Sexuality

Development usually treats sexuality as a problem: over-population, sexually transmitted disease, or sexual violence in the home and as a weapon of war. The images that come with any mention of the subject are those of risk and danger, disease and death. This focus well describes some of the consequences of the disregard for sexual rights that exists the world over. There has been a recent emphasis on criminalising non-normative sexuality and a rise in homophobic violence in several places in the world. However, focusing merely upon this negativity generates fear and disempowerment, and discourages us from seeing how we might be able to change our situations.

Rather than focusing on pain, harm and wrongs, a more positive, pleasure-oriented, view of sexuality offers an entirely different set of entry points for work to make sexual rights real. Similarly, broadening the areas within law, development policy and practice in which sexuality is considered is an increasingly crucial area of engagement. Understanding the relationship between sexual rights and poverty illustrates the need for aid policies and poverty alleviation efforts that account for sexuality and examine unspoken assumptions and exclusions.

Across the Institute, we currently support research and communications aimed at rethinking the relationship between sexuality, rights and development and building stronger links between people in different contexts working to realize their sexual rights. Collaborating closely with established networks and movements, our approach to protecting and respecting rights are based on strategies drawn from local communities that are most affected. Much of this theme’s activity is organised through the IDS Sexuality and Development Programme and the Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme.

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Bridging the Gap Evaluation

This is a mid-term evaluation of the Bridging the Gaps Programme a global program operating in 16 countries across all the main key populations at-risk for HIV. More details

Pathways of Women's Empowerment Research Programme Consortium

Pathways is a research and communication programme which seeks to discover where women are achieving real gains despite or because of policy and practice. It looks at how this has happened, and aims to make these pathways visible so that we can build on these revealed successes. More details

Sexuality and Development Programme (2007-11)

Supporting the realisation of sexual rights and access to basic services for those facing poverty and injustice More details

Sexuality and Local Voices

The Sexuality and Development project is one of the workstreams of the Gender, Power and Sexuality (GPS) Programme, funded by Sida. More details

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NewDirections_brief

Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

At a time of major changes in global politics and trends, and major shifts in international development following the establishment of the global Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030, the Gender and Sexuality cluster at the Institute of Development Studies engaged in collaborative discussions and consultations over nine months with partner organisations, networks, external experts and policymakers. More details

NewDirections_report

Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

We here aim to outline priority directions for future research on gender and sexuality in development, which are needed to advance our understanding of gender and sexuality in an increasingly unequal, polarised and volatile world. More details

This is the cover to IDS Bulletin 481, 'Sex Education in the Digital Era'.

Sex Education in the Digital Era

IDS Bulletin 48.1 (2017)

Exploring sex and sexual relationships is an important part of adolescence, and therefore sex education should have a central role in adolescent emotional development as well as dealing with crucial public-health issues. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Rapid Response Briefing 15, 'Is Porn the New Sex Education?'

Is Porn the New Sex Education?

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 15 (2016)

Over the past 15 years, internet pornography has become the predominant channel through which young people learn about sex, not just in the developed world, but increasingly in developing countries too. In many developing countries, traditional gatekeepers of sex education, such as governments, religious leaders and parents, still attempt to keep sexuality out of the public sphere. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Intersectionality: A Key for Men to Break Out of the Patriarchal Prison?

Reflecting on male gender activists’ lessons from India, this article explores how intersectionality can help men (and women) better understand the structure of patriarchy, by connecting it to other forms of oppression, based on class, caste and age. More details

ER206_FrontCover

Gender, Sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Meta-Analysis of Mechanisms of Exclusion and Avenues for Inclusive Development

IDS Evidence Report 206 (2016)

Through its work, the Institute of Development Studies Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme provides new evidence-based knowledge and policy options support efforts to strengthen the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. More details

Non-IDS publication

Gender, sexuality and disadvantage: intimately entwined, but perpetually divorced within international development?

Development Bulletin 77 (2016)

This paper begins with a brief overview of research undertaken by the authors and sexual health and rights practitioners in a Southeast Asian country examining the intersections of gender, sexuality, disadvantage, and how that plays out in reality for practitioners. More details

PB120_FrontCover

Avenues for Donors to Promote Sexuality and Gender Justice

IDS Policy Briefing 120 (2016)

Donor agencies agree that addressing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI) is not only an important human rights issue but is also integral to efforts to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development. More details

IDS Policy Briefing 118 Front Cover

Migration, Mobility and Marginalisation: Consequences for Sexual and Gender Minorities

IDS Policy Briefing 118 (2016)

As a strategy to avoid discrimination, violence and economic marginalisation, sexual and gender non-conforming people often turn to migration as a route to achieve independence and build social capital. More details

CDIPracticePaper_16

Using Participatory Statistics to Examine the Impact of Interventions to Eradicate Slavery: Lessons from the Field

CDI Practice Paper 16 (2016)

This CDI Practice Paper reflects on the use of participatory statistics to assess the impact of interventions to eradicate slavery and bonded labour. More details

Front Cover_What’s law got to do with it?

Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What's Law Got to Do with It?

Edited Collection (2016)

The contributions to this Edited Collection reveal the complexity of the deceptively simple question posed by its title: Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s Law Got to Do With It? More details

ER167_FrontCover

Transgender at Work: Livelihoods for Transgender People in Vietnam

IDS Evidence Report 167 (2016)

The laws in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam promote equality for all citizens and refer to ‘persons’ rather than ‘men’ or ‘women’. However, because of traditional gender norms, transgender people in Vietnam are facing severe stigma and discrimination in public, in schools, at home and in the workplace (CCIHP 2011; Hoang 2012; ICS 2015; iSEE 2013). More details

ER165_FrontCover

Living on the Periphery: The Khawaja Siras of Pakistan

IDS Evidence Report 165 (2016)

Academic literature suggests that development is inherently heteronormative in its narratives, policies and practices: as a result, ‘heterosexuality is normalized, naturalized, and privileged in societies of the global South, in the international development field, and in colonial and post/neo-colonial narratives of the so-called Third World or global South’ (Lind 2010: 7). More details

ER162_FrontCover

Religion, Gender and Sexuality Workshop Report: 1–5 June 2015, Garden Court Hotel, Eastgate, Johannesburg

IDS Evidence Report 162 (2015)

Religious doctrine shapes and informs decision-making at the individual and collective levels, and sexuality and gender rights advocates must therefore work with faith-based organisations and religious activists to challenge harmful and discriminatory sexuality and gender norms and practices. More details

ER158_FrontCover

Sexuality, Development and Non-conforming Desire in the Arab World: The Case of Lebanon and Egypt

IDS Evidence Report 158 (2015)

In many developing countries, sexual rights are commonly depicted as trivial concerns pertaining to wealthy citizens of a ‘developed’ Western world. The ‘developing’ world is often thought to have more pressing problems to deal with, such as poverty, violence and corruption. More details

ER154_FrontCover

‘Leave No One Behind’: Gender, Sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals

IDS Evidence Report 154 (2015)

In an unprecedented move to eradicate disease, poverty and hunger, world leaders joined together in 2000 to sign into life the hotly contested but broadly agreed upon Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework. More details

ER153_FrontCover

Sexuality, Poverty and the Law: A Case Study Approach for Exploring Avenues of Change

IDS Evidence Report 153 (2015)

There is increasing pressure in international development to demonstrate that aid spending has an impact. This includes spending on policy research. More details

PB101_FrontCover

Developing More Effective Strategies for Sex Work, Law and Poverty

IDS Policy Briefing 101 (2015)

The welfare of female sex workers in low-income countries has attracted significant attention in recent years. In line with human rights and development goals, advocacy focuses on decriminalisation of sex work, attaining economic rights, ending violence and improving sexual and reproductive health. More details

ER145_FrontCover

Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s Law Got to Do with It? International Symposium Workshop Report

IDS Evidence Report 145 (2015)

In March 2015, the Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme at the Institute of Development Studies brought together over 60 activists, lawyers, researchers and international advocates to critically assess the scope of law and legal activism for achieving social justice for those marginalised because of their sexual or gender non-conformity. More details

Strengthening_Evidence_Based_Policy_2015

Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs April 2014 – March 2015

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2015)

In much writing about development, policy and practice are portrayed as if they are joined at the hip. Policy shapes practice, while learning from practice informs policy processes. In this portrayal, practice is usually understood to refer to development practice, or how development programmes and projects are implemented. More details

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Playboy, porn and sex education

28 Sep 2017
By Kelly Shephard

A fresh agenda for advancing women’s rights and gender equality

07 Mar 2017
By Sohela Nazneen, Cathérine Müller

Addressing online gender-based and sexual violence

13 Feb 2017
By Madhushala Senaratne

Mapping sex work law: tendencies and trends

18 Jan 2017
By Cheryl Overs

Is porn the new sex education? Discuss

24 Nov 2016
By Kelly Shephard

Making transgender murder victims visible

18 Nov 2016
By Stephen Wood, Lukas Berredo, Carla LaGata

Banning alcohol to protect girls? India is missing the mark

12 May 2016
By Pauline Oosterhoff, Carol Smithyes
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