Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What's Law Got to Do with It?
- Edited Collection from an international symposium organised by the Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme. Many of those involved in this publication are directly involved in and affected by the issues to which the Edited Collection’s title speaks.
- It explores different processes by which activists and other actors have worked for change, interrogates what we mean when we talk about ‘solidarity’, and questions the usefulness and place of law.
- This Collection offers multiple routes to sexuality and gender justice and numerous suggestions of what sexuality and gender justice could be in a plurality of contexts.
- It suggests that there are many potential pitfalls and barriers to justice or progress.
This Edited Collection came out of an international symposium organised by the Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme. Many of those involved in this publication are directly involved in and affected by the issues to which the Edited Collection’s title speaks. From activists working with women in Assam’s tea gardens in India or young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders in Vietnam, to lawyers fighting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda or the criminalisation of cross-dressing in Malaysia, to academics carefully re-reading Islamic Sharia or researchers assessing HIV prevention programmes in South Africa, the contributors to this Collection have first-hand knowledge and experience of the complexities of gender, sexuality and social justice.
The increased legalisation of processes by which sexual, sexuality and gender justice is sought requires interrogation and careful scrutiny and, as the contributions in this collection show, the law is often an imperfect tool for achieving meaningful justice. Yet it is in these important and complex conversations that the scope for future action becomes tangible. In exploring different processes by which activists and other actors have worked for change, in interrogating what we mean when we talk about ‘solidarity’, and in questioning the usefulness and place of law, a picture of a complex but vibrant field of action for sexuality and gender justice begins to emerge. This Collection offers multiple routes to sexuality and gender justice and numerous suggestions of what sexuality and gender justice could be in a plurality of contexts. It also suggests that there are many potential pitfalls and barriers to justice or progress.
Case Study: Livelihood, Exclusion and Opportunity: Socioeconomic Welfare among Gender and Sexuality Non-normative People in India
- Facilitate awareness-generation sessions on psycho-social, medical and legal processes involved in feminisation/masculinisation (gender identity change, sexual reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy) for transgender people
- Facilitate continuing initiatives that train and handhold people in negotiating the rules and regulations (paperwork) in applying for and accessing social security schemes, including timely follow-up
- Support community discourse42 on issues of gender, sexuality and human rights to generate awareness and address self-stigma among people with non-normative genders and sexualities through community meetings/events/other forums
This case study explores the socioeconomic experiences of gender and sexuality minority peoples in India, especially in respect of ways in which sexual and gender ‘difference’ may be correlated to economic hardship and restricted opportunities for livelihood in the context of Indian socioeconomic ‘modernity’. Growth of economic opportunity through neoliberal models of economic expansion is typically achieved via the extension of economic opportunity for some people amidst the endurance of ongoing socioeconomic precarity for most others.
The report considers these issues in the context of livelihood, poverty, economic opportunity and restraint in the lives of gender and sexuality non-conforming people in India, with a specific focus on the eastern Indian states of Odisha and Manipur. These sites were chosen because in the last five years they have been among the states that have witnessed a number of community, government, non-governmental organisation and donor-backed initiatives undertaken on economic inclusion for people with non-normative genders and sexualities.
Policy Audit: A heteronormativity audit of RMSA - a higher education programme in Indian schools
- Fears about sexuality are a key reason for parents withdrawing girls from secondary education. This includes fears about girls' expressing their desires as well as fears about sexual violence.
- The only place where sexuality is addressed in the examinable curriculum is through human reproduction in science textbooks. Evidence suggests that this is often taught inadequately as teachers feel inhibited and lack the skills to deliver the content appropriately.
This report shares the findings of a sexuality and gender audit of a national government programme to strengthen secondary school education in India (ie the last four years of schooling).
The programme is titled the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), a scheme for universalisation of access to and improvement of quality at the secondary stage. Since universalisation of elementary education has become a constitutional mandate, the goal of the RMSA scheme is to achieve universal secondary education.
Its vision is to make quality education available and affordable to all young persons aged 14–18. RMSA aims to enhance access, quality and equity as they relate to secondary education, with a focus on marginalised young people such as girls, Dalits, Muslims and those who have disabilities.
This report contributes to a new and emerging area of knowledge – and demonstrates how development policy and programme audits through the lens of sexuality and gender can be undertaken. This is an important and challenging area because, as we see in the case of RMSA, development policies and programmes tend not even to mention the word 'sexuality', while being replete with constructions of sexuality and with implicit or explicit messages about the need to be disciplined and to control one's desires. Such messages conflict with ground-level realities and have grave implications for the lives of those who are seen to break sexual and gender norms.