primarily informed by the American experience and understudied in nondemocratic contexts. Drawing upon qualitative research on China and Singapore, we refine understanding of HIV/AIDS’ influence on the development of gay activism under authoritarian conditions, by examining the processes through which activist organizations interact with laws and regulations, political norms, HIV/AIDS funding, and government responses to both HIV/AIDS and collective organizing. We show how HIV/AIDS’ influence plays out in multiple patterns, depending on the strategic responses that gay activists select from a constrained range of options to shape their organizations’ destinies. Therefore, we provide insights for development agencies and international donors into whether and how international assistance intended to encourage activism and wider social change are mediated by political and legal controls on local activism.

Keywords

Social movements Gay activism Gay rights HIV/AIDS 

Résumé

La relation entre le VIH/SIDA et le militantisme gay s’est essentiellement enrichie des informations tirées de l’expérience américaine et a très peu fait l’objet d’études dans les contextes nondémocratiques. Nous fondant sur les éléments d’une recherche qualitative effectuée en Chine et à Singapour, nous affinons la compréhension de l’influence du VIH/SIDA sur le développement du militantisme gay dans un environnement politique autoritaire. Nous nous attachons à l’étude des processus grâce auxquels les organizations militantes interagissent avec les législations et réglementations, les normes politiques, le financement de la lutte contre le VIH/SIDA et les actions du gouvernement tant à l’égard du VIH/SIDA que de l’organization collective. Nous exposons comment l’influence du VIH/SIDA se manifeste selon des facettes multiples, en fonction des interventions stratégiques que les militants gay choisissent parmi un éventail limité d’options pour donner forme aux destinées de leurs organizations. Ce faisant, nous apportons des éléments de réflexion à l’intention des agences de développement et des donateurs internationaux sur la question de savoir si et comment une assistance internationale ayant vocation à promouvoir le militantisme et un changement social généralisé passent par le filtre d’une médiation des contrôles politiques et juridiques sur le militantisme local.

Zusammenfassung

Die Verbindung zwischen HIV/AIDS und Homosexuellen-Aktivismus wurde vornehmlich von der amerikanischen Erfahrung geprägt und fand in nicht-demokratischen Kontexten bislang wenig Beachtung. Wir stützen uns auf qualitative Forschungen in China und Singapur und erweitern unser Verständnis des Einflusses von HIV/AIDS auf die Entwicklung des Homosexuellen-Aktivismus unter autoritären Bedingungen, indem wir die Prozesse untersuchen, mittels derer aktivistische Organizationen mit Gesetzen und Vorschriften, politischen Normen, HIV/AIDS-Finanzhilfen und Maßnahmen der Regierung im Zusammenhang mit HIV/AIDS und kollektiven Organizationen interagieren. Wir zeigen, wie sich der Einfluss von HIV/AIDS in mehreren Schemata zeigt, abhängig von den strategischen Reaktionen, die homosexuellen Aktivisten aus einer beschränkten Anzahl von Möglichkeiten zur Gestaltung des Schicksals ihrer Organizationen zur Verfügung stehen. Somit geben wir Entwicklungsagenturen und internationalen Spendern Einblicke dahingehend, ob und wie die internationale Unterstützung zur Förderung von Aktivismus und ein weiteichenderer sozialer Wandel durch politische und gesetzliche Kontrollen des lokalen Aktivsmus aufgehoben werden.

Resumen

La relación entre el VIH/SIDA y el activismo gay ha sido indicada fundamentalmente por la experiencia americana y ha sido infraestudiada en contextos no democráticos. Recurriendo a una investigación cualitativa en China y Singapur, perfeccionamos la comprensión de la influencia del VIH/SIDA en el desarrollo del activismo gay bajo condiciones autoritarias, mediante el examen de los procesos a través de los cuales las organizaciones activistas interactúan con las leyes y las reglamentaciones, las normas políticas, la financiación del VIH/SIDA y las respuestas gubernamentales tanto al VIH/SIDA como a la organización colectiva. Mostramos como la influencia del VIH/SIDA evoluciona en múltiples patrones, dependiendo de las respuestas estratégicas que los activistas gay seleccionan a partir de una gama restringida de opciones para dar forma a los destinos de sus organizaciones. Por consiguiente, proporcionamos percepciones para agencias de desarrollo y donantes internacionales sobre si y cómo la ayuda internacional dirigida a alentar el activismo y el cambio social más amplio está mediatizada por los controles políticos y legales sobre el activismo local.

摘要

一直以来,对于艾滋病(HIV/AIDS)与同性恋行动主义的关系的了解,主要来源于美国的经验;而在不民主的大背景下,对此关系一直未有深入的研究。在中国与新加坡的定性研究的基础上,通过研究同性恋行动主义者组织与法律法规相互作用的过程、政治标准、艾滋病资金来源、政府对艾滋病与集体组织的反应等,我们试图进一步探究和理解,在独裁主义背景下艾滋病对同性恋行动主义发展的影响。我们试图展示艾滋病如何通过各种方式的施加影响。这些影响取决于同性恋行动主义者为了塑造自己组织的命运而从有限的选择中所选取的策略性反应。旨在鼓励行动主义和更广泛的社会变革的国际援助是否受到针对当地行动主义者的政治与法律控制所干预?这些国际援助又如何受到这些政治、法律控制所干预?对此两个方面,我们为发展机构与国际捐赠人提供深入理解。

要約

HIV/エイズ、同性愛者の行動との関係は、主にアメリカの経験として報告されており、非民主的な背景から考察されている。中国とシンガポールに関する質的研究を用いて、活動団体、政治的規範、HIV/エイズと集団編成に対応する政府の HIV/エイズ資金における法令規則の相互作用による活動団体のプロセスを調査して、独裁主義的な条件の下での同性愛者の行動発展における HIV/エイズの影響の理解を深める。ゲイの活動家が、組織の運命を決める制約された選択肢の中から選ぶという戦略的な回答に対して、どのように HIV/エイズの影響が複数のパターンで展開されるかを示している。従って、どのように国際的な支援が活動家を勇気づけて、どのように地域の活動家に対して政治的かつ法的支配を仲介するかという開発機関と国際的な資金援助者の見識を提供することができる。

ملخص

تم الإبلاغ عن العلاقة بين فيروس نقص المناعة البشرية/الإيدز ونشاط مثلي الجنس في المقام الأول عن طريق تجربة أمريكية والدراسة في سياقات غير ديمقراطية. بالإعتماد على البحث النوعي على الصين وسنغافورة، نحن نصقل فهم تأثيرفيروس نقص المناعة البشرية/الإيدزعلى تطوير نشاط مثلي الجنس بموجب حالات ترخيص، من خلال دراسة العمليات من خلال تفاعل المنظمات الناشطة مع القوانين و الأنظمة والأعراف السياسية، تمويل فيروس نقص المناعة البشرية/الإيدز والردود الحكومية على حد سواء فيروس نقص المناعة البشرية/الإيدز وتنظيم جماعي. نحن نبين كيفية تأثير فيروس نقص المناعة البشرية/الإيدز يلعب في أنماط متعددة، إعتمادا˝ على إستجابات إستراتيجية يختارها نشطاء مثلي الجنس من مجموعة مقيدة لتشكيل مصائر منظماتهم. لذلك، فإننا نقدم رؤى لوكالات التنمية والجهات المانحة الدولية فيما اذا و كيف أن المساعدة الدولية تنوي على تشجيع النشاط وتوسيع التغيير الإجتماعي يتم بوساطة الضوابط السياسية والقانونية على النشاط المحلي.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Social PolicyLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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