Pramada Menon is a queer feminist activist who ponders about all matters she thinks are complex. When not pondering and procrastinating, she works as a consultant on issues of gender and sexuality and women’s rights, and occasionally performs Fat, Feminist and Free, a freewheeling look at body image, sexuality and life.
11th February 2015, BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Indonesian officials have dropped a plan to require female students to pass virginity tests in order to graduate from high school and apologised after sparking a public outcry, human rights campaigners said.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) today announced the publishing of its latest Dossier, Dossier 32-33: Sexualities, Culture and Society in Muslim Contexts, available in paperback hard copy and in a free online version. Extended in size due to a wealth of contributions, the Dossier is the result of collaboration by 17 authors, all leaders in women’s activism and research in Muslim contexts. It presents case studies from 11 settings: Senegal, Sudan, the East African Coast, Zanzibar, Georgia, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Jordan, Turkey and the USA. Comprised of in-depth studies and shorter factual reports, the Dossier explores how women and certain men navigate expectations and restrictions relating to sexuality and reproductive rights in their specific contexts.
To read Dossier 32-33 please download the free pdf attached or purchase the hard copy
In both Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities, the last decade has witnessed unprecedented organizing efforts by human rights defenders around sexual and reproductive rights, and produced evidence of ongoing local engagement around sexuality issues.
Yet, sexuality remains a highly contested and tightly patrolled terrain in all societies, and activists from Muslim contexts are also witnessing troubling trends that threaten previous gains, or seem indicative of a worsening climate. Such trends include the curtailing of sexual and reproductive rights and an increased policing of sexuality: there is a tendency to seek to reverse less restrictive policies or legislations; as well as widespread targeting of individuals, or even of entire groups. Those individuals or groups who bear the brunt of the criminalization of sexuality are often those whose personal circumstances, bodies, sexualities or gender appearance are deemed non-normative. Whether they are girls resisting marriage, divorced women, single women, lesbian women, teenagers who have not undergone FGM in contexts where it is the norm, or heterosexual men deemed ‘effeminate’, many face strict penalties.
TEHRAN, Iran—When Shadi Amin was growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran, she began experiencing sexual feelings toward other girls. “I thought there was something wrong with me,” she says. “I thought, maybe I should change something.” By “something,” Amin was referring not to her identity or lifestyle, but to her gender. “If I was that young girl living in Iran today, I would have considered having a sex change operation,” even though she has never identified with being male.
6th March 2014 – Ahead of the Global Day of Action against the Nigerian anti-gay laws taking place tomorrow, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) campaign express our solidarity with the LGBT people of Nigeria in resisting these laws, which contradict human rights.
As a network of Global South women’s rights activists and advocates, we have long seen the way that claims to cultural ‘authenticity’ and regressive interpretations of religion have been used to justify the violence that women suffer. The state-sanctioned persecution of LGBT people happening in Nigeria stems from the very same ideology, and uses the same ‘justifications’.
>Using case studies from Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Israel and India, Sexuality in Muslim Contexts argues that Muslim religious traditions do not necessarily lead to conservative agendas but can promote emancipatory standpoints. This book is one that should be read by all those interested in sexuality, religion, Islam, or gender, writes Olivia Mason. The wide range of case studies make it suitable for both an academic and general audience while the examples make it a stimulating and accessible read.