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Protection Vs. Empowerment: the State of the LGBT Child in Russia

Tereshonkova, Alexandra

Children are often conceptualized as asexual and in need of protection and surveillance to protect this attribute. Their sexual desires and human development are restricted by laws that are supposedly designed to protect children, such as the age of consent for sex, marriage, access to pornography, etc. In recent history, we have seen a multitude of restrictions on sexual rights (mostly in the realm of LGBT rights) instituted in favor of protecting children, insisting that the moral and physical development of minors requires omitting propagation of information regarding homosexuality and gender nonconformity. One of the most fundamental challenges of working from a rights-based perspective in protecting children’s sexual rights is finding the balance between children’s rights to be protected and their right to participate in decisions regarding their lives. Resistance to recognizing children’s sexual agency makes the realization of their sexual rights more challenging. Because everyone develops at their own rate, there is no universal age at which sexual rights become important. Children’s sexual rights should follow suit with the “evolving capacities” clause of the CRC to find the right balance between protection and autonomy for each individual child, taking account of their ethnic, cultural and sexual diversities. This article examines the history of children as sexual beings in international human rights law and domestic legislation (using Russia as a case study). It examines whether the conception of children as asexual is used as a tactic for states to support homophobic agendas. Since children are viewed as in need of protection, governments are able to draw more support for homophobic laws under the guise that they exist to protect children.

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More Information

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Currah, Paisley
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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