Queering the World Society: Global Norms, Rival Networks, and the Contested Case of LGBTI Rights

Photo of Kristopher Noah Velasco

Kristopher Noah Velasco
University of Texas at Austin

Recently, countries around the world have experienced rising nationalism, attacks on democratic institutions, the undermining of scientific authority, and the concerning disregard of basic human rights. While any one country’s experience certainly varies, these broad, illiberal trends are in need of a deeper sociological explanation. Therefore, in this talk, I will use the case of LGBTI rights to illuminate the forces undergirding these changes. Using time series, cross-sectional and multinomial models to predict the changes in LGBTI rights across 152 countries from 1990 to 2018, the findings from this research offer a correction to neo-institutional research like world society theory. Namely, I find the dominance of liberal values circulating within the international arena is waning as a network of illiberal, anti-LGBTI organizations expands. By understanding how illiberal actors embed alternative cultural values within international institutions, we can finally make sense of our world’s present realities.