Mark Gevisser is an award-winning journalist and author from South Africa. He is writing a book that will map the dramatic ways that ideas about sexuality and gender identity are changing globally. He believes that the battle for the rights of sexual minorities delineates a frontier for human rights discourse today, much as movements for women’s rights and civil rights did in previous eras.
His research will examine the reach and effect of the growing global campaign for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed people against the backdrop of globalization. He is particularly interested in mapping the global “culture wars” that have emerged between those who argue for “human rights” on the one hand and those who claim to defend “traditional values” and “cultural sovereignity” on the other. Much of the struggle of the global “LGBTI rights” movement in the years to come, he says, will be about reconciling these two paradigms.
Gevisser received South Africa’s top award for nonfiction, the Alan Paton prize, for his 2007 book Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred, updated and published internationally as A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream (Palgrave MacMillan). His next book, a personal narrative about memory and identity, will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Atlantic in 2013. His work has appeared in publications including the Village Voice, The Nation, Mail & Guardian, the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, the Sunday Independent and the Sunday Times. In 1994 he co-edited Defiant Desire, Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa, and he has been active as a writer, curator and activist in the HIV/AIDS and LGBT rights movements since the 1980s.