Rosalind Petchesky is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Abortion and Woman's Choice (1990), Negotiating Reproductive Rights: Women's Perspectives Across Countries and Cultures (1998) and Global Prescriptions: Gendering Health and Human Rights (2003). Her numerous articles and books on issues of reproductive and sexual rights have been translated into numerous languages and have influenced scholars, advocates and legal forums in diverse countries. She is a member of Sexuality Policy Watch Steering Committee.
Richard Parker is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences and Director of the Center for Gender, Sexuality and Health in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, as well as Director and President of ABIA, the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association.  Together with Sonia Corrêa, he serves as Co-Chair of Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW).
Constance A. Nathanson is Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for Research on Population, Health, and Society  (CUPC) at Columbia University.
Adriana Vianna, historian and anthropologist, Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, assistant professor at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Areas of activity: law, justice and public policy. Conducts research on violence against women and gays and on adoption and custody cases.
Sonia Corrêa is the founder of SOS Corpo – Instituto Feminista para Democracia, a leading Brazilian feminist organization. Since 1994, she has closely followed United Nations negotiations in relation to gender, sexuality and reproductive health. She coordinates the sexual and reproductive health rights programme of Development Alternative with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and is the co-chair of the Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW). Both programmes are based at Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association (ABIA), in Rio de Janeiro.
Sérgio Luis Carrara, holds a Ph.D in Social Anthropology from the Museu Nacional / Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro).  He is a professor at the Instituto de Medicina Social at Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Social Medicine Institute, Rio de Janeiro State University). He has developed extensive  research in the domains of sexuality, gender, homosexuality, human rights and violence. He is the co-director of CLAM – Latin American Center for Sexuality and Human  Rights based in Rio de Janeiro.    
Hossam Bahgat is the founder and director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). The EIPR is an independent Egyptian human rights organization which works through advocacy and litigation to promote and defend the rights to privacy, health and bodily integrity. With training in political science and international human rights law, Bahgat is also the vice president of the Egyptian Association against Torture and an Advisory Board member of the New Women Foundation. Since January 2007 he has been an expert member of the Sexual Rights Panel of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF).

Wesal Afifi was a Research Associate on the Right to Privacy Program at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) from August 2005 - August 2006. Wesal has worked extensively with refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt and in research for educational opportunities for refugee children in Egypt. She  has recently completed her Master of Laws at the University of Warwick, UK in International Development Law and Human Rights and is currently working at the International Organization for Migration in London.

Radhika Ramasubban is a sociologist and social historian, who has worked in the areas of science and technology policy; history of public health; rural water supply- sanitation-health linkages as a basis for infrastructure planning; urban health processes and behaviors; and, more recently, women’s reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.  She is currently the Director of the Centre for Social and Technological Change, Mumbai, an independent social science research group.

Carlos F. Cáceres is a medical doctor and social researcher in health, obtained his doctorate in public health at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently Professor of Public Health at Cayetano Heredia University, Lima, and also coordinates the Master's Course in Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Health. He is a member of the HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Network for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Marcos Cueto earned his Ph.D. in History in 1988 from Columbia University and is currently a Principal Professor at the Facultad de Salud Publica, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima.  During the spring of 2004, he is a resident fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.  Cueto’s research interests include the history of AIDS in Peru and Latin America and the history of international health.  His recent publications and books include The Return of Epidemics: Health and Society in 20th century Peru (UK, Ashgate, 2001); Culpa y Coraje: História de las políticas del VIH/Sida en el Perú (Lima, Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Social, 2001).

Nancy Palomino has worked extensively in the field of reproductive and sexual health, and is currently Coordinator of the Sexuality and Reproductive Health Project at the Facultad de Salud Pública y Administración, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and a member of the Board of Directors of the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network. 

Wanda Nowicka has been an activist in the field of women’s sexual and reproductive rights for many years. She is a co-founder and member of several NGOs including the Association for Ideologically-Free State (Neutrum)  and the Federation for Women and Family Planning, where she has been president since its creation. She is also a founder of  ASTRA – Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights – established 1999. Between 1996 and 2002 she served as a member of the Gender Advisory Panel of the World Health Organization and since 2003 she is a member of the Advisory Board of Reproductive Health Matters.
Belinda Beresford is a journalist and writer based in Johannesburg, South Africa.  She publishes frequently on public health issues, particularly related to HIV/AIDS, and on political and broader social concerns in South Africa.
Helen Schneider is Director of the Center for Health Policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. School of Public Health.  She is also the Director of the Research Group on Health Policy of the Medical Research Council. Research interests include the policy and health systems issues related to HIV/AIDS and STIs, quality of health care, and the organizational and other challenges to the post-apartheid health sector transformation in South Africa.

Robert Sember - at the time of writing the case study Robert Sember was a member of Sex Policy Watch's New York Secretariat.  He is now an independent curator, writer and member of the art collective, Ultra-red.

Pinar Ilkkaracan is an independent scholar and activist who has written extensively on sexuality and sexual rights, women and law, violence against women, Islam and gender and human rights education. She is a founder of Women for Women ‘s Rights and of Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies, a solidarity network of academics and NGOs working towards the promotion of sexual, bodily and reproductive rights and health in the Middle East, North Africa and South/South-East Asia. Among other publications she has edited Women and Sexuality in Muslim Societies (WWHR-New Ways, Istanbul, 2000) and Sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa: Contemporary Issues and Discourses (forthcoming).

Le Minh Giang is a PHD candidate at the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University.  He is also a senior research associate at the Center for Research and Training on HIV/AIDS, Hanoi Medical University.

Nguyen Thi Mai Huong is the founder and director of the Center for
Community Health Research and Development (CCRD), a local NGO based in
Hanoi. She has also worked as consultant for the UNFPA and Population
Council offices in Hanoi.

Françoise Girard is Director of the Public Health Program at the Open Society Institute. A lawyer by training, Ms. Girard has worked many years as an advocate for women’s health, gender equality and sexual rights, with a focus on advocacy and policy development with UN agencies and at UN conferences (ICPD+5, Beijing+5, Special Session on HIV/AIDS and on Children, ICPD+10, 2005 World Summit). From 1999 to 2003, she was Senior Program Officer for International Policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition. Among other publications she is the author of  “Global Implications of U.S. Domestic and International Policies on Sexuality," Sexuality Policy Watch (June 2004).

Kenneth Rochel de Camargo Jr. is Associate Professor at the Instituto de Medicina Social/UERJ  (Social Medicine Institute, Rio de Janeiro State University). He is also a board member of  ABIA, the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association.
Ruben Mattos is a medical doctor and holds a PHD in Collective Health from the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (University of the State of Rio de Janeiro). He is the current director of the Social Medicine Institute, which is part of the same University. His main areas of expertise are: World Bank history and policies, health policies and international aid.  
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SexPolitics - Reports from the Front Lines
is the outcome of a project launched by Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW) in 2004—a transnational, cross-cultural research initiative that we hoped would capture some dynamics of sexual politics in our time. The perceived need for such an effort grew out of the political contradictions we are experiencing. On the one hand, the revival of religious extremisms of all kinds, the “war on terror” with its rationalization of unrelenting militarism and torture, the shadow of US military hegemony, and an atmosphere of unbridled power create unusually dangerous times for those committed to social justice, peace and human rights—particularly the rights to health, bodily integrity, and pleasure. They are dangerous in very particular ways for sexual and gender outlaws, whether they be gays and lesbians, transgender and intersex people, unmarried youth, sex workers, or heterosexual women trying to live a “non-traditional” social and erotic existence.

At the same time, global transformations of recent decades have opened up important new spaces in almost all societies and institutions for advocacy and activism in defense of gender equity and sexual freedom. Increasingly extensive global flows—not merely of capital, but of people, technologies, images, and ideas—have made possible not only the spaces of local struggle in which the politics of contested bodies have increasingly taken place, but also the emergence of important and growing transnational movements and activist networks. These networks have begun to change the contemporary landscape of sexual and reproductive health and rights, opening up new dialogues and debates in arenas as local as clinics and brothels and as global as the United Nations. And they produced SPW itself and its collective work, including this book.

The project that ultimately became SexPolitics started with a broad meta-question: How and why are gender and sexuality being used in political power struggles within and across countries and institutions? Researchers for 10 case studies - 8 country settings (Brazil, Egypt, India, Peru, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam) and 2 institutional ones (the United Nations and the World Bank) - were asked to investigate this question through three analytical streams: hegemonic discourses (about the meanings of “manhood” and “womanhood,” sexuality, youth, etc.); political processes (local, national and international); and key actors (politicians, religious and medical authorities, NGOs). Then case study authors identified what they considered the most critical sexuality-related issue or issues in their particular country or institutional setting and examined these issues from the perspectives they determined would provide the greatest insights.

As a result of this open-ended process, the case studies reflect great differences in theme and emphasis, some focusing more on HIV/AIDS, some on reproductive health, some on issues of gender and sexual identity. Yet common threads bind them together as well. First is the shared sense that the local and the global are always and necessarily intertwined and that our studies needed to show this two-way reverberation. Second is an understanding that sexual politics are always on some level about power and that attempts to destabilize traditional gender and sexual relations will threaten established political, religious and familial hierarchies. Last but not least is the commitment of all the case study authors, and SPW as a transnational program, not just to doing research for its own sake but also to furthering an agenda of change that brings together social justice and erotic justice. We seek to build a world where pleasure and well-being are no longer exceptional or the prerogative of a few.

SexPolitics - Reports from the Front Lines

(Click the names highlighted to view biography)

Edited by:
Richard Parker, Rosalind Petchesky and Robert Sember

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Sonia Corrêa y Richard Parker
1 - Introduction

Rosalind Petchesky
2 - Brazil
Adriana R. B. Vianna and
Sérgio Carrara
3 - Egypt
Hossam Bahgat and Wesal Afifi
4 - India
Radhika Ramasubban
5 - Peru
Carlos Cáceres, Marcos Cueto and
Nancy Palomino
6 - Poland
Wanda Nowicka
7 - South Africa
Belinda Beresford, Helen Schneider
and Robert Sember
8 - Turkey
Pinar Ilkkaracan
9 - Vietnam
Le Minh Giang and
Nguyen Thi Mai Huong
10 - United Nations
Françoise Girard
11 - World Bank
Kenneth de Camargo and
Ruben Mattos

Cross-cutting Analysis
Constance A. Nathanson, Robert Sember and Richard Parker

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Copy editing:
Joan Ross Frankson and Maria Dulce
F. Natividad

Graphic design:
Metara Comunicação

- Ford Foundation
- Open Society Institute