Sexual Identities Before International and European Courts Advancing LGBT Rights Through Self-Government

Territorial autonomy is traditionally regarded as a guarantee of
citizens participation and as a tool for protecting civil liberties.
This paper aims to show that LGBT rights are no exception to this
assumption: irrespective of the jurisdiction at stake, vertical
division of powers greatly contributes to the enjoyment of LGBT
rights, as recent sub-national practice from both Europe and the
United States indicate. The analysis will be conducted as follows:
first, it will be made clear what kind of institutional principles and
devices at local level may foster the development of a pluralistic
rights culture; then, the validity of these instruments will be tested
against the actual recognition and exercise of LGBT rights. Finally,
it will be argued that LGBT rights may eventually gain acceptance as
fundamental rights among the general public insofar as they develop at
the grassroots level. In this respect, subsidiarity works as a
powerful tool for enabling progress from the “bottom-up”.