Implementing Hostility and Acceptance: LGBTQ Persecution, Rights, and Mobility in the Context of Western Moral Entrepreneurship

  • Katherine FoxEmail author


Contemporary queer migration is shaped by regional and cultural attitudes toward sexual and gender minorities, a fact that is well known in both academic and activist spheres. Much less is mentioned about the ways that homophobic and discriminatory attitudes came to pervade certain regions, while others became the champions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights. This chapter employs Becker’s theory of moral entrepreneurship to examine Western influence over gender ideologies and the treatment of sexual and gender minorities across the globe, and seeks to explain why non-Western societies that once accepted sexual and gender minorities are now resistant to Western-led LGBTQ rights movements. Focusing on two case studies of imperials and their relationships with their colonies, the chapter discusses the acceptance of sexual minorities by non-Western societies prior to Western contact, and the ways that imperials controlled gender roles and behavior as an exercise of colonial rule. Next, it discusses how restrictive social and legal policies were retained in non-Western colonies, despite the shift to a more permissive stance in the Western countries themselves. In the postcolonial period, many non-Western societies held the antipathy toward sexual minorities as a way to differentiate themselves and resist Western influence, a theme that continues to appear in today’s landscape of LGBTQ rights and oppression.


LGBTQ Persecution Rights Moral entrepreneurship 


  1. Adkins, J. (2016). “These people are frightened to death” Congressional investigations and the Lavender Scare. Prologue-Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration, 48(2), 6–20.Google Scholar
  2. Antaranews. (2016, February 23). Minister: LGBT movement more dangerous than nuclear warfare. Tempo.Co. Retrieved May 19, 2017, from
  3. Becker, H. S. (2008). Outsiders. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  4. Bejel, E. (2010). Cuban condemnation of queer bodies. In J. Corrales & M. Pecheny (Eds.), The politics of sexuality in Latin America (pp. 44–59). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell, M. (2017, April 21). In South Korea, being gay is still taboo. PRI’s The World. Retrieved January 11, 2018, from
  6. Ben, P. (2010). Male same-sex sexuality and the Argentine state, 1880–1930. In J. Corrales & M. Pecheny (Eds.), The politics of sexuality in Latin America: A reader on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights (pp. 33–43). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhabha, H. K. (2012). The location of culture. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bloch, I. (1926). The sexual life of our time, in its relations to modern civilization. New York: Allied.Google Scholar
  9. Bray, A. (1982). Homosexuality in renaissance England. London: Gay Men’s Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bristow, E. J. (1977). Vice and vigilance: Purity movements in Britain since 1700. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  11. Chan, P. C. W. (2008). Stonewalling through schizophrenia: An Anti-Gay rights culture in Hong Kong? Sexuality & Culture, 12(2), 71–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Corey-Boulet, R. (2017, November 2). With raid on lawyers, Tanzania takes Anti-Gay fight beyond its borders. World Politics Review. Retrieved January 11, 2018, from Lines)
  13. Coward, D. A. (1980). Attitudes to homosexuality in eighteenth-century France. Journal of European Studies, 10, 231–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dicklitch-Nelson, S., Thompson, S., & Yost, B. (2016). Human rights and the global barometer of gay rights (GBGR): A multi-year analysis. Paper prepared for the 57th Annual International Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, GA, March 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2017, from
  15. Dynes, W. (1981). Privacy, sexual orientation and the self-sovereignty of the individual: Continental theories, 1762–1908. Gay Books Bulletin, 6, 20–23.Google Scholar
  16. Dzirutwe, M. (2016, February 27). Mugabe birthday bash riles critics in drought-hit Zimbabwe. Reuters. Retrieved August 3, 2017, from
  17. Encarnacion, O. (2017, May 2). The global backlash against gay rights. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved January 11, 2018, from
  18. Epprecht, M. (2004). Hungochani: The history of a dissident sexuality in Southern Africa. Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Estrada, G. (2011). Two spirits, nádleeh, and LGBTQ2 Navajo gaze. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 35(4), 167–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ewing, L. (2016). The emergence of the sexual/minority civil rights movement: Timeline. Berkeley, California.Google Scholar
  21. Fone, B. (2001). Homophobia: A history. New York: Picador USA.Google Scholar
  22. Furth, C. (1988). Androgynous males and deficient females: Biology and gender boundaries in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century China. Late Imperial China, 9(2), 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Greenberg, D. F. (1988). The construction of homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hinsch, B. (1990). Passions of the cut sleeve: The male homosexual tradition in China. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hirschfeld, M. (2000). The homosexuality of men and women (M. A. Lombardi-Nash, Trans.). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  26. Horswell, M. J. (2005). Decolonizing the sodomite: Queer tropes of sexuality in colonial Andean culture. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kon, I. (2010). Homophobia as a litmus test of Russian democracy. Russian Social Science Review, 51(3), 16–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kurth, J. (2003). Western civilization, our tradition. Intercollegiate Review, 39(1/2), 5–13.Google Scholar
  29. M’Baye, B. (2013). The origins of Senegalese homophobia: Discourses on homosexuals and transgender people in colonial and postcolonial Senegal. African Studies Review, 56(02), 109–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McAllister, J. (2013). Tswanarising global gayness: The “unAfrican” argument, Western gay media imagery, local responses and gay culture in Botswana. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 15, 88–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Miller, N. (1995). Out of the past: Gay and lesbian history from 1869 to the present. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  32. Nanda, S. (1998). Neither man nor woman: The Hijras of India. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.Google Scholar
  33. Nugent, W. (2010). Progressivism: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. O’Callahan, E. (1968). Calendar of Dutch historical manuscripts. Ridgewood, NJ: Gregg Press.Google Scholar
  35. Pew Research Center. (2013, June 4). The Global Divide on Homosexuality. Retrieved January 11, 2018, from
  36. Prasad, A. (2007). Cultural relativism in human rights discourse. Peace Review, 19(4), 589–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rahman, M. (2014). Homosexualities, Muslim cultures and modernity. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Reddy, G. (2003). “Men” who would be kings: Celibacy, emasculation, and the re-production of hijras in contemporary Indian politics. Social Research, 70(1), 163–200.Google Scholar
  39. Reddy, G. (2005). With respect to sex: Negotiating hijra identity in South India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rodrigues, M. C. C., Leite, F., & Queirós, M. (2017). Sexual minorities: The terminology. European Psychiatry, 41.Google Scholar
  41. Roscoe, W. (1991). The Zuni Man-Woman. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  42. Said, E. (1979). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  43. Semugoma, P., Nemande, S., & Baral, S. D. (2012). The irony of homophobia in Africa. Lancet, 380(9839), 312–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sigal, P. H. (2000). From moon goddesses to virgins: the colonization of Yucatecan Maya sexual desire. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  45. Simmons, A. M. (2016, June 21). Where the World Stands on Gay Rights. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2018, from
  46. Sivin, N. (1986). On the limits of empirical knowledge in the traditional Chinese sciences. In J. T. Fraser, N. Lawrence, & F. C. Haber (Eds.), Time, science and society in China and the West (pp. 151–169). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.Google Scholar
  47. Stavig, W. (2003). Political ‘abomination’ and private reservation: The nefarious sin, homosexuality, and cultural values in colonial Peru. In P. Sigal (Ed.), Infamous desire: Male homosexuality in colonial Latin America (pp. 134–151). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  48. Thadani, G. (1999). The politics of identities and languages: Lesbian desire in ancient and modern India. In E. Blackwood & S. E. Wieringa (Eds.), Female desires: Same-sex relations and transgender practices across cultures (pp. 67–90). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Trexler, C. R. (1995). Sex and conquest: Gendered violence, political order, and the European conquest of the Americas. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Walther, D. J. (2008). Racializing sex: Same-sex relations, German colonial authority, and “Deutschtum”. Journal of the History of Sexuality, 17(1), 11–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yan, Y. (2004). McDonald’s in Beijing: The localization of Americana. In J. Watson (Ed.), Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia (pp. 39–76). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Yu-Rong, C., & Ping, W. (2010). Obstacles to LGBT human rights development in Taiwan. Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, 18(2), 399–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

Personalised recommendations