Richardson, Diane, McNulty, Ann and Monro, Surya (2010) In the Name of Equality? The Limits to Sexual Citizenship. In: Beyond Citizenship: Feminism and the Transformation of Belonging, 30th June - 2nd July 2010, London, UK. (Unpublished)

In recent years there have been a number of interesting shifts in the political agendas of social movements concerned with the organization of sexuality and gender. Rather than critiquing social institutions and practices that have historically excluded them, as gay and lesbian/feminists did in the 1960s and 1970s, since the 1990s the politics of sexuality has increasingly been about demanding equal rights of citizenship. These citizenship demands have been, at least to a degree, been answered via a raft of recent legislation including the Civil Partnership Act (2004) and the Equality Regulations (Sexual Orientation) 2007, and by associated changes in policy making and practice that emphasise equality and diversity. Feminist and queer critiques of this ‘‘sea change’’ in lesbian and gay politics contest the rise of a ‘‘politics of normalisation’’ that is behind contemporary sexual citizenship agendas. This paper will develop and extend previous theoretical work on sexuality and citizenship by considering these shifts and critiques, focusing on the limits to sexual citizenship in demands for new forms of belonging. The discussion draws on findings from a large ESRC funded study on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equalities initiatives in local government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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