Sexuality Policy Watch

Sexual politics in August 2016


In August, the Rio Olympic Games provided a privileged stage for the critical observing of gender and sexuality performances. Several SPW partners positively and generously responded to our invitation to share their views on this peculiar scene. Fernando Seffner, for example, wrote the article Rio 2016: the “Sexual Games”? that glances over sexuality at large. Laura Molinari Alonso and Jimena de Garay Hernández, the UFRJ Prostitution Policy Watch’s research team and Leonardo Peçanha looked at female sexuality, the sex work landscape and trans presence/absence in the Games, respectively.  We thank them all for these contributions. Sonia Corrêa in her up-date of Brazilian sexual politics The ‘sexual games’ are over: what’s next? departs from this body and sexual exuberance and its paradoxes, as analyzed by these contributors, and then briefly examined the somber post Games scenario.

Also in August, in neighboring Colombia, now traversing a complex peace negotiation between the state and FARC, ‘gender ideology’ sparked a flaring polemic.  In July SPW has published in Spanish an article by Franklin Gil Hernandez on sexual politics in Colombia titled Sexual justice and political culture in Colombia, which is now translated into English and this version includes post-script that analyzes the conditions surrounding the polemic.

At the global level, a major victory is to be reported at  the Belize Supreme Court, which struck down the section of the Criminal Code defining same-sex intimacy as “against the order of nature”. The decision, triggered by a lawsuit led by activist Caleb Orozco, was duly celebrated worldwide.

In contrast, violence and repression against LGBT persons made the headlines in other countries. In Uganda, the police raided a LGBT Pride and arrested several activist, who were submitted to humiliation and beating (check here). In Turkey, the brutal murder of the trans and sex worker activist Hande Kader sparked outrage as reported here and here.

But two positive news on reproductive rights must be highlighted in the global South. The government of the Philippines — following a recommendation from CEDAW — finally announced the full implementation of Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, aimed at widening women’s access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education and maternal care.  In Brazil, a lawsuit was presented to the Supreme Court by the National Association of Public Defenders calling for the promotion and protection of women’s and children’s rights in the context of Zika virus epidemic and the petition includes the right to abortion for women undergoing mental health suffering.

An August 2016 hot topic in gender/sexuality global debates was the ban of burkinis by few municipalities in Southern France.  Before and after having been suspended by the Conseil dÉtat these local ordinances triggered a substantive trail of articles, posts and memes criticizing the top down method of the municipalities, mapping the Islamophobic trait of the policies and broaden feminist analyses in regard to state control of women’s bodies. SPW has compiled few of these insightful pieces.

Last but not least, SPW welcomes and celebrates the 13th AWID International Forum: “Feminist Future: building collective power for human rights and justice” that will be held in Bahia between 8 and 11 September. The event that brings together hundreds of feminist activists and researchers from all continents will be a cornerstone of local and global feminist struggles. It happens in Brazil at a crucial moment of resistance to the conservative restoration underway. Be welcome.

We recommend

Papers and Articles

Paul Amar review of Cynthia Weber article and book Plural Global Perversions and Curious International Relations 

Transatlantic Gender Crossings, Introduction to the new issue of #differences, edited by Anne Emmanuelle Berger and Éric Fassin

A Fight for Visibility, In Addition to Access to Health Care, by Betania Santos and Laura Murray on The New York Times

Sexuality health, sexual and reproductive rights and the Internet – Arrow and Tactical Tech

Literature Review of LGBT Youth in Pakistan, by NAZ Pakistan

Gay and Transgender Egyptians, Surveilled and Entrapped, Are Driven UndergroundNew York Times

Why (chemical) castration will not end gender and sexuality based violence in Indonesia, by Priliantina Bebasari on Institute of Development Studies

Why Transgender People In Japan Prefer To Be Told They Have A “Disorder” – Buzzfeed

Body shaming is an intersex issue – Oii Australia

Uprooting Whorephobia: Why We Must Change the Stigma of Sex Work – by Pluma Sumaq, on The body is not an apology 

Meet the ‘Feminists’ Doing the Koch Brothers’ Dirty WorkThe Nation

Why don’t humanitarian organizations provide safe abortion services?, by Therese McGinn, Sara E. Casey

Publications and resources

Sri Lanka’s report: Discrimination on Grounds of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, by Human Rights Watch

Report: ‘These Political Games Ruin Our Lives’: Indonesia’s LGBT Community Under Threat’, by Human Rights Watch

South Africa: Police Abuse of Sex Workers, data from cases reported to the Women’s Legal Centre between 2011 and 2015

ILGA’s LGBT weekly bulletin (August 26 – September 1, 2016)

IACHR’s Report “Violence against LGBTI Persons in the Americas”

Check it out

Call for Papers: Reproductive Health Matter n. 49 – Disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Sexuality and Art

Barbara Wagner: bodies as they are

Desacralizing: Paula Rego’s ‘Abortion Pastels’

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