Attempts to protect LGBT Africans permeate international development. In this panel, we consider how a hyper-focused biopolitical regime emphasizes the 'exceptional' suffering of LGBT Africans. What sorts of moral projects, and profound disruptions, are animated within these fields of rescue?
Vibrant attempts to protect LGBT Africans permeate global health and development. This attention can be considered warranted, given the extreme forms of violence and deprivation queer Africans endure. However, this panel invites perspectives less considered in development agendas: how a hyper-focused biopolitical regime emphasizes the 'exceptional' suffering of LGBT Africans. What sorts of moral projects are animated within these transnational fields of rescue? How does furnishing resources (i.e., funding, health services, travel, per diems, social gatherings, public events, literature, media attention, volunteer opportunities, and so on), devoted to the special protection of LGBT Africans, transform the lifeworlds of those who become drawn into these varied projects, including those who refuse LGBT identifications? How does the emphasis on the exceptional suffering of LGBT Africans constitute the shadowy underside of a biopolitical regime that not only excludes people, but even exacerbates human misery? We examine the unexpected solidarities and connections, and profound disruptions, that form within and across African states in the name of protecting LGBT people. Bringing together researchers in the field of anthropology, art, politics, development, media and queer studies, our panel aims to discuss how a coalescence of interventions in Africa—re-founded in liberal humanitarian claims of what constitutes the deserving subject of aid—opens up and forecloses practical and political opportunities for those deemed in need of rescue because of their perceived vulnerabilities. Abstract topics include: transnational advocacy; asylum seeking and 'the camp'; global health, 'MSM' and HIV prevention and care; and anti-violence and legal support.