identity

arvan's picture

Photo Exhibit of trafficking survivors - Pain To Power

[via Neww Polska]

Trafficked women redraw their portraits with a new identity through the lens of photographer Achinto Bhadra.  Hemlata Aithani captures the metamorphosis.

From brothels to mainstream, it has been a journey of transformation captured through the lens — the journey of 126 young women rescued from the red light areas in Kolkata and rehabilitated. Capturing their metamorphosis from ‘pain to power’, as they portrayed themselves in characters they could identify with, was acclaimed photographer Achinto Bhadra. At an exhibition organised at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi, he displayed 50 out of the 126 portraits he had created.

While the striking compositions, colour, costumes, make-up, expressions and captions made each portrait captivating, the exhibition for the most part was about the successful reintegration of the young subjects into society; their newly-gained independence; their determination to start life afresh; and how they see themselves and what they identify with.

The photographs were part of a project that began five years ago by the Kolkata-based NGO, Sanlaap, with support from Terre Des Hommes Foundation, Switzerland. “Sanlaap has been working for the past 21 years against the trafficking of girls and women... working with girls rescued from brothels.... and children of commercial sex workers and helping them to come back to main society,” says Indrani Sinha, director, Sanlaap.

arvan's picture

Words That are Transphobic and Why

Transphobia: A reaction of fear, loathing, and discriminatory treatment of people whose identity or gender presentation (or perceived gender or gender identity) does not “match,” in the societally accepted way, the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgendered people, intersex people, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and other non-monosexuals are typically the target of transphobia.

Click here to download the Words That are Transphobic and Why poster. Feel free to print and display it in your office, classroom, or room to remind everyone to be more conscientious of the words we use in our everyday interactions.

arvan's picture

Call for applications to the CSBR Sexuality Institute

Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR)

III. CSBR Sexuality Institute 2010

18-25 September 2010, Jakarta, Indonesia

***Deadline for Applications: May 21, 2010***

The Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR) is pleased to announce the 3rd CSBR Sexuality Institute 2010 to be held between September 18th and 25th 2010 in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Designed as a comprehensive curriculum on sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights with an in depth discussion on the linkages between research and practice, the CSBR Sexuality Institute offers a holistic interdisciplinary program combining history, theory, research and politics of sexuality with applications of advocacy, and fieldwork.
 
The CSBR Sexuality Institute brings together leading leading sexual and reproductive rights activists, academics and researchers. Held previously in Malaysia (2008) and Turkey (2009) with participants from 19 countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the institutes include lectures, group work, roundtables, panels, site visits and film screenings, as well as a methodology to engage participants’ own experiences around sexuality.

Background

“I would summarize the experience I had at the CSBR Institute in one word - that is: LIBERATING. The novelty of this [CSBR’s] discourse in our socio-cultural context is certainly one important aspect, but more importantly, the silence that our society harbors around sexuality has become so “normal” that we often forget how integral it is to our existence and well-being.”  (Mahrukh Mouhiddin, BRAC University – Bangladesh, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2008).
 
“In one sentence; the Institute has shown me that sexuality is not only about problems, ill-being and repercussion; it is also about pleasure, happiness, well being and CHANGE” (Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls – Pakistan, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2009).

The realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights is an integral part of gender equality, development and social justice. However, sexuality continues to be a contested site of political struggles both in Muslim societies and across the globe. Increasing global militarism, conservatism, and nationalism over the last decades provoked a serious backlash on sexual and reproductive health and rights, both at national and global levels. Given the current polarizations, it is more pertinent than ever to strengthen critical insight, further research, enhance knowledge and capacity on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and build an inclusive and affirmative discourse on sexuality.
 
Aim

In the above mentioned context, the aims of the CSBR Sexuality Institute are:

To further knowledge on the multi-dimensional and intersecting aspects of sexuality, health and rights;

To develop a deeper theoretical understanding of sexuality through a historical overview and analysis of current debates and research at the global level;

To  provide a comprehensive and holistic understanding of sexuality in Muslim societies through a discussion of the history, legal frameworks, research, and current discourses;

To enhance participants’ sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy skills on national and international levels;

To increase participants’ capacity as leading advocates, practitioners and researchers on sexuality issues at national, regional and international levels.

“In face of the rise of the so called fundamentalism or hard line Islamic revivalism, the Institute gave me the basic paradigm to see and analyze how we take position in order to challange the repression.” (Dwi Ayu, Komnas Perempuan – Indonesia, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2008).

“I have never been to anything this exhaustive and detailed. It shed light on the intersections between religion, sexuality, health, the terminology and bodily rights. I learned more about the international arena and how to use it to advance your case. It was very instrumental for me both at the personal and professional level, basically shaping the way I will address my work.”  (Joelle Hatem, MEEM – Lebanon, CSBR Sexuality Institute 2009).

arvan's picture

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves - Call for Contributions

Project Overview

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a resource guide for the transgender population, covering health, legal issues, cultural and social questions, history, theory, and more. It is a place for transgender and gender-questioning people, their partners and families, students, professors, guidance counselors, and others to look for up-to-date information on transgender life. Each chapter will be written by a separate transgender or genderqueer author, but to provide consistency of layout, message and tone, authors will be given guidelines and will work closely with the editor. The book will be aimed at a general transgender and gender-questioning audience, and when using complicated language, will provide definitions and explanations.

The tone will be friendly and fun, and will promote trans-positive, feminist and genderqueer advocacy. Included in each section will be anonymous quotes from everyday transgender people, who will be interviewed and also surveyed electronically, so that their voices are heard throughout. Short opinion pieces and testimonials (1-2 pages long) will also be included in each chapter.  Finally, each chapter will contain references to resources such as books, movies, and organizations related to the chapter’s topic.

Annabelle River's picture

The Privilege of Not Defending Oneself

I've lately felt an unfortunate pressure to defend polyamory again (with apologies to etymologists).  I usually ignore the judgments of the uninformed, but then there's the friend of a friend who may or may not have been joking when she scoffed that she'd never let me near her boyfriend.  And the polyamory-focused indie film that's actually all about how it's kooky and doomed.  And the absolutist, all-caps-laced rant on the usually sex-positive The Stranger blog with profound metaphors like "such idiotic bullshit" and questions like, "Ever wonder why they all will fuck any damn thing that will hold still long enough?"  So I could use my blog to paraphrase all the same points of The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, and Polyamory Weekly.  But they're already making the crafted argument/explanation pretty well.  My personal version is mostly sentimental: I love two people.

And I remember one poly-book-club meeting where someone suggested we all go around the table and tell everyone "why" we're poly.  It irritated me, because it had nothing to do with the book we'd read, and do monogamous people ever go around a table explaining why they're monogamous?  I politely listened to the chain of people paraphrasing The Ethical Slut, and I didn't disagree with any of it, except that I had to wonder about the poly community's talking-about-our-feelings fetish.  When it got to me, I simply stated, "I'm in love with two people.  I don't want to lie to either of them.  ...That's it, really."

arvan's picture

Chilean Custody Decision Violated Lesbian Judge's Rights

By Daniela Estrada

SANTIAGO, Apr 9, 2010 (IPS) - The attorneys representing Chilean Judge Karen Atala, a lesbian who brought her case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights claiming discrimination in the loss of custody of her three daughters, accused the Chilean state of sending out "unequivocal" signals of a lack of will to implement the regional body's recommendations.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a Washington-based Organisation of American States (OAS) body, found that "the Chilean state violated Karen Atala's right to live free from discrimination," and issued recommendations.

But Supreme Court chief magistrate Milton Juica said Thursday that he would not join the working group proposed by the government to comply with the suggestions issued in February.

"The courts do not discriminate in any way," Juica said, referring to the case. "We are not going to take part in any working group."

Although the government of right-wing President Sebastián Piñera said it accepted the IACHR's recommendations, Juica's remarks are "an unequivocal signal of the state's lack of will" to live up to them, said Jorge Contesse, director of the private Diego Portales University's (UDP) human rights centre.

In a May 2004 decision, the Supreme Court stripped Atala of custody of her three daughters because she was living with her lesbian partner, Emma de Ramón, a history professor.

In so doing, the Court overturned the rulings of two lower courts that had granted her custody after she separated from her husband, who is also a judge.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Kink bloggers open thread: how do you feel about BDSM blogging?

A while back I wrote a post called Where Are All The Male Dominant Bloggers?, because I didn’t feel like there are very many male dominant bloggers out there. I recently discovered that before my post, Thomas over at Yes Means Yes wrote one called Where Are The Women Tops? Where Are The Men Bottoms? Which just goes to show.

So you know what I think we need? A Kink Bloggers Open Thread! If you know about an awesome BDSM blogger, post ‘em. If you yourself are a BDSM blogger, post about that. Any gender, sex, orientation, whatever is welcome. If you feel like adding any special details, you can talk about what you like best about the blog(s) you’re posting.

Also, I would love to have some cross-talk on the following Exciting Questions!

1) Do you have any frustrations about kink blogging?
1a) Are there any topics you’re nervous about or afraid of posting about? Why?

2) Do you think you have weaknesses as a kink blogger?

3) Hey, what do you actually like about being a kink blogger?

4) Do you blog under your real name? How many people who know you in the mainstream world know about your blog?

5) Got any questions you want to ask other kink bloggers?

(Posted at Clarisse Thorn)

arvan's picture

Survey For Southern Transgender Folks

This survey is intended for individuals who identify under the Trans umbrella who currently or once resided in the South. If this is not you, please exit and forward this on to a Southern friend.

Hi, my name is BT and I am a trans man of color who's a part of a Southern Regional LGBTQ organization called SONG [Southerners On New Ground] (www.southernersonnewground.org) and I am working to gather data that is reflective of the conditions and needs of trans people who currently reside (or lived for any period of time) in the South.

If you fit that criteria it would be greatly appreciated if you took a few minutes to answer the survey that asks 3 questions around conditions and ask for 3 solutions to address them. This information will be compiled in hopes of helping to amplify the voices of Southern trans people and coming up with either ONE main resonating issue or a few equal issues that could be presented in June to the USSF in Detroit (www.ussf2010.org) as a part of a People's Movement Assembly (PMA) where a larger discussion will take place across other social justice causes. This People's Movement Assembly works to let the forum know the concerns/needs/desires of trans people in the South and ask those in attendance and beyond to join US in the ongoing work towards the resolution(s) of the presented issue(s).

For purposes of this survey the Southeast states are: (Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida)

The deadline to submit this survey is: May 10th, 2010.

Click here to take survey!.

You can help promote this cause by filling out the survey (if you fit the criteria) and passing it to others who also fit the criteria.

Email (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8TPC8PS) and add (Click here to take survey) friendly link to your FACEBOOK, web pages and other networks you might be a part of.

NOTE: This survey is totally anonymous, no names / email addresses are required. All demographic information is for the gathering of concrete data that gives us an idea to what our community looks like and is concerned about. You may provide your email address in any of the boxes below to obtain the decided action plan results from this survey. We assure you that we will not associate any names / email addresses with any comments & feedback shared on this survey unless we are given explicit permission to do so.

I thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

BT

(via TransTalk)

arvan's picture

Organisation Intersex International Position Statement on Genital Cutting

Organisation Intersex International Position Statement on Genital Cutting

Intersex refers to atypical internal and/or external anatomical sexual characteristics, where features usually regarded as male or female may be mixed to some degree. This is a naturally occurring variation in humans. From the late 1950's onwards, starting in the USA, intersex infants and children were increasingly subject to cosmetic surgeries intended to ensure that their genital appearance and internal gonads conformed to that usually expected for their assigned gender. This also tended to entail hormone treatments aimed at conforming them to those associated with being "male" or "female."

From the early 1990’s to the present day, hundreds of intersex adults have come forward to say that they regard these medical practices as being extremely harmful to them, both physically and psychologically. Despite this high level of dissatisfaction, there has been little follow-up of adults who were treated this way as children, so without any clear understanding of outcomes, there is no real evidence upon which to justify this approach. On the contrary, the little evidence there is suggests that physiologically, functional outcome is poor. A study conducted in England of intersex people who electively chose to undergo such surgery as adults revealed that the large majority were dissatisfied; treatments resulted in physical pain and diminished sexual response, and were not able to provide them with the sense of normalcy which they hoped for.

There is no evidence that intersex variations alone will negatively impact the quality of life of the individuals who have them, nor that "normalizing" medical treatments are a solution. What evidence there is suggests the opposite; intersex adults who have not received unnecessary medical intervention have said they feel lucky to have "escaped" such treatments. They lack the psychological trauma from treatments imposed on others, and report satisfaction with their sexual response and their unique physical attributes. Such treatment is often justified from the assumption that intersex children and/or adults will be subjected to discriminatory behaviour because of their bodily differences; however, this is not necessarily correct, because their differences are sometimes only evident when naked, or not evident visually at all. Where differences are visible, this is no different than the situation of people from other minority groups. The solution to such challenges is not to alter the characteristics themselves, but to combat the prejudicial attitudes that stigmatise.

Cosmetic surgery on intersex genitals appears to harm intersex infants, children, and even adults, yet it still persists. As with male circumcision, it is often driven by parental desire to provide their children with bodies that conform to certain beliefs about how genitals should be. Also, the presumption that atypical sex anatomy will result in atypical sexual orientation and/or gender identity, homophobia and a fear of atypical gender presentation are seen by some intersex people as the motivation driving these surgeries. In many societies today, gender expression and sexual orientation are seen as a human right, and this is recognised by the UN. Performing unnecessary surgeries on infants and children in order to influence adult sexual orientation and/or gender identity outcomes should be seen as a human rights abuse. There is no evidence that sexual orientation or gender identity are affected by genital surgery one way or the other.

We seek recognition that all humans have the right to autonomy over their own bodies, including their genitals etc. Because infants and children are too young to assert their autonomy, they should not be subjected to unnecessary surgeries which may irrevocably harm them, and which they may not have chosen as adults. We recognise that cases requiring medical treatment for the maintenance of health or preservation of life should be managed as with any other situation where a child needs treatment. Intersex infants and children should be raised without cosmetic surgery and/or steroidal hormones until they are old enough to decide for themselves whether they wish to undergo these procedures and treatments or not.

We recommend avoidance of genital cutting, where possible, until a child can fully participate in decision making. This would be worked towards through communication between parents of intersex children, the children themselves, intersex adults, support groups, and clinicians who are sensitive to the needs of the child. Counselling should be available for those affected by the situation, to ensure they are fully informed and equipped to make the best decisions. Wider education about intersex as a human variation is also necessary; the cultural anxiety and social pressure that encourage surgery, hormone therapy and physical conformity need to be addressed. Through a process that includes education, communication, and counselling, then public shame will decrease, along with a reduction of cultural anxiety and social pressure, ultimately allowing people the liberty to maintain autonomy over their own bodies.

arvan's picture

1st International Sex and/or Gender Diversity Day: 26 April

 

(via The Scavenger)

The first International Sex and/or Gender Diversity Day has been declared 26 April and will be an awareness day and celebration of the existence or sex and/or gender diverse people, writes Tracie O’Keefe.

Sex and/or gender diverse people are encouraged to have picnics, tea parties, festivals or gatherings in their part of the world, inviting their family, friends and allies to join them.

We will be visible in all our sex and/or gender variations. It is for all intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgendered, androgynous, without sex and gender identity, cross-dressers, sex and gender fluid, transqueers, genderqueers, etc.

It is a day to have a picnic, tea party, gathering or festival wherever you are. In my 1999 book Sex Gender and Sexuality: 21st Century Transformations my research calculated that at least 1% of the world’s population is sex and/or gender diverse.

OK – so many of us who are sex and/or gender diverse are scary to the masses because we are out there being visible, but the majority are stealth, invisible and often live with shame thrust upon them by ignorance or trying to evade an over-controlling medicalisation of their identities and prejudice.

When I was 15, Kevin B, the boy I grew up next door to, told me his mother expressly did not want him speaking to me because she was afraid I was dangerous.

I did have very high hair, one-foot high platforms and more make-up and fashion accessories than most department stores, plus a boyfriend on one arm, girlfriend on the other and was registered at school as a boy – admittedly in 1970 that was probably a bit frightening to the public. I was never one for half measures.

Nowadays I’m more likely to shop in K-Mart and be found peering through a microscope. I don’t stick out in crowd (apart from my red hennaed hair), so I’m just your plain old intersex, transexed sort of girl. But the law still prevents me from having all the same rights as someone who was registered as their lived sex at birth.

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