Monday, September 22, 2008

"What’s in a name? Working with male-male sexualities, masculinities"

Save the date: IRMA's Next Global Teleconference

You are invited to join IRMA for:

What’s in a name? Working with male-male sexualities, masculinities and genders in South Asia

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

with Shivananda Khan
Chief Executive, Naz Foundation International

Kuala Lumpur - 10:00 PM
New Delhi, Lucknow - 7:30 PM
Kampala - 4:00 PM
Brussels - 3:00 PM
UTC (GMT) - 2:00 PM
Chicago, Lima - 9:00 AM
Los Angeles, Seattle - 7:00 AM

You must RSVP for this call. Please RSVP by e-mailing Liudmyla Dmytriieva. We will send out dial-in instructions to all RSVPs in advance of the call.Many thanks to IRMA Secretariat AIDS Foundation of Chicago for providing resources for this call. Presentation slides will be made available here.

Naz Foundation International provides technical support and assistance to low income “MSM” groups, networks and collectivities in the South Asia region to enable them to develop their own self-help organising around HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

The socio-cultural frameworks of male-male sexualities in this region and amongst low income populations are primarily based on gender and penetrative performance rather than sexual orientation and a “gay” identity. That is, the penetrating partner perceives himself as a ‘normative’ man, while the person he is penetrating is perceived as a “not-man”. This gendered system is also often internalised by the penetrated partner. In this we have a trinary system of gender: man, ‘not-man’ and woman. Those that fall into the category of ‘not-man’ are so called “beardless youth” primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and feminised males who identify with their feminisation.Further in this region, religion (particularly Islam) and socially compulsory marriage are major factors in the dynamics, risks and vulnerabilities of self-identified MSM and their partners.

Another point to recognise is that for many males/men in the region, male-to-male sex is not defined as sex, but as “mischief”. Sex is only vaginal sex. Stigma, discrimination and violence then is directed as those feminised males, not so much because of their sexual practices, but because of their femininity. At the same time sexual debut of feminised males tends towards an earlier than masculine males.

There are emerging networks of gay-identified men (in the Western sense), but these are primarily in major urban areas among English speaking, middle class populations, and are a minority amongst the diversity of male-to-male sexualities in the region.Developing appropriate HIV services then is dependent on a better understanding of male-male sexualities based on gender performance and age structure, and a recognition that their partners tend to be men from the general male population.

For more info on Naz Foundation International, please visit their website.

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