Past Event

Gender and Sexuality: What’s law got to do with it?

1 March 2016 13:00–2:30

Institute of Development Studies,
University of Sussex Campus,

This seminar marks the launch of the Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice Edited Collection. Comprising 33 articles, photo essays, interviews and thought pieces with academics, activists and legal practitioners from over twenty countries in the world, the speakers will reflect on the complexity of the deceptively simple question posed by the Collection’s title: Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s Law Got to Do With It?

The increasing centrality of law and legal reform to the political strategies through which sexuality and gender justice are sought requires interrogation and careful scrutiny. As the contributions in this Collection show, the law is often an imperfect tool for achieving meaningful justice. Yet it is in these important and complex conversations that the scope for future action becomes tangible. In exploring different processes by which activists and other actors have worked for change, in interrogating what we mean when we talk about ‘solidarity’, and in questioning the usefulness and place of law, a picture of a complex but vibrant field of action for sexuality and gender justice begins to emerge.

From activists working with women in Assam’s tea gardens in India or youth lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders in Vietnam, to lawyers fighting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda or the criminalisation of cross-dressing in Malaysia, to academics carefully re-reading Islamic Sharia or scrutinizing the link between feminism and criminal Law in Latin America, or to researchers assessing HIV prevention programmes in South Africa, the Collection offers first-hand knowledge and experience of the complexities of gender, sexuality and social justice.

About the speakers

Elizabeth Mills trained as a social anthropologist in South Africa and has historically pursued an interest in the relationship between gender, science and citizenship. She completed her MPhil at the University of Cambridge and her PhD at the University of Sussex. Her research lies at the interface of political and medical anthropology, and has historically explored the intersection of embodiment, science and activism linked to the global development and distribution of medicine. Currently, Elizabeth convenes the Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and conducts research on gender, health, citizenship and masculinities in West and Southern Africa.

Kay Lalor holds a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for her project, ‘International Relations and LGBTI rights: Conditionality, Diplomacy and Activism’. This research investigates different forms of international pressure used to advance international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights across borders and within different cultures and jurisdictions. Her PhD research Uneven Encounters and Paradoxical Rights: Embodiment and Difference in Sexual Orientation Rights and Activism analysed the growth of LGBT rights language in international legal arenas. She lectures in human rights law at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Arturo Sánchez García has a diploma in Independent Filmmaking (Asociación Mexicana de Cineastas Independientes (AMCI), Mexico), a degree in Communications (Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico), a master’s degree in Human Rights (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain), and a doctorate in Law (University of Kent). In his PhD research he analyses the legislation on abortion and same-sex marriage in Mexico City, and the parallel evolution of social movements and the judiciary in relation to democratisation. His research interests include feminism, postcolonial theory, social movements and queer theory.Arturo is currently exploring ways to link sexuality with the theoretical work of optimism and hope.

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About this event

Programmes and centres
Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme

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