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
Responding to the UK parliamentary report on global LGBT rights16 May 2016
By Stephen Wood
Exploring the relationship between gender, sexuality & social justice18 Mar 2016
By Kay Lalor
The personal is political in women's empowerment – for men too01 Mar 2016
By Jerker Edstrom
Sexuality, Gender and Social Justice: What’s law got to do with it?01 Mar 2016
By Elizabeth Mills, Arturo Sánchez García , Kay Lalor
If the Pope wants to end violence in Africa he must talk about sex01 Dec 2015
By Pauline Oosterhoff
Gender, sexuality and the SDGs: An evidence-base for action20 Oct 2015
By Elizabeth Mills
Intersectionality of sexuality, inequality and poverty17 Aug 2015
By Ntokozo Yingwana
Fighting for sexual equality? Why we must engage the aid industry07 Jul 2015
By Stephen Wood
Deepening gender and development analysis, addressing violence11 Jun 2015
By Dan Glass