Close Menu

“Are We Making Progress If We’re Leaving People Behind?”

Professor Kimberly Theidon and Nicholas Cicchinelli (F20) discuss #Pride2020 and connecting queer theory to international – and national – affairs.

“As COVID-19 crisscrosses the globe every community is affected, but not affected equally. How communities are impacted follows the fault lines of any given society in the United States.”

With that, Fletcher’s Henry J. Leir Professor of International Humanitarian Studies Kimberly Theidon opened a recent conversation with incoming Fletcher Ph.D. Nicholas Cicchinelli (F20) that touched on everything from connecting queer theory and gender analysis in international affairs to recognizing the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on LGBTQ+ youth and elders in America and beyond. The conversation also delved into what is lost when legislation and policymaking is largely undertaken by cis-gendered heterosexual males, and – on a lighter note –  what each are doing to celebrate Pride 2020 this month.

Theidon set the stage by presenting the conversation in the context of Pride 2020, saying, “Nicholas and I wish to consider the LGBTQ community - it’s one of the communities we both belong to - and how it affects us.” She added that an intersectional lens would also be applied to the conversation.  

The Human Rights Campaign estimates that there are approximately 14 million LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. and about two million LGBTQ+ youth in the United States, Theidon noted, and before throwing her first question to Cicchinelli, said “so yes, we’re queer, we are here, and in the context of international relations, where are we?”

Cicchinielli, a recent Fletcher MALD graduate himself, whose studies have concentrated on public international law, human rights, and democratic governance, chimed in by sharing a bit of background on his masters’ thesis bringing the international aspect of the conversation into focus. “Similar to that statistic from the HRC, the Organization for Refuge, Asylum, and Migration estimates that there are about 175 million sexual and gender minorities living in, what they call conditions of peril or violence,” Cicchinelli began, “but only about 3,000 […] receive international protection every year through asylum processes and other means. My MALD thesis [looked at] why that might be? What are the factors that influence it? And what determines these huge discrepancies in outcomes?”

According to Cicchinelli, it turns out that a confluence of factors is at play. Inclusion or exclusion from international protection can vary widely, depending on “where you apply, how you apply, and how your application is interpreted by individual adjudicators or the jurisprudence local to that jurisdiction,” he said.

Theidon and Cicchinelli went on to discuss how the politics of a region or a state can impact asylum decisions in an arbitrary – or even a, as Cicchinelli argues, “misguided, misinformed, all the way up to prejudiced,” manner.

To listen to their full and wide-ranging discussion, watch the Fletcher Insights Facebook Live conversation below.

Fletcher Insights #Pride2020: A Discussion On Connecting Queer Theory and International Relations

Follow along with the conversation as #FletcherProf Kim Theidon & incoming #FletcherPhD Nicholas Cicchinelli (F20) sit down today to discuss connecting queer theory and gender analysis in #internationalaffairs. #Pride2020 Learn more about the gender analysis field of study at Fletcher here: Learn about more resources and the discussion of other intersectional aspects of the crisis here: Learn more about Pride @ Fletcher here:

Posted by The Fletcher School at Tufts University on Friday, June 26, 2020