Hivos International

Sexual Rights and Diversity

In 2014, I was struck by a CNN interview with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then Nigeria’s finance minister, in which she was asked about her country’s new draconian anti-LGBT law which had been signed just two months before. The “Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act”  criminalized public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricted the work of LGBTI organizations.

Two of the most controversial issues in Latin America have resurfaced recently due to the decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) that recognises same-sex marriage and the right for Trans people to choose their gender identity as inherent rights.

World AIDS day on December 1 is always a global opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV. Back in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. As Hivos, we acknowledge our support and respect for people living with HIV and remember the many people we have worked with and those who have needlessly passed away. 

Accents from all corners of Latin America could be heard in a small city in Costa Rica on 20 and 21 November, when Heredia hosted the “High-Level Dialogue on Women, Human Rights and HIV”. The meeting was organised by ICW Latina and Hivos Latin America, with the financial support of the The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and drew more than 150 activists and policymakers from the region, many of them women, to discuss the demands of women living with HIV.

By Fauzia Mohammed

The question as to whether it is a permissive society, a blind eye by the community, an ill-bred culture or weak policies at institution level that has prompted sexual harassment incidences to sky rocketing numbers remains unanswered. Regrettably, sexually inappropriate remarks towards women at work places, educational centers and society at large have been normalized while the general public dismisses it as “men will always be men”.

Puede leer este blog en español aquí.

How does it feel to grow up in a completely different environment as a transwoman? In 2007, all of the Netherlands could peer into the life of Amsterdam model and DJ Valentijn de Hingh (27). She had been regularly followed from the age of seven until seventeen for the movie “Boyhood” by the documentary filmmaker Hetty Nietsch, making her a role model for many transgender people.

Increasingly companies are realizing that they exist beyond making profits and have a key role to play in improving the lives of the people they serve or interact with-whether it’s their customers, employees or the society at large.

There are a few critical moments in the lifespan of a grant-making programme: Those moments in which you need to press pause, contemplate the journey so far, and look back at your achievements and challenges. After one year of grant-making, filled with work on designing and refining four different types of calls for proposals, reviewing over 1000 grant applications from ten countries spread out in 3 regions, Voice needed a moment to reflect on whether we have actually been engaging with the right audiences.

Over these last couple of months, Latin America has been vibrating and changing: we’ve gone from celebration to mourning, from anger to relief in a matter of days. Just one month ago, we awoke to the news of a murder attempt against our friend David Valle, LGBTI community leader in Honduras and member of Somos CDC, a partner organization of Hivos.

At age 15, Tanaka (not her real name) was forced into sex work in order to fend for herself. Now aged 17, Tanaka has been through what can be simply described as hell, something a child like her ought never to experience. She fell pregnant hardly a year after she started engaging in sex work, and her tales of violence at the hands of men are harrowing and heart rending.

Tanaka lost her baby a few months after giving birth, a memory which evoked tears in her eyes as she recounted the story recently.

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