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Exporting Identity


Sonia Katyal


Now is the ideal time to study the limitations and possibilities of a global gay rights movement. The term "gay" has been borrowed into Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and other languages, signifying its increasingly perceived universality. Gay and lesbian organizations now exist in virtually every continent and in many major urban centers throughout the world. A growing number of legislators and judges have taken up the cause of gay civil rights, and have actively supported protections based on sexual orientation in a host of areas, such as adoption, employment, domestic partnership, and immigration. Throughout these global developments, American activists, scholars and media figures have played a visible role, leading at least one commentator to characterize gay pride as "America's global gay export.".

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