Transnational AIDS Networks, Regional Solidarities and the Configuration of Metis in Nepal
This paper critically examines the significance of transnational AIDS networks and resources on the consolidation of one of the earliest identity categories, meti, used within an emerging Nepali LGBT movement in the early 2000s. It firstly argues that political identity formation in resource-poor contexts with limited domestic support for queer organising has been a cumulative effect of transnational exchanges between activists and resource networks. Secondly, it traces the emergence and changing meanings of meti to show how a seemingly indigenous category is more closely linked to modern configurations of male same-sex sexuality in response to opportunities available for political mobilisation. The paper is based on analysis of interviews with 71 participants and participant observations conducted during seven months of fieldwork in Nepal between 2016 and 2017, and on document analysis. The paper highlights the significance of social networks and resources in the consolidation of identity movements which have important implications for the understanding of identity formations while also raising pertinent questions about the inclusions and exclusions created by social movement processes. Going beyond existing emphasis on resource flows from the global North to the global South which sees ‘local’ actors as passive recipients of ideas and aid, this paper instead highlights the significance of South-South solidarities in social justice movements.
Keywords: networks; identity; sexuality; Nepal; AIDS