Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type



International Affairs


Across the industrialized world, nations and subnational entities are establishing methods by which to recognize same-sex unions, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, and making policy decisions about how to legislate sexuality based upon the ideology of the gay rights movement. This movement relies on the classical liberal and modernist ideal of citizenship, with its grounding in human rights, and the theory of biologically innate sexual orientation to advocate for the inclusion, and perhaps the assimilation, of LGBTQ people into state and society. The critics of gay rights argue that this tactic is, at its best, assimilationist and, at its worst, harmful to queer people. In analyzing the discourse surrounding the legislation that has been passed in three case studies (the cities of São Paulo, Brazil, Mexico City, and San Francisco, California and the states in which they reside), the author hopes to determine “who is right on rights.”