Sexual Orientation and Gendered Identity

    • Presentation speakers
      • Shaminder Takhar, London South Bank University, London, UK


    Over the last three decades there have been many contributions to the development of the concepts ‘sexuality’ and ‘human rights’ that include sexual orientation, gendered identity, desire and practices. This is evident in significant developments and debates made and felt by the ‘LGBT community’ especially concerning transgender issues (Miles, 2014). At an international level, we can see that discussions have focused on women’s sexuality and reproductive rights, intersecting at times with sexual orientation. It should come as no surprise that despite challenges to dominant norms and values, sexism and homophobia continue to operate even in the most advanced of societies (Fried and Landsberg-Lewis, 2000). Indeed most societies have operated to actually restrict the sexual rights of both men and women (Khaxas, 2001). Thus when we speak of sexuality and sexual orientation it is vital that we include the whole spectrum of sexualities from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality. This paper brings together a range of literature, (including fictional work) that looks at sexuality through a human rights lens. Sexuality has also been shown to be a fluid concept and the way in which it is experienced is dependent on geographical location, gender, race, culture, community, socio-economic and political contexts. Sexuality is under constant surveillance and control from social conventions, religion, norms and values. Sexual rights are important and it is necessary to frame them within international human rights despite the challenges to their application – universal or particular. What is important is that enabling conditions that challenge dominant forms of being/identity can be created through activism as shown in the cases of Britain and India.