Discussion: Religion, inclusiveness and Sexual Minorities, Bangalore, 24 Aug 09

Sangama and Aneka

invite you to a discussion on

“Religion, inclusiveness and Sexual Minorities”

on 24th August 2009, Monday from 2 PM to 6 PM


at the NGO Hall, Cubbon Park, Opposite Vikasa Soudha, Bangalore – 560001. Phone: 080 22354784

Speakers include:

Swami Agnivesh

Guruji Vinaykar

Dr. Asgar Ali Engineer

Dr. Saleem Kidwai

Mr. Christopher Rajkumar

Fr. K. C. Abraham

Mr. David Selvaraj and

Ms. Manasi  Baindur

Issues of sexuality and gender are hotly contested in both religious communities and national cultures around the world. Further when the question relates to homosexuality and  transgenderism they invoke sharper responses, from ideas that this these are sinful, shameful, perversion and deserving of the highest punishment and wrath of god; to ambiguity and limited tolerance and even acceptance.

In the wake of the judgement on IPC section 377 by the Delhi High Court, that decriminalises homosexuality many religious bodies have condemned the judgement arguing that it was against religion, immoral and even against Indian culture. These people have been quoted repeatedly by the media and have also been invited to speak at various fora on these issues. This emphasises the notion that religious traditions are inherently conservative or even reactionary in their  commitments to powerful patriarchal and pronatalist (encouraging child bearing) sexual norms and gender categories.

However there have also been voices that spoke differently and adopted a more nuanced stand. These however have got scant attention. It is these voices that Sangama and Aneka is seeking to bring together to illustrate the diverse, complex and at times even contradictory traditions and practices that come under the broad rubric of “religion”. There are also sexual minorities who are people of faith; embracing both religion and their sexuality with joy  who are again invisible in the discourse. The basic tenets of all religions that are love and compassion; and recognizing the divine in all beings. This then makes the attitude of hate and violence inadmissible.

Religions have also been influenced by strong movements for rights and have changed their position on for example issues related to women. The texts and practices are constantly being reinterpreted by people coming from other perspectives and they have transformed religion. The time is now ripe for such an engagement between religion and issues of sexual minorities. We invite all of you to come and be part of this discussion.

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The Right that Dares to Speak its Name: A Primer on the Naz Foundation Judgment

http://lawandotherthings.blogspot.com/2009/08/right-that-dares-to-speak-its-name.html


The Right that Dares to Speak its Name: A Primer on the Naz Foundation Judgment


Dear All

Given the importance of the Naz Foundation decision, and despite the fact that it is an excellently written judgment, we recognize that a 105 pages can be a challenge for many people. We were therefore prompted to bring out an analytical primer which could serve as a guide through the intricacies of the judgment.

We are happy to announce the publication of a new primer on the judgment. “The Right that Dares to speak its Name” has been put together by Arvind Narrain and Marcus Eldridge. The Primer contains a schematic guide highlighting the key aspects of the judgment with a commentary. It then examines the background and finally contains a few commentaries that came out after the judgment. The Primer is 140 pages and is priced at Rs. 50. Copies are available at ALF

For more details and to download a copy please visit this site.

Table Of Contents:

Introduction

Schematic Guide: Naz Foundation v. Union of India

* The Law
* The Parties
* The Bench
* The Rationale
* Conclusion
* Basis of Ruling
* Territorial Applicability of the judgment


Background: The Naz Judgment

Outline of Arguments on behalf of Voices against 377

Edited Transcripts of the final arguments before the Delhi High Court

Commentaries

* On Freedom’s avenue, Gautam Bhan
* Reforming Macaulay, Kajal Bharadwaj
* India: From ‘perversion’ to right to life with dignity, Kalpana Kannabiran
* Who’s afraid of Homosexuality, Ram Jethmalani
* Striving for magic in the city of words, Lawrence Liang and Siddarth Narrain
* Its about all of us , Prathap Bhanu Mehta
* Good for all minorities, Tarunabh Khaitan
* Navigating the Noteworthy and the Nebulous in Naz Foundation, Vikram Raghavan
* Keeping Religion out of the Gay debate, Siddharth Bhatia

My (Suraksha WRHCP) election to the Global Fund’s India CCM

I should have written about it a longtime ago. Here is the letter I sent to many friends about my election to the IndiaCCM

——————————————————-

Dear friend(s)

I am overwhelmed by the tremendous support that I have received in getting elected as the representative of Sexual Minorities in the Global Fund’s India CCM for the next 2 years. This has come from those of you who voted for me (69 out of 88 i.e. 78.4% of the polled votes), and the many friends and supporters who helped me:

– file my candidature

– fight against the scuttling of India CCM election process that arbitrarily invalidated my candidature and

– encouraged and helped me through the voting process.

I see this as an endorsement of certain ideas whose time has come. The simple idea of change in India CCM processes. Change to allow for greater transparency, accountability and participation of affected people. Change that allows issues of diverse populations to be voiced and respected. The diversity that I hope to represent is not only the many identities among sexual minorities but also diversity in terms of size, access to funding and thrust of the organisation. I clearly see my mandate to also represent other discriminated communities – sexworkers, drug users, dalits, disabled and others that otherwise seems to have very little or no space in the CCM.

I am serious about pursuing this agenda of change with the support of all of you.

The CCM is an interesting and bold experiment – to open up the funding process, to fund innovative ideas and needs that are not addressed by other funding, to be a multiple stakeholder forum and to work on the principle of consensus. But in reality there seems to be very little role for the civil society agencies in the India CCM process .

There is an urgent need to increase the role and participation of civil society in setting policy and programmatic priorities for the proposals submitted to the fund. In India CCM, opinions of the civil society and affected communities should at least carry equal weight as that of the government, if not more. I need all your support, in advocating for the primary role for the civil society and affected people in India CCM, in spite of it being an uphill task.

It is these objectives that we should together work towards realising. We need to make a joint claim to this process.

I was waiting to hear from the India CCM secretariat about the next steps (I have  received that information very recently), hence the delay in sending this.
I look forward to receiving your suggestions and comments.

In solidarity

Elavarthi Manohar

Scuttling of Global Fund’s India CCM Election Process

My (representing Suraksha) candidature to contest India CCM Election was denied unfairly. Here is the letter explaining the same in detail:

Bangalore
4th April, 2009

Dear friends

We are shocked at the way our (Suraksha WRHCP) candidature to contest Global Fund’s India CCM CSO Elections 2009 (http://www.indiaccm-elections.org) under the sub sector ‘Organizations working on the issues of Sexual Minorities’ was rejected.

The stated reason for rejecting our application was “Your organisation has in fact not met the following criteria set by the CMM Election Sub-Committee.
– Primarily working in the specific sub-sector that is sought to be represented”

We are at a loss how the committee came to this conclusion given that most of our work and almost all of our funding in the past 4 years has been for working with sexual minorities, primarily from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We are also shocked at the blatant unfairness of the whole process, given that the India CCM election process claims to be transparent and fair. Below we list the events that lead us to come to the above conclusion.

– Finalized list of eligible candidates was suppose to be uploaded to the website on 2nd April however the same was put up only on April 3rdafternoon

– The email informing the rejection of our candidature arrived on the afternoon of 3rd April

– On April 4th morning when we contacted Mr. Pawan Varma (Election Secretariat, MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child) and enquired about reason for stating that Suraksha doesn’t primarily work with sexual minorities, he stated that it was the decision of the Election Sub-Committee. When asked about the detailed information for rejecting our candidature and to the process to appeal against the decision, he asked us to send a email to him, which he will forward to the sub-committee. He said that a we may not get a response till the 6th given that 4th and 5th are holidays

– Given the urgency of the matter (voting starts 9am on 7th April) how fair is it to have the rejection of the candidate and no time/ process to appeal?

– When asked about the composition of the Election sub-committee, he said that he is not authorized to reveal this info. When questioned about the lack of transparency and lack of a contact point to discuss this matter, he asked us to get in touch with  Komal Khanna and Ashima Mohan  from the Secretariat of the India-CCM for The Global Fund. He was willing to give us only the land line phone numbers and not mobile phone numbers. He also stated that they will not be working on the 4th and 5th April. We called the landline phone numbers mentioned in the India CCM website on 4th morning one of the numbers is invalid and there is no response to the other number.

This makes us believe that these elections are seriously compromised and raises serious questions about democracy, transparency and participation.

We appeal to all fair minded people and organization to raise your voice against this wilful scuttling of the election process.

Please feel free to contact us for more information.

In Solidarity

Elavarthi Manohar
Suraksha WRHCP
Bangalore, India

Copies to:
1. Communities Delegation to the board of the Global Fund
2. Developing Country NGO Delegation to the board of the Global Fund
3. Developed Country NGO Delegation to the board of the Global Fund
4. India CCM Secretariat

“You can’t ignore us anymore!” – Transgender Activism in India, Public Lecture in Bangalore, 6th April 2009

Dear friends

A first in Bangalore – A Public Meeting exclusively focusing on diverse transgender issues in India….  

Aneka invites you to:  


“You can’t ignore us anymore!” – Transgender Activism in India  

On  6th April 2009 (Monday)  

From  5 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.  

At Vishranti Nilaya, CSI Women’s House, 18 Infantry Road (Diagonally opposite The Hindu Office), Bangalore  

Five activists share their experiences and insights on working with transgender people in different parts of India.  

Issues of SRS – Challenges for Law, the Medical Establishment, State and Society  Tista Das (on M2F) and Christy Raj (on F2M)  

Being Transgender in Rural Tamil Nadu: Challenges in Organising – Muthukumar Natesan  

Working with Hijras in Bangalore: Dilemmas and Challenges Elavarthi Manohar  

Patriarchy and Transgenders: Challenges for the Feminist Movement in India Anindya Hajra  

Chair Person: C. K. Meena, journalist and writer 

In Solidarity  

Elavarthi Manohar and Shubha Chacko

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