Policy Audits for Inclusive Development:
An International Forum on Sexuality, Poverty, and Law
How do poor lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men (LBTs) living in low-income urban settlements in the Philippines benefit from health, housing, and other social protection programmes in a context where irregular income and insecure employment are the norm? How can people with disabilities in China live happy and rewarding sexual lives in the absence of legislation which supports sexual rights and their quest for pleasure and fulfillment? How will Brazil tackle high rates of homophobic discrimination and violence while rolling back the provision of sexuality-related education and undermining policies that offer protection and the possibility of inclusion? How will India realize its targets for girls’ education if policies fail to make the link between sexuality and school attendance? What are the implications for South African families of a new political push to promote a narrowly drawn vision of the family? These are some of the questions raised by a set of sexuality and poverty policy audits that took place during 2012-2013.
In Policy Audits for Inclusive Development (PAfID): An International Forum on Sexuality, Poverty, and Law, GALANG Philippines, Inc., with support from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Mama Cash, will present a groundbreaking research that audited poverty reduction policies in five focus countries: the Philippines, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa. The aim was to analyze and highlight the ways in which these policies dealt with sexuality based on a common audit framework by utilizing various methodologies. It will draw out common learning on the ways in which researchers and activists can begin the process of policy analysis based on sexuality, find commonalities in the way that policy and practice uphold and reaffirm gender and sexuality norms in different settings, and advocate for change with powerful actors within the development sector.
The benefits of poverty reduction strategies, policies, and related budgets are implicitly assumed to reach all citizens regardless of sexuality. Yet development agencies and governments rarely record the impact of their policies and programming on the material wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and other people marginalized because of their sexuality nor do they tend to factor it into their policy planning. As a result these policies can be less than optimal. The five policy audits to be presented at the forum launch illustrate how people of marginalized sexualities are unjustly deprived of the full benefit of poverty reduction strategies.
Read the synthesis report: Sexuality and Poverty Synthesis Report
Social Protection Policies and Urban Poor LBTs
in the Philippines
GALANG Philippines, Inc. (Philippines)
With the view that Philippine development policies must create an impact on the well-being of all citizens without distinction of any kind, such as sexuality, GALANG Philippines has set out to bring to light the sexuality content of selected social protection and housing policies, particularly the gender and sexuality norms that have been subverted, upheld, and produced in the same. This audit is towards the end of “visibilizing” the multiple layers of oppression experienced by Filipino lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men (LBTs) in urban poor communities.
Through various methodologies including a legal review of eight Philippine social protection and housing legislation, a review of newspaper articles from the years 1988 to 2013, key informant interviews with feminists and lesbian rights activists, focus group discussions with community-based LBTs, and a review of Philippine Supreme Court decisions from 1901 to 2012, the audit points to the need to review and amend Philippine civil law definitions of and assumptions on family and marriage, as well as how social legislation define the terms dependents and beneficiaries in order to ensure that these development policies benefit all persons including those who belong to family units that defy the heterosexual norm.
Read the full report: Social Protection Policies and Urban Poor LBTs in the Philippines
‘Marriage Above All Else’:
The Push for Heterosexual and Nuclear Families
in the Making of South Africa’s White Paper on the Family
Sonke Gender Justice Network (South Africa)
The push to develop a new public policy on families in South Africa has been reinvigorated, borne out of a desire to target services at family units rather than to individuals as is the current very costly social welfare system. The government significantly increased its spending on social grants from 2.05 billion USD in fiscal year 1998 to 9.81 billion USD in FY 2009 with just over a quarter of South Africa’s population claiming benefits every month. In the context of a struggling local and global economy, and with South Africa’s inequality on the rise, more and more individuals are qualifying for and readily claiming monetary assistance through the welfare system.
This audit comments on the policy making processes that led to the development of the White Paper on Families of November 2012, and explores how the South African government is increasingly adopting a heteronormative value system in its policy making and programmes, despite resistance from civil society actors.
Read the full report: ‘Marriage Above All Else’: The Push for Heterosexual and Nuclear Families in the Making of South Africa’s White Paper on the Family
A Heteronormativity Audit of RMSA—
A Higher Education Programme in Indian Schools
Nirantar, A Center for Gender and Education (India)
In India, there has been a significant increase in girls’ access to elementary school education. However there continue to be wide disparities with respect to region (including rural/urban), caste, religion, dis/ability and class. Levels of retention are low, especially in the last two years of schooling. The linkages with sexuality have not been explored, even by feminist educationists.
The audit addressed a National level government programme to strengthen secondary school education - the Rahtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). RMSA aims to enhance access, quality and equity, with a focus on marginalised young people such as girls, Dalits, Muslims and young people with disabilities.
Read the full report: A Heteronormativity Audit of RMSA – A Higher Education Programme in Indian Schools
The Damaging Effects of a Lack of Sexuality Focus
within Disability Policy in China
Pink Space Sexuality Research Center (China)
In China in this current specific historical period, heteronormativity means a kind of attitude and behavior that keeps the heterosexual male patriarch at the center. By virtue of his dominant position in sex, love, marriage, family, maternity and other aspects of social life, heteronormativity results in the neglect, discrimination, oppression and control position over those who are in a disadvantaged position in these fields. Our policy audit focuses on people living with disabilities. Our methods include literature review, case analysis, focal group discussion and individual interview. The three main findings through the policy audit are: 1) No sex-related needs are clearly expressed and stipulated in any laws and regulations in this country; 2) The guardian system needs to be improved; and 3) No sex education specially tailored to meet the needs of people living with disabilities exists. The research also provides some policy recommendations for the Chinese government.
Debates on Poverty, Education and Sexuality
Universidade de São Paulo and NUH (Brazil)
This report presents an analysis of public education policies and considers where these policies intersect with programmes aimed at preventing and reducing discrimination and violence against LGBT people. The first part of the report details the current Brazilian social context focusing on: levels of inequality and poverty; educational indicators; data on homophobic violence; and an assessment of dogmatic religious discourses that are increasingly affecting policymaking and implementation in areas pertaining to sexuality. The report then considers the intersection of education policies with sexuality, and examines this intersection in relation to national policy measures aimed at tackling homophobia.
Read the full report: A Critical Analysis of Public Policies on Education and LGBT Rights in Brazil