arvan's picture

New report: Hivos’ role in LGBT emancipation in Southern Africa

Hivos, the Humanist Institute for Development Co-operation, is a secular organisation whose core activities comprise of providing financial and political support to local NGOs in the global South.  Hivos also actively facilitates networking, lobbying and information sharing between and among development-related organisations.

Since the mid-1990s Hivos has supported a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) organisations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America as part of its human rights programme. This support was to further the aim of LGBT emancipation, i.e. for LGBT people to have equal access to resources, to express themselves freely as LGBT, and to participate in decision-making processes that determine their lives.

The purpose of this Programme Evaluation (PE) is to evaluate Hivos’ support to LGBT organisations and projects in the southern Africa region in answer to the question:
To what degree have Hivos’ interventions in the period 1995 – 2005 contributed to LGBT emancipation in southern Africa?

The southern African countries where Hivos has been active in this regard are Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

arvan's picture

The Women’s Movement in Russia: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

By Zoya Khotkina, Ph.D., Moscow Centre for Gender Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

1.     What does Russian feminism (as the basis for a social movement) look like?

The women’s movement in contemporary Russia exists as the social, cultural, and political activity of women’s groups and organisations, aimed at bringing together the interests of various social strata of women and bringing about a change in the system of gender relations. The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has officially registered over 600 women’s organisations. The women’s movement in Russia is one of the most active parts of the Third Section Movement, encompassing approximately 10% of the most active NGOs.

To understand the originality of the contemporary Russian women’s movement, and to distinguish it from Western feminism, it is essential to give at least a brief overview of its historical roots. I shall present only the main theses on this issue and shall state a few historical fact and instances.

Thesis one

Russian feminism (as a theory) and women’s movement (as practice) were not “imported” to Russia from the West; rather than that, they had a deep historical tradition, dating back to the mid-19th century. This means that Russian feminism is over one hundred and fifty years old, rather than fifteen, as argued by some Russian and Western specialists. Russia has had two great waves of feminism:

    * the first wave – from the mid-19th century until 1930 and
    * the second wave – from the late 1980s to the present.

arvan's picture

CALL FOR PAPERS: “The Ethics of State Involvement in Women’s Health”

How do the laws and policies of a nation-state affect women's health?  Is the state invested in these issues because women are seen to be bearers and nurturers of future citizens?  Or are there are other concerns such as economic development, human welfare, or religious ideology that shape this engagement?  What are the current and historical responsibilities of the state in addressing women’s health issues?  How can they be measured and improved upon, and how do we approach the underlying ethical issues in practical and useful ways for women around the globe?

The USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, USC Center for International Studies, and the USC Institute for Global Health are co-hosting a symposium on Monday, April 5, 2010 to address these and related questions.  This multidisciplinary event will bring together participants from international relations, global public health, philosophy, gender and women’s studies, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, economics, psychology, and political science.  Travel awards are available to all selected participants.

Conference co-chairs:

Alison Dundes Renteln, Ph.D, J.D., Professor of Political Science &
Anthropology, USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Jonathan M. Samet, M.D., M.S., Director, USC Institute for Global Health,
Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine,
Keck School of Medicine

arvan's picture

Save the date! 12th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development

The AWID International Forum on Women's Rights and Development is the largest event of its kind. Held every three years, the Forum brings together women's rights leaders, donor agencies, development practitioners, grassroots leaders and activists from around the world to strategize, network, celebrate, and learn.

We are excited to announce that the 12th AWID Forum will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in late 2011.

The Forum is a key space for women’s movements around the world to strategise, renew, re-energise and develop innovative solutions to pressing women’s rights issues. We very much hope you will join us there.

More information on the 12th AWID Forum will be available in the coming months on so please visit the site regularly for the latest updates but for now, please save the date!

arvan's picture

Beyond the Blue Sky: LGBT Art Exhibit from Mongolia

January though April

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center

208 West 13th Street (between 7th and 8th Aves)

New York, New York 10011

Entrance is FREE and open to the public, so feel free to bring anyone and everyone! Contact Brandt Miller with any questions at

Mongolia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have long been misunderstood and rejected in Mongolian society. Ignorance, misunderstanding and intolerance have led to widespread prejudice, discrimination and violence.  Fear of persecution on simply the basis of one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity has forced many members of the LGBT community to hide their true selves, thereby becoming an invisible presence in a hostile world.  However underground the community may be, it is nonetheless a vibrant one, full of hope, passion, dreams, and a burning desire to one day gain acceptance and recognition.  They are your friends, your colleagues, your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.  They share the same goals, the same loves, the same triumphs, the same heartaches.

This exhibition gives visibility to this largely hidden group within our society, to allow them to articulate their life struggles through the medium of art. It is the first time in this country’s history that such an exhibition has been held, and it would not have been possible without the collaboration of the local LGBT community, contributions from national and international artists, and support from countless individuals committed to social change.

arvan's picture

Straight for Equality: Advice column contest

I received an email from a Facebook group that I follow.  The group, Straight for Equality is focused on building understanding and advocacy among "straight" identified persons in their relations with LGBT communities and individuals.

One of their staff received an advice column type of request.  She posted it to their facebook community.  Many folks have posted their responses on Straight for Equality's fb page.  I replied by email and I don't know if anyone else did.  The instructions state that responses should be posted at their discussion board, so I suggest you do that at the very least.

Here is the letter from Straight for Equality, including the request from their reader:

Dear Straight for Equality supporters,

The Straight for Equality Facebook group is a forum where people can come to get support, exchange ideas, and connect with other allies, and it’s been a great success thanks to all of you.

To kick off the New Year, we have a special Straight for Equality challenge for you. As you know, it’s not always easy being an ally; many people have questions and need to overcome some barriers when it comes to being an out and proud ally to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community.

We recently received a question from a budding straight ally who wrote to us looking for help, and we thought that you all would be the perfect people to respond to him. So here is your challenge: the person with the best response to the question below will have their message featured on the Straight for Equality Facebook page and they will receive a special Straight for Equality Gift Pack, as well as the respect and admiration of your fellow allies.

To submit a response, go to the discussion boards and post your response under the topic “Ask an Ally January 2010” before January 20. If your response is selected as the best answer to the question, we’ll e-mail you and ask for your mailing address so you can receive your prize!

arvan's picture

Another trial for HIV transmission in Montreal: PolitiQ demands government action

In Montreal this December, a case of HIV transmission between two gay men went to trial.[1]  Beyond the doubtful aspects of the case, PolitiQ – Queers Solidaires denounces the scandalous practice of revealing the name of the accused to the press despite his right to medical confidentiality and the presumption of innocence.  This public tarring is not worthy of a democracy and raises questions on journalistic ethics.

Any form of criminalization of exposure to or sexual transmission of HIV is counterproductive and impedes efforts to encourage testing, reduce prejudice against HIV-positive people, and protect public health [2].  This is exactly why the World Health Organization, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) [3], and the International AIDS Society are firmly opposed to criminalization, in particular where proof of transmission (which requires phylogenetic tests which are not always reliable [4]), clear fraud, and lack of consent are not established. We may certainly condemn malice, an active desire to harm.  But how can we criminalize behaviour of shared responsibility, mutually agreed upon, knowing the risk?  It is incomprehensible that individuals are being charged today for sexual exposure to or transmission of HIV, when nobody responsible for the contaminated blood transfusions in the 1980s and 90s was ever criminally convicted (despite some 1,200 people infected with HIV and 12,000 with hepatitis C in Canada) [5], all the more so that it is now established that people living with HIV who undergo effective treatment have their risk of transmission vastly reduced or eliminated [6].

Mercedes Allen's picture

Risky Thinking: The Implications of Sex and Gender Minority Advocacy

(My apologies for self-quoting so much here, but this article brings together some threads made before, and therefore need to be linked)

We're experiencing an interesting moment, even if it sometimes brings heavier negative $#!t than we've ever expected.  As a transsexual during the societal coming-out of transsexuality, it's kind of one of those rare glimpses within the split second of the rite of passage from obscurity to awareness.  Of course, it's longer than a split second relative to our own lives -- gays and lesbians made this transition in the early 1970s and are still not completely past the repercussive effect -- but it's still a moment on the cusp of a revolution, where we can look forward at those who trod the path toward acceptance, and then back at those who hide in the shadows, wishing to follow.

At this moment, several different subcommunities are self-defining to the point of excluding others, sometimes vilifying and refusing to associate with them, all in the name of determining their own identity.  We've seen it before, I detailed a lot of how the transsexual vs. transgender rifts forming mimic the self-defining-to-exclusion that occurred in other minority groups in "Rocky Horror and the Holy Grail" and won't reopen that here.  But one thing I've kept hearing is about how trans is the "last great unprotected minority" and that kind of thinking boggles my mind.  Because in stepping back and looking at this from a perspective of sex and gender minorities, it seems to me that we are only just starting to come out.  And if we can't learn from those previous mistakes, we risk repeating the mistakes of the past in a tragic way.

arvan's picture

2010 Survey of Men Having Sex with Men, Living in Asia

No Names, No Faces,
Only the Sordid Details.

If you are a man who has sex with other men, or a transgendered person, we invite you to participate in our community-driven survey.  Participation is open to all those living in Asia.

It is completely anonymous - no names are recorded - and takes less than 10 minutes to finish.

The results will give us critical information in understanding why HIV and other sexually transmitted infection rates are rising so quickly in our community, and help us design better programs for you.

From January 1 to 28 February 2010.

arvan's picture

National Young Feminist Leadership Conference

Registration for FMF's 6th annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference is now open!  Join them March 20-22 to network and share feminist organizing strategies with hundreds of activists, including top feminist leaders in advocacy organizations, universities, public office, and more.

The event will be focusing on domestic and global repro rights and health, anti-abortion harassment and violence, gender-based violence, the legislative process, and other critical topics at this 2-day conference.  Then join the event staff and other attendees on  Monday 3/22 for a Congressional Day of Action and tell your members of Congress what issues are important to you!

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