Transgender people’s access to sexual health and rights: A study of law and policy in 12 Asian countries

This study is part of ARROW’s ICPD@15 years monitoring project which includes 12 Asian countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. This study was commissioned to examine and report on issues related to sexuality in the 12 Asian countries.

This is significant because feminist theory and activism has not always examined or understood the links between gender and sexuality, and how these influence experiences of injustice and achievement of rights. Sexuality is recognised, variably, in sections of civil society, United Nations’ institutions, donor agencies and governments to be a central aspect of personhood which affects all individuals, families, communities and societies. Also recognised are the links with health, reproductive health and rights, livelihood, poverty, survival and life and these are demonstrated by social movements focusing on abortion, HIV and AIDS, LGBTI, sexual violence, genital mutilation and other issues. Thus, while the ICPD PoA falls short of addressing the multiple aspects of sexuality, it is valuable in that it recognises the centrality of sexuality in women’s rights and adolescent needs, includes within the definition of reproductive health a satisfying and safe sex life, and calls for accessible sexual health care and sexuality education for all.

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Neha Sood