Fifteen years ago, there was little space within international development policy circles within which we could talk about sexual rights, desire or pleasure. Homosexuality as a topic of debate was routinely invisible and development agencies and international non-government organisations collectively struggled to see the relevance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) issues within their broader mandates.
This publication examines the rise of LGBTIQ rights within development and asks how the terms of debate have shifted so much that the industry’s most powerful multilateral institution and champion of neoliberal capitalism, the World Bank, is advocating protection rights for sexual minorities. The author focuses upon the growth in interest and financial resources towards the rescue of non-heterosexual people from homophobia in Global South countries and the problematic rise in homonationalism. More encouragingly, he also explores how communities within developing country contexts have challenged rigid heteronormative conceptions of love, desire and affection.