Sexuality, Gender, and Rights Institute—India (Hindi)

28 February 2016
TERI, The Retreat, Gurgaon, Haryana

CREA works with activists and women leaders to advance women’s human and sexual rights from a feminist perspective. One of our strategies is to organise Institutes which are usually a week long intensive training on building the conceptual understanding and analytical skills of the participants.

The Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute (Hindi) was established in 2007 to critically examine how various programmes, strategies and practices affirm or violate the sexual and reproductive health and rights of individuals, especially of women, young people and sexual minorities. Since then 214 women activists from India and Nepal have attended this Institute. The goal of the Institute is to examine the principles of sexuality and the inter-linkages between sexuality, gender and reproductive health and rights. It builds an understanding of the basics of gender and sexuality, and their links to issues related to reproductive health, abortion rights, disability, laws and sex work. This year the tenth Institute was held in February 2016.

The Institute was taught by a team of feminist activists and practitioners who have done pioneering work in bringing sexuality into women's rights and human rights work such as Pramada Menon, Co-founder, CREA, and a queer feminist activist; Chayanika Shah, LABIA- a feminist LBT collective; Dipta Bhog, an independent consultant and Managing Trustee of Nirantar; Nidhi Goyal, an independent consultant and disability rights activist; Ratnaboli Ray from Anjali; a mental health rights organisation, Dr. Soma Roy and Pooja Roy from  Amrapadatik; an organisation of the children of sex workers of West Bengal and Kiran Deshmukh, sex workers collective, Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP). Some of the faculty members were from CREA such as Shalini Singh, Programme Manager, Training and Institutes, and Sanjana Gaind, Manager, Young Women's Feminist leadership.

This year's Institute also had sessions on caste, mental health, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012, and population. The participants engaged with strategies through which sexuality has been integrated within organisations in India. 

Here is what some of the participants had to say about the 2016 Institute:

“I participated in Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute organised by CREA. Contrary to my understanding of gender and gender based violence, it was a whole new wealth of information, knowledge and yes even confusion! It started with defining gender, sexuality and sexual rights to gender and sexual identities and suddenly we were discussing about nation, caste system and their influence on sexuality. My thoughts, understanding, intellect were shaken when I learnt about social construct- a term which I have been using casually. The complexities increased even more when sexuality was linked with disability, sex work, judiciary and mental health. In every session, with introduction of new complexity and ensuing confusion, I was trying to decipher what is sexuality. Interestingly when I came to know that even 'Love' is a social construct, I was laughing, rejoicing and enjoying. Another important aspect was superb compilation of readings and movies. They just strengthen and intrigued our thought process. It all began with number of strangers from different parts of country trying to learn something and at the last day we are like close friends who were just inseparable! And yes we all loved the ''Pleasure' activity *"

* This is a role play done by the participants to explore different dimensions of pleasure.

For more testimonies, click here to watch a video.