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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies



Waruguru Gaitho

Gates Cambridge International Scholar

Legal Mobilization by Black Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) Womxn in Kenya and South Africa

Supervisor: Dr Holly Porter (University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies)


Using a legal-sociological framework, this transdisciplinary study seeks to engage in a three-pronged examination: a.) how, paying special mind to the unique challenges in each context, Black LBQ womxn in Kenya and South Africa have employed legal mobilization to advance their rights and improve their lives, b.) why they choose legal mobilization and c.) the impact -both possible and actual- that legal mobilization can have on law and society. The study focuses on the interplay between law and society, thereby moving beyond purely theoretical legal analysis and into the practical aspects of making human rights work and engineering shifts in social norms and values. By examining how we translate ideas of political and personal identity, human rights, social advocacy and legal mobilization into specific strategies, I hope to expatiate intersectionality as lens, epistemology, method, and action. In particular, how individuals at the nexus of intersecting vulnerabilities navigate systems of oppression and complex power relations, to successfully articulate their demands before both the law and society and transform both.

Research Interests:

Queer lawfare, SOGIESC and the law, African sexualities, Combative Decoloniality, Black Feminist Thought, Queer of Color critique, Gender and sexuality studies, Socio-Legal studies.


Gaitho W., Akena A., ‘SOGIESC in Africa’ in The Oxford Handbook of International LGBTIQ Law, (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2023)

Gaitho W., ‘Queering Judgement and the Potent Possibilities of Dissent: Towards a Queer, Feminist, Decolonial, Transformative Constitutionalism’ in Queer Judgements Edited Collection [Working Title], (Counterpress, forthcoming 2023)

Gaitho W., Mukalazi M., The Black Europe Summer School: Space as Revolution, Young Feminist Europe (July 2022) See here

Gaitho W. Challenging the Single Axis from the Nexus: Operationalizing Intersectionality in International Human Rights Law to Adequately Address the Corrective Rape of Black Lesbians in South Africa, Tulane Journal of Law and Sexuality (Volume 31, May 2022) See here

Gaitho W. Curing Corrective Rape: Socio-Legal Perspectives on Sexual Violence Against Black Lesbians in South Africa, William & Mary Journal of Gender, Race and Social Justice (Volume 28, Issue 2, March 2022) See here

Toorn J. van der, Gaitho W. LGBTIQ+ Workplace Inclusion: A Global Issue Requiring a Transdisciplinary and Intersectional Approach, Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies [Journal for Gender Studies] (Volume 24, Issue 3/4, December 2021) See here

Waaldijk K., Gaitho W. Leiden Overview on SOGIESC in International Law: A list of online introductory video/audio/reading materials for anyone interested in the international legal aspects of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression or sex characteristics – and in particular for anyone (considering) taking part in Leiden University’s Summer School on SOGI in International Law, Leiden University (Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies) (October, 2021) See here

Gaitho W. Going to Bat for Black lesbians in South Africa: Challenging the single axis model of anti-discrimination law in International Human Rights Law, LSE Human Rights Blog (March 25th, 2021) See here

Gaitho W. Curing ‘Corrective’ Rape: Conceptualising a dual-pronged approach to sexual violence against Black lesbians in South Africa, Leiden Law Blog (January 14th, 2021) See here

Gaitho W. Regressive Revolutionary: An analysis of X, Y, Z v Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel (2013) as a blueprint of the paradox of LGBTQIA+ asylum case law in the European Union, The Against Nature Journal (Issue #2, Fall 2020) See here

Gaitho W. The Fallacy of Reactive Regulation: AI bias as an unchecked tool of systemic oppression, Leiden Law Blog (January 8th, 2020) See here

Gaitho W. A Policy Document on the Decriminalization of Same Sex Relations in Commonwealth Countries: A suggested framework for Kenya, (National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, January, 2020)