Genocidal Intentions: Social Death and the Ex-Gay Movement
Abstract

Abstract:

In this article, the authors contribute to the literature on predicting and preventing genocide in an international context, focusing on social death practices elaborated in articles II(b)-(e) of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (UNCG). Analyzing ex-gay movement texts, the authors apply James Waller's theoretical framework, which explains how ordinary people commit extraordinary acts of brutality, to the rhetoric and public policy advocacy of prominent ex-gay movement organizations and entrepreneurs. Further, they examine the extent to which this new religious movement promotes public policies in the United States and globally, and argue that these policies constitute social death as genocide of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gender peoples based on the UNCG definition. The authors conclude that emphasizing mass murder at the expense of social death constricts our view of genocide at an enormous human cost, including predicting and preventing mass murder, and accentuating the aftermath of genocide, leaving articles II(b)-(e) diminished, understudied, and, therefore, discounted in comparison. They suggest that revitalizing scholarship on social death will broadly enrich the field of genocide studies and enhance collective efforts to forecast and avert genocide in all of its manifestations.