Affirming Sexuality

The South and Southeast Asia Resource Centre on Sexuality hosted a discussion on Affirming Sexuality on December 15, 2006 (4 to 6 pm) at Committee Room 1, India International centre, New Delhi, India.

The focus of the discussion was set in following terms:

Sexuality can bring misery, poverty and exacerbate gender inequalities. This happens through sexual violence, HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, or marginalisation of those who break the rules, such as non-macho men, single women, sex workers, people with same-sex sexualities, and transgender people. Sexuality can also bring joy, affirmation, and well-being. How can we make possible more joy and less misery?

Susie Jolly spoke about sexuality and development focussing specifically on examples from India and other countries in Asia.

Prabha Nagaraja presented examples from TARSHI's telephone helpline on sexuality on how addressing issues of pleasure is key to well-being and the assertion of sexual rights.

Sumit Baudh reflected on the articulation of sexual rights in the ongoing court case challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377, Indian Penal Code.

Susie Jolly also presented the new BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack on 'Gender and Sexuality' that hopes to inspire thinking and action on these questions. The pack contains an Overview of the issues, a 'tool box' of summaries of key texts, case studies, guides, and manuals, and an ‘In Brief’ bulletin summing up the key ideas in a few short articles.

The discussion was attended by about 25-30 people, a mix of students, professionals like lawyers and journalists, and others from civil society organisations.

More about the Speakers:

Susie Jolly is Gender Communications Officer at BRIDGE, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK. Together with Andrea Cornwall, she is spearheading IDS work on sexuality. Previously to working at IDS she had lived in China for six years, managing poverty alleviation programmes for the UNDP, and joining in local women's rights and sexual rights activism.

Prabha Nagaraja has over ten years of experience talking to callers about sexuality on the Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues (TARSHI) helpline. She is Manager Programmes at TARSHI and supervises and conducts sexuality trainings.

Sumit Baudh is qualified as Advocate (Delhi Bar), and Solicitor (non-practicing, England and Wales). He is the Senior Programme Associate at the South and Southeast Asia Resource Centre on Sexuality.