Since 2005 Norwegian policy makers have sought to include perspectives on sexual orientation and gender identity in development cooperation. The main objectives of this study has been
- To explore how the government and people who work with development cooperation perceive the roles sexual orientation and gender identity may or may not have in development cooperation.
- To critically analyse Norway¡¦s development cooperation - its aims, strategies and justification - and explore how sexual orientation and gender identity issues relate to the overall development policy.
To do this the study has situated the current policy in an historical and political context by looking at the history of development cooperation and how gender and sexuality have been thematised throughout this period. It has further analysed current policy documents and explored the themes in conversations with 22 employees from development institutions and organisations in Norway.
A reading of the empirical material inspired by queer and postcolonial feminist theory highlights a central dilemma: Even with the new willingness to include sexual orientation and gender identity in development cooperation the Norwegian development discourse is still largely heteronormative. On the other hand the focus on sexual orientation and gender identity can be seen to further a tradition where Norway is seen as having reached a successful modernity that should be exported to less developed societies.