LGBTIQ+ Seminar: Currently Queer from a Social and Political Sciences Perspective – School of Social and Political Sciences LGBTIQ+ Seminar: Currently Queer from a Social and Political Sciences Perspective – School of Social and Political Sciences

LGBTIQ+ Seminar: Currently Queer from a Social and Political Sciences Perspective

Research that focuses on LGBTQI+ communities continues to engross scholars in the social and political sciences. Whether the analytic ‘queer eye’ is on elements of sex/gender identity, the queering of institutions, the way queer people are organising themselves and their communities in political projects, or examining and challenging unjust treatment of LGBTQI+ peoples, a commonality is the examination of sex/gender assumptions and experience in a manner that challenges common and dominant perceptions and practices. The workshop will engage ‘queer’ in the broadest meaning of the term, with presenters examining topics such as current issues experienced by LGBTIQ communities and queer forms of activism, hope, and refusal across social, economic, political, and legal spaces. With World Pride rolling into Sydney, this workshop will present cutting edge scholarship in the queer space conducted by academics and postgraduate students in the School of Social and Political Sciences.


Caitlin Biddolph

Queering the Global Governance of Transitional Justice: Tensions and (Im)Possibilities

Transitional justice (TJ), which consists of the various processes through which societies attempt to address past (and ongoing) legacies of conflict and violence, is at once a local, transnational, and global form of governance. Increasingly, TJ scholarship and practice has considered how gender, sexuality, race, colonialism, and other vectors of power and oppression are both addressed in and expressed through TJ mechanisms across country contexts. Encouraged by the small but growing body of scholarship queering transitional justice, I explore and develop a queer perspective to the global governance of transitional justice. I map existing queer contributions to better understand what queer approaches can bring to sites of transitional justice, which importantly includes considering the multiple and contested forms that queer takes. While these scholarly and practitioner interventions predominantly focus on the meaningful inclusion, participation, and protection of LGBTQIA+ persons in TJ practices, here I expand queer’s potential by considering how queer perspectives might expose the (cis-heteronormative, racial, carceral) violence of TJ and its institutionalisation at the global level. Moreover, I also reflect on how queer approaches illuminate both tensions and (im)possibilities, so that future TJ practices might be sites for/of transformation, intersectionality, and queerness. Queering the global governance of TJ offers opportunities to expand the social, political, and conceptual effects of TJ, and critically, seeks less-violent, more equitable and peaceful worlds both within and beyond formal articulations of justice.

Biography: Dr. Caitlin Biddolph is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Gender and Global Governance at the University of Sydney. Caitlin completed her PhD in International Relations at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, and was formerly a Research Associate with the Australian Human Rights Institute. Caitlin’s primary research focuses on queering governance and international law, with her most recent research exploring discourses and logics of gender, sexuality, civilisation, and violence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). She is particularly interested in queer, feminist, and postcolonial approaches to global politics, particularly global governance, international law, and transitional justice. Caitlin’s most recent work has been published in Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Griffith Law Review, and the Australian Journal of Human Rights.

Allen George

Therapeutic jurisprudence and Homosexual Expungement Law: Lessons from Australia and New Zealand/Aotearoa.

Until recently, an historical conviction for a homosexual offence remained on an individual’s criminal record until expungement legislation was enacted in New Zealand/Aotearoa and throughout Australia. The passing of expungement legislation can be examined through the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence which recognises that the law should assist those who encounter it in a therapeutic and positive manner. An analysis of parliamentary debates highlights the aim and opinions of law makers to remedy the ‘criminal stain’ of a conviction for an offence which has not been a crime for some three decades. Along with legal and psychological aims for the gay/homosexually active men and transgender people with convictions, parliaments used the law reform debate as a broader therapeutic project that attempted to offer inclusiveness for the whole LGBTIQ community, some of whom still face legal inequality and legal discrimination. The success and shortcomings of expungement schemes to provide therapeutic justice is considered along with alternatives to expungement legislation in other countries.

Biography: Dr Allen George is a lecturer in Socio-legal Studies in the Discipline of Sociology and Criminology. Allen’s research interest focuses on how LGBTIQ people have gradually been included within the state as citizen with legal and human rights in Australia and globally. Dr George has extensive research experience in this broad area having examined; homosexual advance defence, hate crime against LGBTIQ peoples including the killing of gay/homosexually active men, the introduction of expungement (spent conviction) legislation to remove criminal records for historical homosexual offences, and practices of transitional justice, such as political apologies, to address the past repression of subordination of LGBTIQ peoples in liberal democracies.

Mandy Henningham

Nowhere to Bi: Reviewing how erasure, invisibility and unintelligibility form barriers to belonging in the broader LGBTQ+ community for Aboriginal bi+ people in Australia.

Having a multiplicity of identities not only makes it difficult to find inclusive spaces but may often be a barrier to building connections and relationships with people who have other queer identities. These unique and multifaceted layers of discrimination greatly impact mental health and wellbeing (Soldatic, et al. 2021). In this article, the author uses an intersectional lens to reflexively investigate existing literature to explore how these experiences may impact Aboriginal bisexual+ (bi+) people in Australia who face an array of racism and queerphobia from both LGBTQ+ and Aboriginal communities. These experiences stem from the heterosexist and monosexist status quo from heteropatriarchal settler colonialism that is seen in both Aboriginal and LGBTQ+ communities respectively. As a result, Aboriginal queer people are constantly surveying risks, policing their own identities and identity expression, often hiding parts of their identity as a survival strategy (Muñoz, 1999) to avoid rejection and adhere to dominant cultural norms.

When specifically considering Aboriginal bi+ identities, there are added unique stressors of lateral violence with other LGBTQ+ groups, antibisexual prejudice, and assumed monosexuality, adding yet another layer of minority stress. The author explores these experiences by extending upon borderland theory (Anzaldúa, 1987) and the minority stress model (Meyer, 2003). Whilst there is solace in the holistic celebration of intersecting identities in emerging intersectional Aboriginal queer spaces, there is still a great need for solidarity and celebration of Aboriginal bi+ people within the broader LGBTQ+ community.

Biography: Mandy Henningham (she/they) is an Aboriginal bi+ sociologist of health, sexuality and gender at the School of Social and Political Sciences. She has a strong history of advocacy and research in gender and sexuality and often uses a critical or queer lens to bring forth marginalised voices. Some projects Mandy has worked on include investigating lived experiences of people with intersex variations, lived experiences of dual, marginalised identities (specifically Aboriginal and LGBTQ), young people and body image, Aboriginal people and cancer treatment in Australia, and Aboriginal people workforce retention. With a background in sexual health, mental health, public health, and education, Mandy brings a multidisciplinary lens to her work as well as their own diverse lived experiences.

Christopher Pepin-Neff

Analyzing the Impact of COVID on LGBTQ+ Social Capital in Sydney, Australia.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) spaces have been central to community building and social capital for decades. Social capital is defined as the cohesion that is generated from political investments in a community, the degree of trust a group enjoys from society, a groups level of social connectedness to community, the presence of civic infrastructure, and community resilience to challenges. This article asks, how did the COVID pandemic impact institutions contributing to LGBTQ+ social capital in Sydney, Australia? This article addresses the nature of social capital in LGBTQ+ spaces in three ways. First, it locates LGBTQ+ bars, non-profit organisations, sex clubs, newspapers, and other LGBTQ+ spaces within the broader social capital literature. Second, it proposes a model of LGBTQ+ social capital where political investment is crucial. Lastly, it provides new data through a content analysis of Facebook and media stories regarding the opening and closing of 62 LGBTQ+ social venues in the Greater Sydney region of New South Wales. We present three findings. First, that government investment helped sustain the LGBTQ+ community and preserve social capital. Second, LGBTQI+ venues do not appear to have grown with the overall NSW trend. And third, there were geographic effects where those in the city benefitted more than those in the regions.

Biography: Chris Pepin-Neff is a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS) and the Discipline of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2014 and Master’s Degree in Public Policy in 2007. Pepin-Neff was the first lobbyist in the United States for repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that banned gay, lesbian service in the military. His research focuses on the intersection between emotions and policy change. He engages with LGBTQ+ issues and human-shark interactions to help illustrate these policy connections.

Georgia Peters

Gender, Sexuality and the IMF.

Georgia’s research will analyse the gendered discourses of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of what has been referred to as its ‘gender turn’. Existing literature investigates the iteration of feminist and LGBTQIA+ discourses espoused by neoliberal development institutions including the World Bank. However, its Bretton Woods counterpart, the IMF, has been subject to a limited amount of feminist and queer analysis because of the relative novelty of the focus on gender. A Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis will be used to investigate the influx of data produced by the IMF which takes ‘gender’ or ‘women’ as the subject. She is interested in the ways that the IMF represents gender, sexuality and care.

Biography: Georgia Peters (she/her) is a PhD student and a recipient of the Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Gender and Global Governance. Her research interests are feminist/queer theories of international political economy and discourse analysis. In 2021, she graduated from the University of Sydney with a First Class Honours degree in Politics and International Relations. Her Honours research focused on the representation of Solomon Islands in Australian political discourse and media during the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. She lives and works on unceded Gadigal country.

Duong Tran

Queer identity formation in post-socialist Vietnam.

By exploring how LGBTQ+ identity formation is influenced by the specific context of post-socialist Vietnam; this research aims to address the subaltern histories of communities marginalized within both social institutions and academic discourse. First, this study will explore LGBTQ+ identity constructions in Hanoi since the economic Renovation Policy of 1986, which transformed Vietnam from a socialist to a market-oriented country. Second, I will investigate how sexuality was internalised as ‘abnormal’ by queer people. I will pay particular attention to the family institution and education environment that define sexual normality and abnormality. Then, my study will explore how the concept of guilt caused by the internalisation has shaped queer experiences. Finally, the study aims to understand disruptions and challenges caused by queer visibility to heteronormativity in Vietnam. Among the nascent scholarship on Vietnamese sexualities, emphasis has routinely focused on organizational queer leadership. This research draws from fieldwork -based critical ethnography and digital ethnography to analyse the intersection of sexuality, identity formation, and social belonging through the quotidian lives of everyday Vietnamese citizens.

Biography: Duong is a PhD candidate in Discipline of Anthropology in the FASS, University of Sydney. She obtained her MA in Applied Anthropology at the Australian National University in 2014. She had been working as a lecturer for Vietnam National University since 2015 until the start of her PhD in 2022. Duong’s academic works include studying ‘development’ issues in ethnic minority communities and queer identity formation in post/late-socialist Vietnam. She also participates in LGBTQ+ rights movement in the country.


Feb 28 2023


1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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