This article concatenates an idea of the customary as a potential site of queer agency and mode of sovereignty against the claims of international law, national constitutional law, and customary law. It tracks the current contested emergence of the right to sexual orientation and gender identity in international law alongside the ongoing conflict between the right to sexual orientation in the South African constitution and customary law. Next, it discusses recent attempts to inhabit the customary queerly in the cases/spectacles of two queer “weddings,” one in South Africa in 2014 and one in Malawi in 2010. Finally, it turns to a compromised historical and cultural archive in the imagining of the customary as a source of new political and sexual imaginaries and as a site of circumscribed community self-determination through the possibility of the appeal to multiple authorities beneath and above the reach of the law.


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pp. 1-19
Launched on MUSE
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