Nov 252012
 November 25, 2012

This day-long conference is co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Center for International and Comparative Law at Duke Law SchoolWomen’s Studies and Sexuality Studies, and the Center for LGBT Life at Duke.

Recent efforts to combat violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity have made remarkable progress internationally. But these efforts have also been met with resistance and backlashes in some countries. The rapid changes in the legal, political, social and cultural landscapes for LGBT individuals raise fundamental questions about the strategies that activists, lawyers and NGOs deploy to promote LGBT equality.

The workshop will provide an opportunity to bring together a small group of scholars and practitioners whose work focuses on LGBT advocacy internationally, comparatively, and in different regions of the world. There will be no paper presentations at the workshop.  Instead, we will organize a series of panels focusing on different themes or topics. We hope that participants will share the findings of their research and professional activities, exchange insights about strategies for achieving legal and policy reforms, and engage in a dialogue that is enriched by insights from law, social science, and various types of advocacy and practice.

Panels will be held in West Duke Building, Room 101, from morning to mid-afternoon.
Free and open to the public, Registration is required. Please email Kelly Lipford,


  • Clifford Bob, Raymond J. Kelley Endowed Chair in International Relations, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor, The Council for Global Equality, Washington, DC
  • Stephen Engel, Assistant Professor of Politics, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine
  • Elizabeth M. Glazer, Associate Professor of Law, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Laurence Helfer, Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law, Duke University
  • Cymene Howe, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Rice University, Houston, TX
  • Allison Jernow, Senior Legal Adviser, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, International Commission of Jurists, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Paul Johnson, Anniversary Reader, Department of Sociology, University of York, UK
  • Holning Lau, Assistant Professor of Law, UNC Law School, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Colin Robinson, Executive Director of CAISO and Secretariat of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS), Trinidad & Tobago
  • Suzanne Shanahan, Acting Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics and Associate Research Professor in Sociology, Duke University
  • Amy Stone, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX
  • Kees Waaldijk, Professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, Kings College London, UK


8:45-9:15  Continental breakfast and coffee

9:15-9:30  Welcome and introductions

9:30-10:45  Reports from the field: Recent achievements and challenges in LGBT human rights advocacy 

10:45-11:00  Break

11:00-12:15  Transnational mobilization for LGBT rights: Alternative advocacy strategies and the relevance of law and lawyers

12:15-1:30  Working Lunch—LGBT equality and religious freedom: Conflict or coexistence?

1:30-2:45  Backlashes to LGBT rights and strategies to counter them 

2:45-3:00  Break

3:00-4:15  Connecting academia to advocacy: Research resources and priorities across disciplines 

The workshop will also provide an opportunity to highlight, both as part of the panel discussions and more broadly, several recently-published books by the participants, including:

  • Clifford Bob, The Global Right Wing and the Clash of World Politics (Cambridge 2012)
  • Cymene Howe, Mediating Sexuality: Activism and the Politics of Sexual Rights in Nicaragua (Duke 2013)
  • Allison Jernow, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Justice: A Comparative Law Casebook (International Commission of Jurists 2012)
  • Paul Johnson, Homosexuality and the European Court of Human Rights (Routledge 2012)
  • Amy Stone, Gay Rights at the Ballot Box (Minnesota 2012)