Sexuality Policy Watch

Sexual politics in May 2016

borta machismoAs the Brazilian crisis continues unfolding it gets increasingly intricate with gender and sexuality politics. Read Sonia Corrêa and Fábio Grotz report on what happened in May and the first days of June.

A financial crisis is underway at the Inter-American Human Rights System. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) announced the loss of 40% of its staff as well the suspension of country visits and sessions scheduled for the period July – October. The IACHR has, in recent years, performed remarkable work in relation to gender equality, sexual orientation & gender identity, and abortion rights from a solid intersectional perspective. The crisis should therefore be a matter of concern for those engaged in these various fields.

But there are good news to report. A very relevant one is, for example, that Amnesty International has publicly released its final policy on the protection of sex work rights. The announcement includes four country reports — Argentina, Hong Kong, Norway and Papua New Guinea – as well as an interactive map that offers information on other countries’ legislation and sex workers’ experience with violence and discrimination. No major controversies ensued, as it happened when the policy was announced in July – August 2015.

In regards to LGBT rights, the Seychelles parliament has passed an amendment to its penal code decriminalizing sodomy. A similar move occurred in Nauru, where the reformed penal code now defines that same sex sexual relations is not a crime, even when this small island state is facing other difficult challenges in relation to human rights. In Denmark, the health minister declared that if the World Health Organization (WHO) does not conclude the revision and change of International Classification of Diseases, the ICD, by October, the Danish state will de-pathologize trans identities.

But, in this domain, the most relevant process to be reported is the one underway in the UN Human Rights Council where the LAC Group 5 – formed by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay – announced the decision to submit to the Council a resolution proposing the creation of the mandate of an independent expert to discuss violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI-OSIG). The proposal is supported by several  international networks that defend the rights LGBTTI as ILGA, Arc International and Human Rights Watch as well as regional networks. But it has also triggered questions and debates. In the last days of May, the African Lesbian Coalition (CAL) made public their opposition to an exclusive mandate OSGI, calling UN Human Rights System to adopt a broader sexual rights perspective to respond to the violations perpetrated against people whose sexuality and gender expression do not conform with dominant societal norms. In Latin America, Collective Akahatá issued an informative note discussing the initiative taken by the LAC 5 countries and sharing its vision on the matter and, in first week of June, the Sexual Rights Initiative has circulated its position also questioning the creation of an exclusive mandate. This is a very debate to be closely followed between June and September when eventually the LAC 5 resolution will be presented and debated by the HRC plenary.

We recommend

Papers and articles

ISIS and Women: A STATUS/Conversation with Rafia Zakaria – Jadaliyya

Where are we heading? A Bangladeshi feminist’s reflections: Khushi Kabir – Kafila

The psycho-medical case against a gender incongruence of childhood diagnosis, by The Lancet’

Telling women to avoid pregnancy is not a solution for HIV and the Zika virus, by The Guardian

Malta’s abortion ban: ‘I’m not a criminal. I’m a loving mother’, by Euronews

Publications and resources

Where do we go from here? A call for critical reflection on queer/LGBTIA+ activism in Africa, by Liesl Theron, John McAllister and Mariam Armisen on Pambazuka New

Queer Crossings: a participatory arts based project

TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly’s new issue “Trans/Feminisms”

A Community Guide to the Global Fund’s SOGI Strategy, by Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination for Anglophone Africa

DAWN’s Regional Advocacy Tools on SRHR for Cairo@20

Mapping & appraisal of HIV prevention and care interventions for men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Check it out

Call for Papers on Sexualities, Language, and International Politics

Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research‘s call for papers: The Geographies of Bodies and Borders

Art and sexuality

Sex Worker Zine Project

Luiza Prado: Memories of Violence

Sino-Soviet “Friendship”: postcards from the 1950’s

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