Sexuality around the world
Advocacy: keep an eye out
14. Anand Grover appointed the Special Rapporteur on Health by the Human Rights Council
15. Sexual rights within the Human Right Council Universal Periodic Review
16. High Commissioner for Human Rights inaugural statement
17. “Sexual minorities” at the Global Fund
Sexuality in Art
Check it out!
Among the many activities SPW has been involved in since April, we wish to highlight our presence at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Immediately prior to the conference, we participated in the First Latin American and Caribbean Meeting: Sexuality at the Forefront of Society organized by UNAM’s Department of Psychology, the School of Social Anthropology at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma in Puebla and the Arco Iris Foundation (see below). During the week of the conference, we launched the Spanish version of SexPolitics: Reports from the Front Lines and a special supplement of Global Public Health, which contains selected case studies from SexPolitics.
In Rio de Janeiro in early June (June 9th to 11th), SPW held a meeting between steering committee members, advisory group members, and other SPW researchers and collaborators. The main objective was to plan the 2008-2010 program cycle, during which SPW will host regional dialogues on sexuality and politics in Asia, Latin America and South Africa.
At the June meeting, we launched Questões de Sexualidade – Ensaios Transculturais, the Portuguese version of IDS bulletin Sexuality Matters. In July, we e-published on our website the SPW working paper N. 5, which analyses the effects of the Pope’s visit to Brazil in 2007. This e-publication is available in three languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese).
In New York City on October 7th we will be celebrating the publication of Sexuality, Health, and Human Rights (Routledge, London and New York, August 2008), a new book by Richard Parker, Sonia Corrêa and Rosalind Petchesky. This ground-breaking work provides a critical analysis of shifting theoretical perspectives and activist strategies regarding sexual politics and their larger geopolitical context in the twenty-first century. At this book launch event, colleagues from the fields of political science, anthropology, and sociology will provide comments on the book and engage the authors and the audience in a critical discussion on issues in sexual health and rights.
Sexuality around the world
Global and local episodes involving sexuality, politics, religion and economics are too many to be compiled in a short quarterly newsletter. They are also too complex, since they unfold in ways that are full of paradoxes and contradictions. While brutal violations occur in one place, somewhere else—or even in the same place—a major human rights breakthrough is underway. National events portrayed as great achievements may have downsides that go uncontested and even unrecognized. Most principally, resistance is everywhere, even when the conditions for political expression and sexual pluralism are very limited.
Against this backdrop, SPW Newsletter N. 4 features a number of “good news”. In India the Delhi High Court proceedings on the lawsuit against Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code had positive repercussions. In Cambodia sex workers mobilized against new anti-trafficking legislation and a 68-year-old transgender individual lodged a complaint against the Khmer Rouge Tribunal requesting reparations for violations experienced under the regime. In Paraguay women appointed to the new government raised their voices against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Mexico City new legislation was adopted allowing transsexuals to modify their legally recognized sex. But we also call attention to more somber events: the banning of LAMBDA, the Turkish LGBT organization, the attacks against Michèle Pierre-Louis, the new Prime Minister of Haiti, for her non-normative “sexual orientation”, and, yet more distressing, the escalating violence in Uganda where, while LGBT and HIV activists arrested in June were released in late August, another unjustified arrest occurred exactly when SPW Newsletter was ready to be released.
In this issue we also give visibility to news stories not privileged by mainstream media or even the major sexual rights and LGBT list serves, as in the case of news from Paraguay, Cambodia, and Ghana (in Ghana the local NGO – CEPEHRG – was awarded a Red Ribbon Award). We also tackle the Beijing Olympics sex-testing debates and highlight the case of Matthew Mitchan, the Australian out–and–out medal winner.
The Article 377 court hearings and the dissolution of LAMBDA are analysed in greater detail by SPW partners Radhika Ramassuban and Pinar Ilkkaracan, respectively, each of whom has been closely following the events. The new legislation in Mexico City is undoubtedly a breakthrough, adding to the list of similar achievements made in other Latin American countries; in Brazil in recent years courts have favored the requests of transsexuals to change their legally recognized sex in ten different cases.
Lastly, the Brazilian National Conference on LGBT Public Policies is re-visited. The conference echoed widely across the global LGBT community, but has not gained sufficient attention in the mainstream media, which opted, instead, to focus on the gay military couple arrested right before the event. We are re-examining this particular policy process because it illustrates how many complexities of contemporary sexual politics go unrecognized.
We thank our partners and collaborators for their contributions.
- Update on ongoing resistance to the Indian anti-sodomy law, by Radhika Ramassuban
- Minority report: Gay Indians demand a British apology (The Independent – Indy Blogs)
- Delhi High Court Proceedings (Queer Istan)
- India’s Anti-Gay Law Set for Biggest Court Challenge (Voa News)
- Campaign against 377 (Voices against 377)
- Health Minister stresses need to scrap Section 377 (Express India)
- Urgent — rights abuses and sex work in Cambodia (E-group human rights information for action)
- Sex workers speak out on blip.tv (Blip.TV)
- A transgender Cambodian lodges complaint with Khmer Rouge court (Breitbart.com)
- Turkey’s new struggle: re/defining “Turkish morality”, by Pinar Ilkkaracan
- Lambdaistanbul Court Case Decision: What’s Next? (Lambda Istanbul)
- Court Shows Bias, Dissolves Lambda Istanbul (Human Rights Watch)
- End Harassment of Gay Rights Groups (Human Rights Watch)
- Homophobic Violence Points to Rights Crisis (Human Rights Watch)
- SMUG and IGLHRC Demand Immediate Release (Sexual Minorities Uganda)
- Torture Threat for HIV/AIDS Activists (Human Rights Watch)
- Uganda LGBTI and HIV/AIDS Activists Acquitted of Trespass Charges (LGBT International Newsworthy)
- Uganda: two gay men arrested and detained by police (asylumlaw.org)
- Uganda: Action Alert—Demand An End To Official Harassment of LGBT Activists (IGLHRC)
- CEPEHRG wins Red Ribbon Awards 2008 (CEPEHRG)
- First National LGBT Conference in Brazil: contexts and analysis, by Marina Maria [in English] [in Portuguese]
- Analyses of the conference dynamics and results developed by Marcelo Ernesto Ferreyra [in Spanish], Coordinator of IGLHRC Latin American and Caribbean Program, and by Sérgio Carrara [in Portuguese], General Coordinator of Latin America Center on Sexuality and Human Rights – CLAM
- Gay soldier’s fate grips Brazil (BBC)
- Outing Brazil’s military secrets (guardian.co.uk)
- Homophobia, a “perverse disease” in Brazil (Queer Life)
- Relação Preliminar das Propostas Aprovadas pela Conferência Nacional LGBT (Conferência Nacional GLBT)
- Movimento muda sigla de referência de “GLBT” para “LGBT” (Folha Online)
- Female cabinet members in the new Paraguay government will work against discrimination (Airea na / Mulabi)
- IV Muestra de Cine LESBIGAYTRANS (CCEJS)
- No prime minister yet (The Economist)
- Haiti’s Senate ratifies new prime minister (Reuters)
- Presionan para que ella renuncie (espacinsular.org)
- Cuban government backs calls to combat homophobia (San Franscisco Chronicle)
- Republican Hypocrisy on LGBT Rights is Light Years Behind Cuba (Political Affairs)
- CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights No 7 (63) 2008
- CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights No 8 (64) 2008
The right to legal and safe abortion is an integral component of the sexual rights agenda. In this issue we call your attention to the results of a global opinion poll (called World Public Opinion — WPO) that surveyed 18 countries. Despite the general anti-abortion sentiment in most countries, the overall results are better than expected. In the case of Poland and Mexico they in fact very positive. However, in other countries, including Nigeria, Indonesia and India, they give us cause for concern. [See the “The World’s Abortion Laws”]
In addition, abortion politics in three countries (Mexico, Brazil and India) illustrate both convergence and chasms in relation to abortion struggles and sexual politics more broadly. In Mexico, the Federal Supreme Court decision on August 28th 2008, to uphold the existing legislation (from April 2007) that legalizes abortion in Mexico City is clearly in line with the results of the WPO poll and the new legislation for transsexuals.
The cases of Brazil and India provide different pictures. In Brazil major breakthroughs at high institutional levels are being achieved for LGBT rights. At the same time, however, government officials – parliamentarians, public attorneys and judges – and local physicians are openly restricting access to abortion. Moreover, women who receive abortions are being incriminated, the Mato Grosso do Sul case being one example of this. Tensions can also be identified within the judiciary system. While Mato Grosso do Sul attorneys and judges are conservative, the Supreme Court is showing a progressive side, as evidenced by the positive steps it has taken on the issue of anencephaly.
The Indian picture is yet more complex. As analysed by Kalpana Sharma in the Hindu Report and the ICRW Report, the connection between abortion rights and the rights of transsexuals to legally select their ‘sex’ is extremely complex. The debate on access to abortion, new technologies and pre natal sex selection has been on India’s policy agenda for many years. But as gender equality has gained legitimacy, the issue also achieved increased visibility. Concurrently, as exemplified by the Repeal 377 Campaign, the Indian sexual politics landscape is being rapidly re-configured. It is interesting to ask how these two dynamics intersect in terms of actors and relevant policy processes.
- Mexican Supreme Court upholds Mexico City abortion law by overwhelming majority (Ipas)
- Mexico Supreme Court Upholds Mexico City Abortion Law (Human Rights Watch)
- Kansas and Brazil Punish Women for Abortion (RH Reality Check)
- Brazil high court hears abortion case (International Herald Tribune)
- Justiça do MS processa 10 mil mulheres por aborto (Rádioagência NP)
- Mulheres indiciadas por aborto em MS não devem ser punidas, diz socióloga (CCR)
- Câmara pede reconsideração de pedido de indiciamento de mulheres por aborto em MS (CCR)
- Juiz descarta prisão de mulheres que fizeram aborto em MS (INESC)
- Deleting girls (The Hindu)
- Abortion in India: Selecting by Gender (Washington Post)
- Son Preference and Daughter Neglect in India (ICRW)
- The gender trap (The Guardian)
- The XY Games (The New York Times)
- Out-and-out champion celebrates (The Sidney Morning Herald)
Advocacy: Keep an eye out
This section highlights examples of advocacy work related to sexuality/sexual rights carried out during the past four months.
Sexual rights within the Human Right Council Universal Periodic Review, by Angela Collet
HCHR Opening Statement
“Sexual minorities” at the Global Fund, by Susana Fried
Sexuality in Art
Check out these projects and events that connect art and sexuality!
When the Sexuality and Art section was created our purpose was to explore novel ways to address sexuality and rights. However, we have been quickly reminded that the domain of art is not at all exempt from “bad politics”. This is exemplified by the “covered breasts” of a woman in a Tiepolo painting, which hangs in the press-conference room of the Italian Prime Minister (see below). Nelson Motta, a Brazilian op–ed writer, observed that this absurd act was in direct contradiction with the millions of bare-breasted women enjoying the Italian beaches. He also suggested that Berluschoni’s true intention was in fact “to hide the big tits of the Italian State, which have fed his corruption schemes for so long”. A good read!!
Inspired by the Argentinean movie XXY, directed by Lucía Puenzo, researcher and activist Mauro Cabral reflects on the experiences of intersex persons under the impacts of medicalization, which is imposed on them by a scientific discourse that does not allow their voices to be heard or their desires to be pursued. In the words of Cabral: “there is no space for a poetics of intersexuality, much less for an erotica of the intersex”. Read the article (only in Spanish).
Film director Vagner de Almeida introduces his new documentary, Sexuality and Hate Crimes, which he has produced with Richard Parker. The film protests against homophobia and hate crimes in Brazil among different segments of society. Read the article.
Read the article (BBC News)
Check it out!
Special Issue of the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies Guest (CRGS)
This special Issue of CRGS invites submissions from researchers who study Caribbean sexual rights, sexual practices and/or sexual identities. Scholars may submit complete papers or abstracts for papers-in-process to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 September 2008. For more Information, contact Andil Gosine at email@example.com or Donna Drayton, Editorial Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sex, Rights and the Law in a World with AIDS
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA) will convene a meeting in early 2009 entitled “Sex, Rights and the Law in a World with AIDS”. Abstracts of published or unpublished papers should be sent in PDF format by 30 September 2008. For more information, contact Ann Warner at email@example.com .
International Conference on Gender-based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health
This International Conference will take place in Mumbai, India, 15-18 February 2009. Abstracts must be received by 15 October 2008. For more information, contact the organizing secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .
The 4th Annual International Lesbian and Gay Law Association (ILGLaw) Conference
The 4th annual ILGLaw conference, “The Global Arc of Justice: Sexual Orientation Law Around the World”, will take place in Los Angeles, 11-14 March 2009. Applications are accepted until 15 November 2008. For more information, visit www.ilglaw.org or contact Randy Bunnao (from The Williams Institute) at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Journal of LGBT Health Research
This journal will guest-edit a special issue on MSM and HIV epidemiology, HIV literacy, HIV prevention, HIV treatment and care, and psychosocial factors associated with heightened HIV risk. The issue will focus on 53 countries, with special emphasis on eastern Europe and Central Asia. Articles must be submitted to the journal by 15 December 2008. For more information, contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Reproductive Health Matters 17(34) November 2009
This issue of RHM will focus on criminalisation of HIV, sexuality and reproduction. To contribute or for more information, contact Marge Berer, Editor of RHM, at email@example.com or +44-20-7267-6567. The submission deadline is 1 March 2009.
VII IASSCS Conference
The 7th Biennial Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS), entitled “Contested Innocence – Sexual Agency in Public and Private Space”, will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, 16-18 April 2009. For more information about the call for abstracts, visit www.iasscs.org/2009conference or contact the IASSCS Conference Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org .
International Conference: “The Interface between Population, Environment and Poverty Alleviation”
Organized by the European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development (EuroNGOs) this conference will take place in Lyon, France, 2-3 October 2008. For more information, contact Mirja Leibnitz at email@example.com or go to http://www.eurongos.org/Default.aspx?ID=16767 .
Sexuality, Gender and Rights Training
This four day residential program for women activists in Central Asia will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 6-9 October 2008. Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information visit www.creaworld.org .
Reproductive Health and Responsibilities
The Federation of Health Care Professionals working in Abortion and Contraception hosts its 8th conference in Berlin, Germany, 24-25 October 2008. More information is at www.fiapac.org .
Second Conference for Kartini Network
The Second Kartini Conference to discuss the future of Asian feminisms will be held in Bali, Indonesia, 2-5 November 2008. Applications can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information, www.kartini-asia.org .
International Conference on Rights and Realities in Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Organized by the World Population Foundation (WPF) and Youth Incentives (YI), this conference will be held in Rotterdam, 10-11 November 2008. For more information, www.wpf.org or www.youthincentives.org .
11th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development: The Power of Movements
From November 14th to 17th, 2008, up to 1,500 women’s rights activists from around the world will gather in Cape Town, South Africa. Register for the 11th AWID International Forum at www.awid.org/forum08/forum_registration.html . For more information, contact email@example.com .
ICPD Youth Training
The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Youth Training will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, 24-27 November 2008. Applications are due by 3 October 2008. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org .
International Conference on Human Rights and Biomedicine
Organized by the University of Rotterdam and the Erasmus Medical Centre this conference will be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 10-12 December 2008. Find more information about the event at www.biomedicineconvention.nl or by email email@example.com .
Copenhagen 2009 2nd World Outgames
The 2nd World Outgames will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 25 July to 2 August 2009. For more information, visit www.copenhagen2009.org or contact Judy Jacobsen, Project Manager – Sports Programme, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Mama Cash Grants
Mama Cash supports “groundbreaking” and “innovative” projects from women’s groups and women’s organizations all over the world. Applications for the Netherlands and Europe as well as the Global South (Asia and the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean) and the former Soviet Union can be submitted year-round. For more information, contact email@example.com or visit http://www.mamacash.org.
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
The Astraea’s International Fund for Sexual Minorities supports groups, projects, or organizations led by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) communities working towards progressive social change. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. .
Intensive International Postgraduate Programme 2009
The Intensive International Postgraduate Programme 2009 of the Netherlands Research School of Women’s Studies (Utrecht University) is open to foreign candidates beginning their Ph.D. training and to advanced M.A. students with an interest in research. For more information see http://www.genderstudies.nl/index.php?pageid=37.
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
CHANGE has a job opening for a Senior Associate for Research and Analysis. The Senior Associate for Research and Analysis will work with senior management and relevant staff to oversee the planning, implementation and tracking of research and analysis for the organization. For more information, write to email@example.com or visit www.genderhealth.org.
AI is seeking a Researcher to the Europe Union Team (Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland & Hungary). For more information about this and other opportunities at AI, visit http://www.amnesty.org/en/jobs_all/vacant-positions .
Family Health International
FHI has two new positions in Research Utilization. One position is focused on Youth SRH. The other requires French language skills since the person will be working on several activities in Francophone Africa. For more information, contact Erin K. McGinn, Associate Director, Research Utilization, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
ARROW is seeking a Programme Officer that will be responsible for implementing the Women’s Health and Rights Advocacy Partnership – South Asia (WHRAP-SA). For more information, write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org .
Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
ARROW is looking for a Programme Officer for the WHRAP-China project. The Programme Officer will be responsible for implementing the Women’s Health and Rights Advocacy Partnership – China (WHRAP-China). For more information, write to to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org .
International Women’s Health Coalition
The International Women’s Health Coalition is seeking a Program Officer to lead IWHC’s work in Southern Africa. For more information, contact Liisa Sweet-Korpivaara at email@example.com .
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
IWRAW Asia Pacific is seeking applications for two new positions: Programme Officer for “Building Capacity for Change” and Programme Officer for “Enhancing Realisation of Rights”. Application letters together with CV and copies of academic transcripts, academic/work references, and writing samples, as well as expected salary, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com .
The Arcus Foundation searches for a Director for their International LGBT Program. For more information, contact Joyce Munn, Global Nonprofit Network, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Implications of U.S. Policy Restrictions for HIV Programs Aimed at Commercial Sex Workers
- Saving Lives Now: Female Condoms and the Role of U.S. Foreign Aid
- Truth & Consequence – A Look behind the Vatican’s Ban on Contraception
Sexuality and HIV/AIDS: criminalization and rights
- 377 – and the unnatural afterlife of British colonialism
- 2008 report on State-sponsored Homophobia
- Human Rights and the Criminalization of Consensual Same-Sex Sexual Acts in the Commonwealth, South and Southeast Asia
- The criminalization of HIV
- Sex work, violence and HIV
- Review of Legal Frameworks and the Situation of Human Rights related to Sexual Diversity in Low and Middle Income Countries
- Sexualidade, Saúde e Sociedade – revista latino-americana
Other LGBT issues
- End of the Rainbow: Increasing the sustainability of LGBT organizations through social enterprise
- Boletín del “Projecto Mujeres de la ILGA”
Reproductive health and rights
- Human Sexuality in Africa: Beyond Reproduction
- Broken Promises: Human Rights, Accountability, and Maternal Death in Nigeria
- Ensuring a Healthier Tomorrow in Central America
- A: The abortion magazine