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

Gender, Power and Sexuality Programme: 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

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

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This is the image for IDS Virtual Bulletin 5, 'Challenging Patriarchy: Unsettling Men and Masculinities'.

Challenging Patriarchy: Unsettling Men and Masculinities

Challenging Patriarchy presents contributions to the evolution of thinking on men and masculinities in Gender and Development, drawing on three IDS Bulletins published over a period of more than a decade. More details

ER89 Front Cover

Research Methods and Visualisation Tools for Online LGBT Communities

Field research among geographically dispersed communities is time-consuming and costly. When people are stigmatised, field research has additional ethical and logistical problems. In many countries lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (people are both geographically dispersed and stigmatised. Online research methods and tools are therefore particularly interesting instruments for researchers. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Putting the Law in its Place: Analyses of recent developments in law relating to same-sex desire in India and Uganda

This collection of essays has been jointly produced by Sexuality Policy Watch and the IDS Sexuality and Development Programme. More details

ER80 Front Cover

Sex Workers, Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation in Ethiopia

This case study explores economic, legal and social issues that affect sex workers, with a particular focus on the role of poverty in sex workers’ lives and the potential for poverty alleviation policies and programmes to help lift as many sex workers as possible out of poverty in order to reduce the exploitation, illness and violence associated with their work. More details

ER74 Front Cover

Negotiating Public and Legal Spaces: The Emergence of an LGBT Movement in Vietnam

Vietnam’s laws, policies and decrees do not explicitly discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals but their rights are not legally protected and they are socially marginalised. More details

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 7 Front Cover

Addressing Sexual Violence in and beyond the 'Warzone'

Conflict-related sexual violence remains pervasive across the globe, and its widespread use has been reported in Rwanda, Liberia, Northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. More details

ER70 Front Cover

Men in Collective Action on SGBV in Kenya: A Case Study

This case study examines the ways in which collective action and the involvement of men may influence the prospects of effectively changing community perceptions and values regarding sexual and gender-based violence, and how it may strengthen the overall response to the problem in Kenya. More details

This is the cover for the book Changing Narratives of Sexuality.

Changing Narratives of Sexuality

Changing Narratives of Sexuality engages with women's sexuality exploring marginal as well as dominant stories in which sexuality may figure overtly or covertly as the subject. This impressive collection brings together a broad range of arenas in which sexuality is embedded. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Sexuality and Social Justice: A Toolkit

This free interactive toolkit documents the learning from the Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme at the Institute for Development Studies. More details

This is the image of the report, 'Pornography, Pleasure, Gender and Sex Education in Bangladesh'.

Pornography, Pleasure, Gender and Sex Education in Bangladesh

Over the past two decades Bangladesh’s capital has grown from a small city to a large urbanised space. Such rapid urbanisation and social transformation has created unintended consequences that have implications for gender, power, sexual relationships and health. More details

ER61 Front Cover

A Critical Analysis of Public Policies on Education and LGBT Rights in Brazil

This audit analyses key aspects of public policies in education and sexuality in Brazil, which have been designed as part of the wider programme Brazil Without Homophobia (BWH – Programa Brasil sem Homofobia), launched in 2004. Tackling homophobia and its cultural and social effects has been highlighted by a number of authors as an important policy strategy. More details

Evidence Report 55 Front Cover

Literature Review on Sexuality and Poverty

This review contributes to the larger Sexuality, Poverty and Law Theme of the Accountable Grant, which aims to produce evidence-based, practical options for activists and policymakers for strengthening legal protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, questioning people and for sexual rights more generally. More details

Evidence report 53 teaser image

Sexuality and Poverty Synthesis Report

This report synthesises learning from these audits and is part of a larger project that focuses on understanding the links between sexuality, gender plurality and poverty with the aim of improving socioeconomic policy and programming to support people marginalised because of their sexuality. More details

This is the cover for IDS Evidence Report 49, 'Sexuality and the Law: Case Studies from Cambodia, Egypt, Nepal and South Africa'.

Sexuality and the Law: Case Studies from Cambodia, Egypt, Nepal and South Africa

This paper provides a synthesis of five case studies on the relationship between sexuality and law. More details

Policy audit: a heteronormativity audit of RMSA - a higher education programme in Indian schools

Policy Audit: A heteronormativity audit of RMSA - a higher education programme in Indian schools

This report shares the findings of a sexuality and gender audit of a national government programme to strengthen secondary school education in India More details

Image teaser for ER44

The Implications of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 on Uganda's Legal System

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (AHB or the bill) was controversial right from the time of its inception. More details

This is the image for Undressing Patriarchy: Redressing Inequalities.

Undressing Patriarchy: Redressing Inequalities

Patriarchy may be seen as an old-fashioned term with little relevance to current work on gender, yet these kinds of questions motivated participants to get excited about the notion of ‘Undressing Patriarchy’ and inspired them to draft background papers and to travel across the world to take part in this conversation. More details

Image Teaser for ER41

'Marriage Above All Else': The Push for Heterosexual, Nuclear Families in the Making of South Africa's White Paper on Families

This report comments on the policymaking processes that led to the development of the White Paper on Families as it exists in its current iteration (November 2012). More details

IDS publications on international development research

Key Issue Guide: Heteronormativity

This Eldis Key Issue Guide is a concise resource on the concept of heteronormativity, its usefulness for development thinking and the and the ways in which it impacts upon gender, LGBT rights, economic justice, health care, human rights and law. More details

cover of publication: Sexuality and Development: An Annotated Bibliography

Sexuality and Development Programme: An Annotated Bibliography

This is an annotated bibliography that has been put together by the IDS Sexuality and Development Programme. More details

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