The Australian academic Dennis Altman has long contested the Anglo-American, northern hemisphere consensuses that have grown up around marginal sexual identities. He has pointed out how fundamentally unapt they are when applied to parts of the world separated from the West not only by race, religion and politics but also, critically, by health and sanitary conditions. Altman’s 2001 book Global Sex was a rallying cry. However, it was not a comprehensive response to the imbalances and cultural insensitivities often seen in LGBTQ studies. In The Pink Line, the South African author Mark Gevisser takes up the challenge set by Altman: radically to rethink the circumstances facing a set of communities (certainly not one ‘community’ at all, ever) around the world. He approaches this task with bravura, care and deliberation, leaving their diversity and individualism fully intact.
Gevisser’s aim, as he puts it, is to tell the stories of people across the world ‘who have found themselves on what I have come to call the Pink Line: a human rights frontier that divided and described the world in an entirely new way in the first two decades