Sexuality Policy Watch

SPW Newsletter N.10 – September, 2011

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SPW is now finalizing the cycle of Regional Dialogues on Sexuality and Geopolitics that started with the Asian Dialogue in Hanoi, Vietnam in April 2009, followed by the Latin American Dialogue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2009, and then by the African Dialogue, the last one, which took place in Lagos, Nigeria in October 2010. The e-book Sexualidade e Política na América Latina: histórias, interseções e paradoxos (in English Sexuality and Politics in Latin America: Histories, Intersections, Paradoxes), presenting the papers and debates of the Latin American Dialogue, has been published (with contents in Spanish and Portuguese) recently on the SPW’s website. In late September 2011, an inter-regional meeting will take place in Rio de Janeiro to share and process the outcomes of the three dialogues and to prepare the foundation for a global publication, planned for 2012.

It should be noted as well that since late 2010 SPW has collaborated with a number of global and regional initiatives in the realms of sexualities activism and research, as illustrated by the following examples:

SPW also participated in the VIII International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS) Conference, entitled “Naming and Framing: The Making of Sexual (In)Equality” (Madrid, Spain, July 6th-9th), by organizing a parallel session –  “Regional dynamics in Sexuality and politics: common threads and differences” – to share the outcomes of Regional Dialogues on Sexuality and Geopolitics, and being part of the panel on “Electronic Sociability, Gender, Sexuality and Internet Regulation”,  organized by the Women’s Networking Support Programme of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC-WNSP), to present the findings of the EROTICS global project. Sonia Corrêa chaired the third conference main plenary “Facing cultural diversity in the recognition of Sexual Rights as Human Rights”, which was held on July 8th. She also participated in the post-conference workshop organized by IASCCS and Kartini Asia Network, on July 10th and 11th to discuss the connections between sexuality research and advocacy.

Other relevant events:

  • In May, 2011, Sonia Corrêa lectured at the seminar Gay Liberation Now: global movements and transformations, organized at the London School of Economics to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front (listen the podcast of the presentation). In June she was a keynote speaker at the 20th World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), in Glasgow (UK). (Click here to see her presentation in PDF).
  • Richard Parker conducted a training course on Global AIDS Policy that was sponsored by Hanoi Medical University and the Vietnam National HIV/AIDS Coordination for researchers, policymakers and advocates in Vietnam. He also launched the Routledge Handbook of Global Public Health, edited by him and Marni Sommer, which was published in early 2011. It is currently available in hardback and e-book versions.
  • Gloria Careaga participated in the meetings below:  Psychology Association of Puerto Rico Session on Sexual Diversity as a Key speaker about Lesbians in Latin America (April 27th and 28th); the Symposium “Homophobia, Health and Education – the impact of homophobia in the health and education services”, organized by CENSIDA-UNESCO-ILGA (May 19th); Panel about Homoparental Families in the Meeting about Sexual Dissidence, organized by Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México (June 9th); International Congress on Genders, Feminisms and Diversities, organized by Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica (June 20-24th); and the Summer Course of Colegio de Mexico as a teacher for the section about sexual rights (July 5th).
  • Marina Maria was invited by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to participate in the panel “Internet rights are human rights”, which took place on June 3nd, during the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland, to present the findings from the EroTICs research. She also participated in other activities during this HRC session, like the negotiation for the creation of the resolution Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, proposed by the South African mission. Read more (in English and in Portuguese).
  • IDAHO International Committee hired SPW Assistant Jandira Queiroz, in a one-day/week basis, as a consultant for the Latin-American campaign for the International Day Against Homophobia (May 17th) in 2011. This has been a 4-month contract between October 2010 and January 2011; after this period, Jandira was hired as a part-time consultant to coordinate the “Cures That Kill” Latin-American campaign with LGBT groups in LAC. The campaign was a great success, with a great support and hundreds of activities around May 17th, 2011 in 12 countries within the region. Also, for May 17th, Jandira Queiroz helped to establish the connections between new LGBT online campaigning organization and the Brazilian LGBT movement to deliver a global petition demanding the approval of an anti-homophobia bill in Brazil, considered to be the “champion” of the countries with a high number of LGBT murders. The petition was delivered in hands to the vice-president of the Senate and to the LGBT branch at National Congress. Pictures sent from all over the world in support to PLC 122/2006 were exhibited at the National Library in Brasilia, in a giant projection on May 17th at night. She also participated in the Seminar “Economic Autonomy and Empowerment of Women”, organized by the Fundação Alexandre de Gusmão and promoted by the Foreign Relations Ministry and the Special Secretary for Women’s Policy.




2.1 Regional highlights and relevant meetings

A number of factors hampered our ability to deliver the 10th SPW Newsletter in early 2011, as planned. On the one hand, we regret and apologize for this delay. On the other, it is rather striking to note that how, in such a relatively short period of time, the world scenario has been swept by a sequence of outstanding events and trends, whose meaning and effects can not yet be fully grasped. Yet, they cannot be glossed over when assessing the state of art of sexual politics. In this issue, Sonia Corrêa explores the intersections between sexual politics and the intense political and economic shifts underway in the brief essay Reflecting on 2011: incomplete notes on how sexual politics intersect with a shifting landscape.

In terms of relevant facts that have taken place since October 2010, quite evidently the area of LGBT rights has been the scenario of a number of important gains, even thoughgaps and losses must also be accounted for. One first achievement to be noted was the restoration of language on sexual orientation on a resolution on extrajudicial execution that was submitted to a vote a few weeks ago, when the reference to this particular aggravating circumstance was deleted from text. The second successful voting was mobilized by the US delegation.

Victories are also to be accounted at national levels: the Brazilian Supreme Court decision on same sex civil unions (May, 2011), the approval of “gay marriage” in the State of New York (July, 2011) and the decision of the Colombia Constitutional Court on the same subject matter (same sex marriage), which requested the National Senate to take the necessary legislative steps  to grant marriage equality. In Uganda, the ongoing debate on the proposed anti-homosexuality legislation that has been evolving since 2009 has been halted, even though the risk still  remains that the provision may be unexpectedly revived. In Cordoba, Argentina, the murderer of Natalia Gaitán, Pepa, who was shot in March 2010 was found guilty – an important victory against impunities in the case of homophobia hate crimes.

But, as we do know a number of violations and backlashes are also to be reported, starting with the murder of David Kato, in Kampala in January, which has posed threats to the lives of other Ugandan activists (click here to read more). Killings have also occurred in other contexts, such as Turkey, Colombia, Honduras and Malawi. We should also remind that ongoing discrimination takes place everywhere and, in many places, the media and authorities still deploy unacceptable attacks on homosexuality, such as in the cases of Jamaica and India. Being based in Brazil, the SPW secretariat also regrets having to report that in May, a video kit prepared for the anti-homophobic educational programs in the public educational systems, under the pressure of the Evangelic group at Congress, was suspended by President Dilma and that a major deadlock ensued in the processing of a criminal provision against homophobia (PL122/2006) [read more in Portuguese or English].

In shifting the lenses to other areas, one important normative breakthrough to be mentioned is the decision by a US federal appeals court ruling against the  the  “prostitution oath” attached to US  HIV/AIDS funding guidelines (read more) .  This decision is particularly relevant because, recently the debates on sex workers rights has taken negative and unexpected outcomes even in contexts, such as Brazil and Argentina, where historically state policies have been mostly regulatory but never explicitly abolitionist.

In the first case, the law provision tabled in 2003 that aimed at recognizing the labor rights of sex workers in the hands of a conservative rapporteur was turned into a provision aimed at criminalizing clients (a Swedish model approach). In Argentina, a presidential decree prohibited the advertisement of commercial sex in newspapers and magazines, triggering the protest of the national association of sex workers (read the AMMAR – Sex Workers Argentina press release) and of other voices. But we are also very pleased to inform the readers that, in the course of the last six to eight months, the production and circulation of analysis related to sex work – which is informed by evidence based and human rights approaches – has definitely increased. SPW Newsletter No 10 devotes privileged attention to this particular area of research and activism in sexuality and you can see a series of contents on this issues at the section We recommend.


2.2 The abortion frontlines

>> UK: Anti-abortion group drafted in as sexual health adviser to government (in English)

>> Debate on descriminalization of abortion in Angola (in Portuguese)

>> Chile: Senate Health Committee approved idea to debate ​​therapeutic abortion (in Spanish)

>> Chile: First consultation on therapeutic abortion (in Spanish)

>> Data on unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion in Colombia (in Spanish)

>> Uruguay: El debate que se viene: aborto se instala en setiembre (in Spanish)

>> Abortion in Brazil: a household survey using the ballot box technique (in Portuguese)

>> Dois pesos e duas medidas: o aborto perdoado em Madri, by Ivone Gebara (in Portuguese)


2.3 Also in the news

Latin America

>> Boletina Informativa Mujer Salud-Hable (RSFFALC)
>>  Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights (CLAM) website (information in Eng / Port / Spa)
>>  Ciudadania SX (only in Spanish)
>>  Conectas Human Rights (information in Eng / Port / Spa)
>>  Observatorio de Género y Equidad (only in Spanish)
>>  CFEMEA (information in Port / Eng)
>>  Revista de Saúde Sexual e Reprodutiva de Ipas Brasil (only in Portuguese)
>>  Rede Feminista de Saúde (only in Portuguese)

>>  Council for Global Equality
>>  PEPFAR Watch

>> ARSRC – Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre
>> Behind the mask: the voice of africa’s lgbt community
>>  Portal Lambda Moçambique (only in Portuguese)

Eastern Europe
>>  CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights No 09 (100) 2011 (only in English)

Muslim Societies
>>  News and Views (Women Living Under Muslim Laws)


>> Read the report Right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, prepared by the Special Rapporteur Anand Grover, presenting the right to sexual and reproductive health as a fundamental part of the right to health. This report will be presented during the UN General Assembly, in New York, in October 2011.

>> In the 17th Session of the Human Rights Council, in June 2011, a groundbreaking step forward happened in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity as a non justifiable basis of discrimination and a legitimate human rights concern, when a resolution proposed in March 2011 by South Africa was adopted. The resolution requested the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to develop a study on discrimination and violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and calls for a panel discussion on the finding of the study to define further steps ahead (read the ARC International news on the resolution). To better understand the relevance and meaning of this resolution it is important to refer back to the obstacles faced by a resolution proposed by Brazil in 2003, its antecedents and the efforts made since then to sustain the issue on the agenda of the Human Rights Council  and other UN instances, such as the General Assembly and surveillance committees, including the elaboration and wide dissemination of the Yogyakarta Principles (watch the video on the Yogyakarta Prinicples and read Sexual Rights and Trade, by Magaly Pazello). The June resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity should, in fact, inspire a novel research effort to track and analyze these continuing debates along the lines to of the study performed by Girard (2008).


>> Watch the short film Not Yet Rain, by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Lisa Russell, produced in association with Ipas. The fil explores abortion in Ethiopia through the voices of women who have faced the challenge of finding safe care. Through their stories, we see the important role that safe abortion care plays in the overall health of women and their families.


>> Emerging Sexualities and Race: Responses to Sexuality in Jamaica and the English Speaking Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora, an Interdisciplinary Conference organized by Department of Community and Criminal Justice, De Montfort University (Leicester) and the Department of Sociology, will be held from 21 to 22 October 2011, at the Scarman Conference Centre, Warwick University (UK). For more information, email to

>> The 2012 Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) at Columbia University is selecting participants. Applications are due by 18 November 2011 and the 2012 HRAP will take place from August to December 2012. Read more.

>> The Law, Gender and Sexuality Research Project is organinzing a biographical book on David  Kato – the Ugandan defender for sexual minorities. Materials about memorial events held after his death are welcome until 16th December 2011. For more information, email to

Read more at Check it out!


For the Newsletter n. 10, we have selected a series of contents on issues related to sex workers, human trafficking and forced labor around the world. SPW devotes privileged attention to this particular area of research and activism in sexuality and one of these contents selected is the article Argentina uncategorized: Debates about human trafficking, prostitution and sex work, written by Carolina Justo von Lurzer and Santiago Morcillo, on the debate organized by the Sexualities Studies Group of the Gino Germani Research Institute of the University of Buenos Aires to discuss the public policies related to prostitution, after president Cristina Fernandez Kirchner announced the enactment of the decree 936/11, which prohibits advertisements that promote sexual services in all media. Click here to read more on these issues.


6.1 Publications and resources

>> Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Justice: A Comparative Law Casebook, published by the International Comission of Jurists

>> Prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among MSM and transgender people, a public health recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO)

>> What are the connections? Overview and Literature Review, launched by Sida

>> State-sponsored Homophobia – A world survey of laws criminalising same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults, organized by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)

>> Rape and sexual violence: Human rights law and standards in the International Criminal Court, organized by Amnesty International

>> The eighth issue of Sexuality Health and Society – Latin American Journal, published by Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights (CLAM)

Read more at Publications and resources


6.2 Our books and reports

>> The e-book Sexualidade e Política na América Latina: histórias, interseções e paradoxos (in English Sexuality and Politics in Latin America: Histories, Intersections, Paradoxes), launched by SPW

>> The report Sexuality and Development: Brazilian National Response to HIV/AIDS amongst Sex Workers, organized by SPW and Abia

Read more at Our books and reports


6.3 Papers and articles

>> The National Geographic magazine is doing a series of reports on the 7 billion people in the world. Contents on the population in India and Bangladesh have already been presented and now is the time of Brazil, with the article Brazil’s Girl Power.

>> Read the articles After ‘Amina’: Thoughts From Cairo – OpEd, by Scott Long, and Free speech is a gateway crime, published at, both on the controversial case of the A Gay Girl in Damascus blog and the role of the internet and ICTs for LGBTI people.

Read more at Papers and articles


6.4 Relevant links

>> LGBT Asylum News

>> Colombia diversa

>> The Naked Anthropologist – Laura Agustín on Migration, Trafficking and Sex

Read more at Relevant links

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