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Women-Loving-Women in Africa and Asia

This report is the result of the work of an amazing group of women from Asia and Africa who came together to research into the conditions of women in same-sex relations in their countries. \n\nThe report is edited by Saskia E. Wieringa.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

3rd April 2012 13:44

Alessia Valenza

With great determination and courage this group of women set about revealing the many obstacles, humiliations and indignities these women face. They uncovered not only pain, invisibility and silence, but also the pleasures of bonding and the beauty of love. (…)

Major themes in the research were female masculinity, the silencing and invisibility of Women-Loving-Women (WLW), and attempts at organizing on the basis of non-normative sexualities. An overriding research theme was violence. More than 300 participants were interviewed in 14 different languages. In the course of this project, one lesbian women’s organization was set up (Surabaya). In Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Central Asia, the focus of the investigation was on organizing WLW. In three countries, Bangladesh, Botswana and Sri Lanka, this was the first research done on lesbian women. The projects in Jakarta and Johannesburg focused on women who in various ways identified as masculine, whereas the Mumbai project focused on the multiple gendered realities of people born female. The researcher in the Pretoria project collected stories of lesbian women who faced mental distress. (….)


– TRANS/SIGN: An introduction
Saskia E. Wieringa
– Report on the factors contributing to the marginalization of lesbian, bisexual
and women who have sex with women (LBWSW) community in Botswana
Lorraine Setuke
– Oral history of activism, formal and non-formal organizing by women-loving
women and transgender organizing in Central Asia
Anna Kirey
– VioMap: Final Report by Sappho for Equality Kolkata
Dr. Subhagata Ghosh 124
– Breaking the binary: Understanding concerns and realities of female
assigned/born persons across a spectrum of lived gender identities
Chayanika Shah, Raj, Shalini Mahajan and Smriti Nevatia 182
– To support activism: Building communication among lesbian community
in Surabaya
Siti Mazdafiah 241
– Female transgender: Gender & sexual identities among transgender female
to male persons in Jakarta
Sri Agustine, Evilina Sutrisno, Lily Sugianto, Ignatia Maria, Irene
Augustine, Sigit and Afank Mariani 299
– Surfacing Lesbians, Bisexual Women and Transgendered People’s Issues in the Philippines: Towards Affinity Politics in Feminist Movements
Tesa Casal de Vela, Mira Ofreneo and Marion Cabrera 346
– Women-loving-Women: Issues and concerns in Bangladesh perspective
Hasna Hena 400
– “Lesbian Lives Unlimited”; The psycho-social-sexual experiences of lesbian
women in Tshwana (Pretoria): A qualitative analysis
Delene van Dyk 428
– From the horse’s mouth: Township perceptions on the Black Butch Lesbian
Noman Pakade 464
– Stories to tell: A queer women’s oral history in Sri Lanka
Kaushalya Perera

TRANS/SIGN, a global network for the study of trans/sexualities crossculturally, was set up in 2008 to promote the study of trans/sexualities.  TRANS/SIGN is a network of academic scholars, policy advocates and research-minded activists.
It is composed of two major institutional partners, the Kartini Asia Network, which has its secretariat in Jakarta, and the Riek Stienstra Foundation, which is located in The Netherlands and which in turn is a cooperation between the Hivos Foundation and MamaCash.

This report is also the result of the cooperation between Isis International and Kartini Asia Network.

Click here to read the full report