The limits of legislative change: Moving beyond inclusion/exclusion to create 'a life worth living'

Kath Browne, Niharika Banerjea, Nick McGlynn, Leela Bakshi, Sumita Beethi, Ranjita Biswas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    While the spatializations of social exclusion have long been critically assessed, legislative responses to these exclusions have also been found to be limited. Addressing the exclusions of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans* and Queer people, social inclusions in the form of equalities legislations have been used as a marker of ‘progress’ and development, creating neo-colonial geographic comparisons between the legal and policy regimes of different contexts. Taking a decolonial optic, this paper shows that even in one of the most progressive legislative contexts – England – equalities legislation is differentially implemented, and indeed resisted by some local government organizations creating what we term as an implementation gap. This paper uses liveability as an understanding of the importance of recognition that does not proscribe restrictions, while also seeking ‘a life that is a life’. It works across India and the UK to create transnational thinking that seeks commonalities without negating difference, showing that liveability enables both an articulation of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans* and Queer people’s ongoing unease in England, and a counter-narrative to reductive readings of legislative oppression in India. In both countries, liveability refuses to negate the possibilities of legislation, but neither does it become beholden to them. Liveability, it is argued, has the potential to discursively unlink a naturalized linkage between sexual sub/ab/jects and a progress/backward binary. The paper concludes that liveable lives are fluid, contingent and can be precarious even with recognition. A decolonial optic refuses to place precarity in the ‘Backward Global South’ and recognition in the ‘progressive Global North’. Instead commonalities between Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans* and Queer lives query these assumptions and associated hierarchical politics of ‘saving’ ‘backward’ nations. This has the potential to deepen demands for social justice, in ways that do not abandon legislative reforms, but go beyond them to seek lives that are ‘worth living’, including through transnational interconnections and solidarities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    Number of pages23
    JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
    Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019


    • Bisexual
    • Gay
    • India
    • Lesbian
    • Trans and Queer
    • UK
    • livable
    • transnational methodology


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