Over the past few years, extraordinary progress in the expansion of sexual rights in some parts of the world has been matched by the intensification of homophobic violence and discrimination elsewhere. The official documents of statehood, diplomacy, and political activism are incredibly important resources, but they seldom foreground the complex transnational cultural flows and their localised negotiations through which same-sex sexualities are constituted in disparate public imaginaries. Sexual rights are shown to remain in an uneasy relationship with some discourses tied to static notions of culture – political impulses that are informed by histories of colonialism, but which also have more contemporary valencies.