Asia: Regional Dialogue on Sexuality and Geopolitics
The overview paper by Dédé Oetomo focused on waria in Indonesia. Waria are men who change their gender in ways that challenge dominant social norms. However, within this broad definition there is considerable variation in waria identity. Some waria are more feminine, modifying their bodies through hormone use or sex-reassignment (legalized in 1973). Others are more masculine or “closeted” (they only cross-dress for pageants). Some waria never cross-dress. The boundaries between waria and other identities are not sharply defined. Not all men who dress in drag (gay or straight) identify as waria; similarly, not all men in relationships with waria identify as waria. Transgendering in Indonesia is definitely contextualized.
Waria have been officially recognized by the state since the 1960s when the New Political Order was established after the dictatorship. At that time, the newly formed Council of Islamic Clerics was asked to make a ruling on men undergoing sexual reassignment procedures. As this ruling was being considered, the government created the name waria to replace previous, more derogatory labels that had been used to identify this group. However, state recognition has not ensured the safety or social acceptance of waria. Contradictory as it may seem, especially after democratization in 1998, waria have become regular targets of militia violence (the militia harassed anyone who could pay a fine). Also as a result of the decentralization that followed, conservative Islamic political forces have gained strength at local levels, which also triggers discrimination and repression, as in the case of Aceh where Shari’a law has been imposed. Waria also face barriers when accessing health services and in the labor market.
The first short paper by Pimpawan Boonmongkon looked at the multiple identities of women living with HIV in Thailand. In Thai society, “good” women only have sex within marriage. Women with HIV, however, challenge this norm by developing multiple, short-term monogamous relationships. They also attach new meanings to sex, such as desire, personal satisfaction, revenge, love and duty. Despite moral judgments, some HIV-positive women exercise their rights to have children (although they have limited rights in terms of custody). In sum, the politics of identity for women living with HIV affords them a new sense of agency but also puts them at risk for HIV re-infection and limits their access to sexual health and rights. Future HIV policies should recognize that women have diverse identities that impact their lives and that these identities change over the life course.
The second short paper by Khartini Slamah discussed the disjunctions between “transgender” as a concept and a lived reality. As a concept, there are certain assumptions (e.g., a transgender person is a drag queen, transvestite, gay man, LGBT or MSM). The lived reality of being transgender challenges such categories and their assumptions. Being transgender also means that a number of fundamental human rights continue to be unmet (including rights to housing, employment, health and having a voice). Transgenders need a space to say who they are and what they want; these are not special rights but equal rights.
To read the SPW report in full, click here: http://www.sxpolitics.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/asia_dialogue_hanoi_final_report_april_2009.pdf
- Indonesia lawmakers drop plan for schoolgirl virginity tests after uproar
- The triple whammy: towards the eclipse of women’s rights
- Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win 2014 Nobel peace prize
- WLUML Board Member Karima Bennoune Wins Dayton Literature Peace Prize
- Sunila Abeysekera Commemoration: Speech by Nimalka Fernando
- On May 28, International Day of Action for Women’s Health, Women’s Rights Defenders Mobilize Worldwide Calling for the Inclusion of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
- WLUML Stands With Nigerian LGBT People, And All Persecuted For Their Sexuality Worldwide
- STATEMENT FROM ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS IN SOLIDARITY WITH FEMALE EGYPTIAN ACTIVISTS
- Universality Of Human Rights At Stake! Act Now To Oppose Russian Resolution On Traditional Values!
- Rights Must Be At the Center of the Family Planning Summit: Civil Society Declaration
- WLUML Gazette, 14th Edition at the end of 2014
- WLUML Annual Report 2013
- Feminist Movement Builder's Dictionary
- Influences of Religious Fundamentalism on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women
- Violence against Women in the context of Political Transformations and Economic Crisis in the Euro-Mediterranean Region: