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CAL@HRC38:Statement in response to the Special Rapporteur on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI)

The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) through our membership and partnership with the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) is participating in the second session of the Human Rights Council of 2018  (HRC38) taking place from 18 June to 6 July.

On Monday 18 June, the SRI collective, with delegate representation from CAL  participated in drafting and presenting the following statement responding to the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’s first report to the HRC.

Human Rights Council – 38th session

Item 3: Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Statement by Action Canada for Population and Development

Thank you, Mr. President. Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.

When black feminist scholars and activists such as bell hooks, Audre Lorde and Patricia Hill Collins, articulated the need for an intersectional analysis they did so against a dominating discourse that homogenised women’s experiences of patriarchy in ways which failed to acknowledge black women’s experiences. It provided a conceptual framework to understand how power intersects identities along various axes, including those of race, gender, disability, sexuality, class and nationality among others.

In doing so, intersectionality offers us of a radical critique of patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy and other forms of domination, and it complicates any sense of gender, sex, class, or race as singular and discrete identities. It rejects any hierarchy of one categorical determination over others and brings us to the conclusion that no form of oppression or subordination ever stands alone.

In a similar vein, we urge the SOGI(E) IE, when confronted with violations to examine how and whether the individuals or communities experiencing the violations on SOGI(E) grounds are also affected by other factors of race, class and other social categorisations.

Only such intersectional analysis allows us to decipher root causes which then enables us to adequately address violations and facilitates the creation of cross-movement, broad based social justice work.

We call on the SOGIE IE to deepen the mandate’s use of an intersectional analysis and approach. This analysis must be substantively incorporated into all aspects of the mandate’s work by explicitly seeking to understand and account for the multiple factors that enable and facilitate violations in the lives of individuals and communities.

We encourage member States, when implementing the recommendations made in this report to use an intersectional approach to develop a broad and holistic perspective on sexual rights. To consider the ways in which criminalization and policing of sexuality extends also to sex work, disability, access to abortion and have at their heart the restriction and denial of individuals rights to bodily autonomy, justice and fundamental freedoms.

Thank you.