The Chiaroscuro of Sexual Politics

  • José Fernando Serrano-Amaya
Part of the Global Queer Politics book series (GQP)


This chapter offers a framework for the analysis of anti-homosexual violence, discussing existing literature and the findings of this research project. It evaluates the potential and limits of “political homophobia” as an analytical concept. The chapter reviews established conceptualisations on homophobia, in order to argue that most of them are insufficient to be applied directly to the understanding of anti-homosexual violence in armed conflicts. One of the reasons for that limitation is the fact that they have been developed in a no-war context, and with a direct relation to identity politics rather than the dynamics of conflicts. Recent theoretical developments using the concept of “political homophobia” have identified it as a key element in political transitions and conflicts. Those conceptualisations need to be discussed because of the assumed purposiveness and strategic use of political homophobia. Political homophobia is also a limited concept in understanding women’s experiences of such violence.


Anti-homosexual Violence Political Homophobia Political Transition Travesti Sexual Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ahmad, Sheraz, and Dinesh Bhugra. 2010. Homophobia: An Updated Review of the Literature. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 25 (4): 447–455.Google Scholar
  2. Albarracín, Mauricio, and Juan Rincón. 2013. De las víctimas invisibles a las víctimas dignificadas: los retos del enfoque diferencial para la población de lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transgeneristas e intersexuales (LGBTI) en la Ley de Víctimas. Revista de Derecho Público 31: 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allport, Gordon. 1954. The Nature of Prejudice. Cambridge: Adison-Wesley, Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  4. Amnesty-International. 1997. Breaking the Silence: Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation. London: Amnesty International.Google Scholar
  5. Armstrong, Elizabeth A., and Mary Bernstein. 2008. Culture, Power, and Institutions: A Multi-institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements. Sociological Theory 26 (1): 74–99.Google Scholar
  6. Babb, Florence E. 2003. Out in Nicaragua: Local and Transnational Desires after the Revolution. Cultural Anthropology 18 (3): 304–328.Google Scholar
  7. Balderston, Daniel, and Donna Guy. 1997. Sex and Sexualities in Latin America. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bedoya, Jairo. 2013. Ni mercaderes ni padrinos: a la búsqueda de un concepto para comprender a los grupos tipo mafia surgidos en Medellín. In Paz paso a paso. Una mirada desde los estudios de paz a los conflictos colombianos, ed. José Fernando Serrano-Amaya and Adam Baird. Bogotá: Editorial universidad Javeriana, Cinep, Odecofi, Cerac.Google Scholar
  9. Bhugra, Dinesh. 1987. Homophobia: A Review of the Literature. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 2 (2): 169–177.Google Scholar
  10. Boellstorff, T. 2004. The Emergence of Political Homophobia in Indonesia: Masculinity and National Belonging. Ethnos 69 (4): 465–486.Google Scholar
  11. Bosia, Michael. 2013. Why State Act. Homophobia and Crisis. In Global Homophobia, ed. Michael Bosia and Meredith Weiss, 30–54. Urbana: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  12. Bosia, Michael, and Meredith Weiss. 2013. Political Homophobia in Comparative Perspective. In Global Homophobia, ed. Meredith Weiss and Michael Bosia, 1–29. Urbana: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  13. Botero, Ebel. 1980. Homofilia y homofobia. Estudio sobre la homosexualidad, la bisexualidad y la represión de la conducta homosexual. Medellin: Editorial Lealon.Google Scholar
  14. Botha, Kevan, and Edwin Cameron. 1993. Sexual Privacy and the Law. South African Journal on Human Rights 4: 219–227.Google Scholar
  15. Bryant, Karl, and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz. 2008. Introduction to Retheorizing Homophobias. Sexualities 11 (4): 387–396.Google Scholar
  16. Caribe-Afirmativo. 2015. Des-armar sexualidades. Personas LGBTI y aplicación de la Ley de Víctimas en el Caribe Colombiano. Barranquilla: Caribe Afirmativo.Google Scholar
  17. CNRR. 2011. Mujeres y guerra. Víctimas y resistentes en el Caribe Colombiano. Ed. CNRR – Grupo de Memoria Histórica. Bogotá: Distribuidora y Editora Aguilar, Altea, Taurus, Alfaguara.Google Scholar
  18. Colombia-Diversa. 2013. Impunidad sin fin. Derechos humanos de lesbianas, gays, bisexuales y personas trans en Colombia 2010–2011. Bogotá: Colombia Diversa.Google Scholar
  19. Combahee-River-Collective. 1979. Manifesto. Off Our Backs, 6–6.Google Scholar
  20. Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación, CVR. 2003a. Informe Final. Lima.
  21. ———. 2003b. Informe Final. Lima: Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación, CVR. Accessed 24 April 2014.
  22. Connell, Raewyn. 1987. Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2005. Masculinities. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  24. Corber, Robert J. 1993. In the Name of National Security: Hitchcock, Homophobia, and the Political Construction of Gender in Postwar America. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1991. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review 43 (6): 1241–1299.Google Scholar
  26. Pichardo, Curiel, and Rosa Ynés (Ochy). 2010. El régimen heterosexual de la nación. Un análisis antropológico lésbico-feminista de la Constitución Política de Colombia de 1991 Maestría en Antropología, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Facultad de Ciencias Humanas, Departamento de Antropología.Google Scholar
  27. Currier, Ashley. 2010. Political Homophobia in Postcolonial Namibia. Gender & Society 24 (1): 110–129.Google Scholar
  28. Chambers, Samuel A. 2007. An Incalculable Effect’: Subversions of Heteronormativity. Political Studies 55 (3): 656–679.Google Scholar
  29. Chodorow, Nancy. 1994. Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond. Vol. 1990. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.Google Scholar
  30. De la Dehesa, Rafael. 2010. Queering the Public Sphere in Mexico and Brazil: Sexual Rights Movements in Emerging Democracies. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Dorf, Julie, and Gloria Careaga. 1995. Discrimination and the Tolerance of Difference: International Lesbian Human Rights. In Women’s Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives, ed. Andrea Wolper and Julie Peters, 324–343. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Epprecht, Marc. 2004. Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2005. Black Skin, ‘Cowboy’ Masculinity: A Genealogy of Homophobia in the African Nationalist Movement in Zimbabwe to 1983. Culture, Health & Sexuality 7 (3): 253–266.Google Scholar
  34. Fine, Derrick, and Julia Nicol. 1995. The Lavender Lobby: Working for Lesbian and Gay Rights Within the Liberation Movement. In Defiant Desire, ed. Mark Gevisser and Edwin Cameron, 269–277. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Freston, Paul. 1998. Pentecostalism in Latin America: Characteristics and Controversies. Social Compass 45 (3): 335–358.Google Scholar
  36. Gevisser, Mark. 1995. A Different Fight for Freedom: A History of South African Gay and Lesbian Organization from the 1950s to 1990s. In Defiant Desire, ed. Mark Gevisser and Edwin Cameron, 14–86. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. GMH, Grupo Memoria Historica. 2013. ¡basta ya! Colombia: Memorias de guerra y dignidad. Bogotá: Imprenta Nacional.Google Scholar
  38. González Casanova, Pablo. 2006. El colonialismo interno. In Sociología de la explotacióne. Ed. CLACSO and Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales. Buenos Aires.Google Scholar
  39. Graff, Agnieszka. 2010. Looking at Pictures of Gay Men: Political Uses of Homophobia in Contemporary Poland. Public Culture 22 (3): 583–603.Google Scholar
  40. Granada, Soledad, Jorge Restrepo, and Alonso Tobón. 2009. Neoparamilitarismo en Colombia: una herramienta conceptual para la interpretación de dinámicas recientes del conflicto armado en Colombia. In Guerra y violencias en Colombia. Herramientas e interpretaciones, ed. Jorge Restrepo and David Aponte, 647–499. Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.Google Scholar
  41. Greenberg, Jessica. 2006. Nationalism, Masculinity and Multicultural Citizenship in Serbia. Nationalities Papers 34 (3): 321–341. doi: 10.1080/00905990600766628.
  42. Hendriks, Aart, Evert van der Veen, and Rob Tielman. 1993. The Third Pink Book: A Global View of Lesbian and Gay Liberation and Oppression. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  43. Herek, Gregory M. 2004. Beyond “Homophobia”: Thinking About Sexual Prejudice and Stigma in the Twenty-First Century. Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC 1 (2): 6–24.Google Scholar
  44. ILGA. 2014. State-Sponsored Homophobia Report and Gay and Lesbian rights maps. ILGA. Accessed 10 June 2014.
  45. Jackson, Stevi. 2006. Gender, Sexuality and Heterosexuality: The Complexity (and Limits) of Heteronormativity. Feminist Theory 7 (1): 105–121.Google Scholar
  46. Johnson, David. 2013. America’s Cold War Empire. Exporting the Lavender Scare. In Global Homophobia, ed. Michael Bosia and Meredith Weiss, 55–74. Urbana: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  47. Johnson, Lyman L., and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera. 1998. The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame, and Violence in Colonial Latin America. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  48. Jones, Adam. 2006. Straight as a Rule: Heteronormativity, Gendercide, and the Noncombatant Male. Men and Masculinities 8 (4): 451–469.Google Scholar
  49. Kraak, Gerald. 2005. Homosexuality and the South African Left: The Ambiguities of Exile. In Sex and Politics in South Africa, ed. N.W. Hoad, H. Martin, and G. Reid, 118–135. Cape Town: Double Storey.Google Scholar
  50. Krasniqi, Vjollca. 2007. Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-war Kosovo. Feminist Review 86 (1): 1–23. doi: 10.1057/
  51. Lancaster, Roger. 1992. Life Is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  52. Lewes, Kenneth. 1989. The Psychoanalytic Theory of Male Homosexuality. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
  53. López, Claudia, ed. 2010. Y refundaron la patria. De como mafiosos y politicos refundaron el estado colombiano. Bogotá: Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris, Congreso Visible, Dejusticia, Grupo Metodo, MOE.Google Scholar
  54. McNay, Lois. 2000. Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  55. Miller, Neil. 1995. Going Underground: A Visit to Gay Welkom. In Defiant Desire, ed. Mark Gevisser and Edwin Cameron, 198–201. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Montalvo, Jose. 2006. Construccion de la memoria sobre los crimenes de odio en el Peru. In Reporte Anual 2005 Sobre Derechos Humanos de lesbianas, Gays, Trans y Bisexuales en el Peru, ed. Raiz Diversidad Sexual. Lima: Raiz Diversidad Sexual.Google Scholar
  57. Morrell, Robert. 2001. From Boys to Gentlemen: Settler Masculinity in Colonial Natal, 1880–1920. Pretoria: Unisa Press, University of South Africa.Google Scholar
  58. Msibi, Thabo. 2011. The Lies We Have Been Told: On (Homo) Sexuality in Africa. Africa Today 58 (1): 54.Google Scholar
  59. Murray, David A.B. 2009. Homophobias: Lust and Loathing Across Time and Space. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nandy, Ashis. 2009. The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Nhlapo, Paddy. 2005. My Life Underground. In Sex and Politics in South Africa, ed. N.W. Hoad, H. Martin, and G. Reid, 68–70. Cape Town: Double Storey.Google Scholar
  62. Nordstrom, Carolyn. 1999. Wars and Invisible Girls, Shadow Industries, and the Politics of Not-Knowing. International Feminist Journal of Politics 1 (1): 14–33.Google Scholar
  63. Ordoñez, Juan Pablo. 1996. No Human Being Is Disposable: Social Cleansing, Human Rights and Sexual Orientation in Colombia. Washington, DC: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights commision, Colombia Human Rights Committee, Proyecto Dignidad.Google Scholar
  64. Plummer, Kenneth. 1975. Sexual Stigma: An Interactionist Account. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  65. Prada, Nancy, Susan Galvis, Lina Lozano, and Ana Ortiz. 2012. A mi me sacaron volada de allá. Relatos de vida de mujeres trans desplazadas forzosamente hacia Bogotá. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, ACAC.Google Scholar
  66. Prada, Nancy, Marlon Acuña, Juan Bedoya, Estephany Guzmán, and Luisa Ocaña. 2015. Aniquilar la diferencia. Lesbianas, gays, bisexuales y transgeneristas en el marco del conflicto armado colombiano. Bogotá: Centro de Memoria Histórica.Google Scholar
  67. Pratt, Murray. 1998. The Defence of the Straight State: Heteronormativity, AIDS in France, and the Space of the Nation. French Cultural Studies 9 (27): 263–280.Google Scholar
  68. Puar, Jasbir. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages. In Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Restrepo, Elvira, and Mariana Martínez. 2004. Impunidad penal: mitos y realidades. Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes, CEDE.Google Scholar
  70. Rojas, Carlos. 1994. La violencia llamada “limpieza social”. Bogotá: Cinep.Google Scholar
  71. Rubio, Mauricio. 1996. Homicidios, justicia, mafias y capital social. Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes, CEDE.Google Scholar
  72. Rydstrom, Jens. 2005. Solidarity with Whom? The International Gay & Lesbian Movement and Apartheid. In Sex and Politics in South Africa, ed. N.W. Hoad, H. Martin, and G. Reid, 34–49. Cape Town: Double Storey.Google Scholar
  73. Serrano-Amaya, José Fernando. 2012. Modernities in Dispute: The Debates on Marriage Equality in Colombia. In Cultural ReOrientations and Comparative Colonialities, ed. Gilbert Caluya, N. Kabir, and S.Vyas. Adelaide. International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding, University of South Australia.Google Scholar
  74. Shefer, Tamara, and Kopano Ratele. 2011. Racist Sexualisation and Sexualised Racism in Narratives on Apartheid. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society 16(1): 27–48. doi: 10.1057/pcs.2010.38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Tarrow, Sidney G. 1994. Power in Movement : Social Movements and Contentious Politics. Rev. and updated 3rd ed. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  76. UNHCR. 2008. Guidance Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. In UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Geneve. Accessed 19 April 2014.
  77. Uribe Uran Victor. 2001. State and Society in Spanish America During the Age of Revolution. Wilmington, DE: SR Books.Google Scholar
  78. Viveros, Mara. 2003. Contemporary Latin American Perspectives on Masculinity. In Changing Men and Masculinities in Latin America, ed. Matthew Gutmann. Durham, London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Warner, Michael. 1993. Introduction. In Fear of a Queer Planet. Queer Politics and Social Theory, ed. Michael Warner, vii–xxi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  80. Webster, David, and Maggie Friedman. 1989. Suppressing Apartheid’s Opponents. In Repression and the State of Emergency June 1987–March 1989. Johannesburg: Southern African Research Service, Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  81. Weinberg, George H. 1972. Society and the Healthy Homosexual. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  82. Wickberg, Daniel. 2000. Homophobia: On the Cultural History of an Idea. Critical Inquiry 27 (1): 42–57.Google Scholar
  83. Wood, Elisabeth Jean. 2006. Variation in Sexual Violence During War. Politics & Society 34(3): 307–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zarkov, D. 2001. The Body of the Other Man: Sexual Violence and the Construction of Masculinity, Sexuality and Ethnicity in the Croatian Media. In Victims, Perpetrators or Actors? Gender, Armed Conflict and Political Violence, ed. C. Moser and F. Clark. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Fernando Serrano-Amaya
    • 1
  1. 1.BogotaColombia

Personalised recommendations