Ellie Gore

From sexual rights to a 'queer' approach: an examination of the politics of sexuality in Ghana

Supervisors: Martin Rew and Emma Foster

My research is concerned with sexuality as a ‘development issue’. It adopts a broad understanding of sexuality, to encompass gender, sexual health, reproduction, sex education, intimacy and same-sex sexualities. Following Foucault, it understands sexuality as a key site of power relations and seeks to understand how different discourses – religious, political, developmental – imbricate to shape and construct sexual experience. It is further concerned with questions of personhood, identity and ‘embodiment’, and how these relate to the materiality of sex and power.

I am equally interested in concepts of sexual rights and sexual citizenship, and exploring what these might mean in different country contexts, namely Ghana. In so doing, I aim to take a queer approach to the study of Ghanaian sexual politics that destablises heteronormative models of gender and sexuality and privileges the view from ‘the margins’. I also apply this queer lens critically to current development discourse on sexual rights, aid conditionality and the globalisation of ‘LGBT’ identity.


Prior to joining IDD I spent two years as a VSO volunteer in northern Ghana, working for the local government in community development. I also have previous experience as a policy researcher in the UK voluntary sector.

I am on a ESRC +3 funded scholarship.


  • BA History and French
  • University of Leeds
  • MSc International Development, University of Birmingham 

Research interests

  • Concepts of sexual rights and sexual citizenship in development theory and practice
  • Poststructualist theorising on sexuality, discourse and power relations
  • ‘Queering’ development and the globlisation of ‘LGBT’ rights
  • Masculinities and femininities
  • Religion, sexuality and development 


Email: exg151@bham.ac.uk