Queering Asian Values

Erich Hou

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One of the often-raised arguments against the global same-sex marriage movement in Asia is the traditional ‘Asian values’ which deems Eastern communitarian values such as filial piety, loyalty towards family, corporation, government or nation more important than the Western individual freedom and sexual rights.
This renewed interest in the ‘Asian values’ debate is ever more important when the call for personal freedom in the region seems to be escalating. Starting from the Bangkok Declaration (1993), Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations (1993) and Graham Allison’s Destined For War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides Trap? (2017), this paper intends to investigate the validity of ‘Asian values’ from an alternative viewpoint, Queer Legal Theory (QLT), a sexual minorities perspective of law and society.
Using dialectic juxtapositions during the Asian values debate in the 1990s represented by Lee Kuan Yew and Kim Dae-jung, this paper also intends to explore the development of majoritarian rule, democracy and human rights in Asia. In short, it aims to answer the question, is a democracy based on human rights and dignity feasible in Asia despite of its presumably different values from the rest of the world?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-52
JournalGirffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2020


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