June is LGBTIQ Pride month worldwide. This SPW brief highlights events around the world, prioritizing parades and other demonstrations that are not captured by mainstream radars. In that regard, we also recommend the readers who read Spanish to peruse the new blog Orgullos Críticos – which examines trends and traps implied in the growing normalization, marketization and pinkwashing of pride parades.
As part of the June LGBTIQ cycle, the second Queer Asia Conference and Film Festival – titled Desire, Decolonization & Decriminalization was held at the School of African and Asian Studies (SOAS) and the Birbeck College in London. SPW collaborator Matthew Waites generously shares with us an insightful report of the event and his views on debates that have then taken place.
In Germany, the Parliament has finally approved a marriage equality law. Significantly enough, while Prime Minister Angela Merkel voted against the law declaring that marriage is to take place between a man and a woman, the six Muslim members of the Bundestag have voted favorably. Click here to read our compilation on the issue.
Shifting to Latin America, upon SPW request, our partner Maria Amélia Viteri has written with Gabriel Ocampo an article that assesses Ecuadorian sexual politics, with a strong focus on LGTBIQ rights.
In South Africa, the government has launched the First National LGBTI HIV Plan. This new policy certainly deserves a closer scrutiny. Questions have already been raised about the lack of attention to the needs of trans men and intersex people in the guidelines. And, it is also worth recalling that the policy has been adopted right after the national Law Reform Commission has recommended that sex work is to remain criminalized.
Also from Africa, Wendy Isaacs from HRW report on groundbreaking steps forward in regard to LGBTIQ rights taken by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
It is also quite remarkable the visibility of intersex rights worldwide. GATE has issued a statement to remember UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, signaling violence committed against intersex and trans people in the name of “health” or, better said, biomedical pathologizing assumptions. In the US, three past General Surgeons have called for the end of surgeries to fix the gender of intersex infants. And, in Mexico, the Ministry of Health has also launched a groundbreaking protocol to ensure access to health services to intersex persons that strictly prohibit coercive and non-voluntary medical interventions. (In Spanish – here and here)
Finally, in what concerns LGBTIQ rights, at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council, Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, the Independent Expert on Human Rights in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity has presented to member states the first report of his mandate.
We must remind, however, that June 2nd it is also when sex workers celebrate their international day. In Brazil, the date, named Puta Dei, has gained greater visibility in recent years (in Portuguese). To also mark it as an important moment in global sexual politics we bring attention to Laura Agustín’s superb short chronicles on sex work and sex workers in fiction.
Contradictory news were also registered at the abortion frontline. In May, in Uruguay, the Supreme Court stroke down a lower court ruling preventing a woman from having an abortion of a unintended pregnancy after a lawsuit was filed by the male partner of the woman, who declared he was against the termination. The Supreme Court considered the petition “inadmissible and unconstitutional” action seeking to limit the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy Act of 2012 (learn more here ).
In Brazil, in late June, the Federal District Assembly (Brasília) approved a law provision presented by a female parliamentarian determining that women who seek legal abortion in the case of rape should be show images of living fetuses as a ‘pedagogical measure to deter them from the decision to abortion’ (in Portuguese). Feminist organizations immediately launched an online campaign against the law. As soon as it was aired the Governor of Brasilia declared that he would veto the law and the proposer of the provision came public to say that she has changed her mind in regard to the effectiveness of the law (in Portuguese).
At the international level, a groundbreaking good news is to be reported: the World Health Organization WHO launched the online Global Abortion Policies Database that offers up-dated information on abortion laws worldwide. This is a key instrument to inform transnational abortion rights struggles.
On the other hand, regressive views on abortion have prevailed in Dominican Republican, as the country’s Senate vote to uphold the criminal legislation that enshrines a total ban on pregnancy termination. In Poland, the President signed a law that creates obstacles for women to access to emergency contraception. The provision establishes that day-after pill will only be available through a doctor prescription (check here and here ). Then on July 5th, in El Salvador – where a provision was tabled last year to reform the draconian legislation prohibiting abortion on all grounds — a first level court has condemned another woman who has undergone a miscarriage to thirty years in prison (check here).
Not less importantly, there is much to report in relation to Vatican. In the last two weeks of June, sex scandals have once again erupted in the Catholic Church. Firstly, the Australian Cardinal George Pell — who has a high rank in Holy See hierarchy — was denounced of multiple sexual offenses. A bit later, tabloids reported on a sexual orgy in an apartment used by the Vatican task force on sexual abuse. Yet more striking: a month earlier a quite relevant official Vatican event was almost entirely ignored. On May 13th, Pope Francis visited the sanctuary of Fatima, in Portugal, to mark the 100th anniversary of a supposed apparition of Virgin Mary. As we know Pope visits provokes much press excitement and agitates anti LGBTIQ and abortion rights forces. This particular trip, however, has gone almost unnoticed, even when well known spoke persons of the anti ‘gender ideology” camp were also in Fatima. In the short article The Mountain has delivered a pope SPW collaborator João Manuel de Oliveira explains why the visit has been a non event.
Finally, SPW celebrates Ugandan Court decision releasing scholar Stella Nyanzi from a mental health evaluation, a procedure required when she was arrested, in April, for criticizing Ugandan President and the First Lady.
Papers and articles
The Lure of Funding Neuters LGBTI Activists – Sunil Babu Pant – The Stirrer
Transgender Woman Speaks on Chechnya’s Persecutions and Life Pre-Kadyrov – Global Voices
Malaysia: Health Ministry Propagates Harmful Anti-LGBT Myths – Human Rights Watch
The Long, Lonely Road of Chelsea Manning – New York Times
Women’s rights / Gender
The wonder of imperial feminism – AlJazerra
Better, Fitter, Feminist – Can the Optimized Body be Intersectional Too? – Bitch Media
A fatwa against sexual violence: the story of a historic world congress of female Islamic scholars – openDemocracy
Herstory: Soweto uprising and the erasure of Black women – Pambazuka News
Brexit Without Women – Human Rights Watch
From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council – openDemocracy
Women as wartime rapists: a new book explores ‘the impossible’ – openDemocracy
Abortion and Human Rights – Health and Human Rights Journal
When Antiabortion Ideology Turns into Foreign Policy: How the Global Gag Rule Erodes Health, Ethics and Democracy – Guttmacher Policy Review
“Northern Ireland still holds the harshest punishment for illegal abortions anywhere in Europe” – openDemocracy
I’m a nurse and this is why SA should decriminalise sex work – Bhekisisa
The False Promise of “End Demand” Laws – Open Society
Publications and resources
Global Abortion Policies Database – World Health Organization
Intersections: The Politicisation of Religion and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights – ARROW for Change
Women and LGBT voices from Nigeria: Empower Newsletter n. 2 – Women’s Health and Equal Rights Initiative (WHER)
The Smart Sex Worker’s Guide to the Global Fund Strategy 2017–2022: “Investing to End Epidemics” – Global Network of Sex Work Projects
Understanding Sex Work in an Open Society – Open Society
GETTING ON THE FAST TRACK: Advocacy Priorities for the Global HIV and Human Rights Responses with Gay & Bisexual Men – The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)
Agenda 2030 for LGBTI health and well-being – Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) and OutRight Action International –
Just Let Us Be”: Discrimination Against LGBT Students in the Philippines – Human Rights Watch
Changing National Laws and Policies – 2 June 2017 – International Campaign for Women-‘s Right to Safe Abortion
In Memoriam Lucie Van Crombrugge and campaigning reports – 9 June 2017 – International Campaign for Women-‘s Right to Safe Abortion
Resources, Reports and Publications & a Correction – 13 June 2017 – International Campaign for Women-‘s Right to Safe Abortion
Abortion News – Ireland & Northern Ireland – 16 June 2017 – International Campaign for Women-‘s Right to Safe Abortion
Abortion Law and Policy News: 23 June 2017 – International Campaign for Women-‘s Right to Safe Abortion
Journal Articles and a Video – 20 June 2017 – International Campaign for Women-‘s Right to Safe Abortion
More on Abortion Law and Policy News: 27 June 2017 – International Campaign for Women-‘s Right to Safe Abortion
The Editorial: The Internet and Sexuality – In Plainspeak
Reflections on Our Countries (Lebanon – Mexico – Nigeria – Pakistan – Sri Lanka) – May 2017 – Resurj
LGBulleTIn #89 – Two weeks in LGBTI news (May 26 – June 8, 2017) – ILGA
LGBulleTIn #90 – The week in LGBTI news (June 9-15, 2017) – ILGA
LGBulleTIn #91 – The week in LGBTI news (June 16-22, 2017) – ILGA
Behold, I make all things new: What do the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam really say in regard to human sexuality? – Global Interfaith Network (GIN-SSOGIE)
Check it out
Rainbow Fundraising Western Balkans’ comprehensive training – RFSL – Deadline: 16th of July 2017
Job opportunity at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance: Lead: HIV Technical – Key Populations – Deadline: 17th of July
Erotics of the Leader – Calling Queers with creative juices and a political edge – Deadline: 21st of July 2017
ILGA Asia Regional Conference 2017: registration is open! – Deadline for submissions: 23 July 2017
Apply for Frida’s Climate and Environmental Justice Special Grants – Deadline: 23th of July 2017
Apply for Amnesty International Australia’s Human Rights Innovation Fund – Deadline: August 21
Call for papers: Sociology of Development’s issue “Power, Media, and Everyday Life: Expanding the Intersection” – Deadline January 15, 2018
Sexuality and Art
Our Lady of Flowers by Francisco Camacho