Walker-Said, Charlotte. “Sexual Minorities and African Asylum Claimants: Human Rights Regimes, Bureaucratic Knowledge, and the Era of Sexual Rights Diplomacy.” in African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimonty and Refugee Rights, Edited by Iris Berger, Tricia Redneker Hepner, Benjamin N. Lawrence, Joanna T. Tague, and Meredith Terreta, 203–24. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2015.

In the following pages, I will discuss asylum cases and procedures of African sexual minorities, although their narratives do not (and did not) conform to American legal constructions of a sexual minority. In arguing for the inclusion of a multivalent understanding of sexual minority, I challenge preexisting frameworks created to guide asylum claims for those whose persecution is based on their identity as “a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (L.G.B.T.) individual” (UN High Commissioner for Refugees 2010). I also analyze the limitations of the American-led “sexual rights as human rights” agenda in Africa and the construction of cultural and sexual fallacies that fabricate a moral weak point against which US interests and agendas can be forwarded. Not only does the American sexual rights agenda problematically position US interests in Africa, it also fails to protect even those so-called sexual minorities that fall within its narrow scope; it is utterly unsuccessful at seeing the broad swath of challenges and violations that befall Africans whose sexual, marital, or reproductive behavior upsets local political, social, or religious standard practice. As Mindy Jane Roseman and Alice Miller (2011, 313–14) have argued, “The sexual rights project has been aimed at creating authoritative global standards, but so far . . . in forms sometimes insensible to other aspects of sexual rights.”