India’s Supreme Court for the first time recognized a third gender Tuesday in a judgment aimed at giving transgender Indians their own legal status and better legal protection and privileges.
The Wall Street Journal reports that: “A two-judge bench ruled that transgender people will now have the option to identify themselves as a third gender—instead of just male or female—in government documents, including passports and identification cards.The Supreme Court said discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation violates constitutional guarantees of equality, privacy and dignity.
“This is an extremely liberal and progressive decision that takes into consideration the ground realities for transgender people in India,” said Anitha Shenoy, a lawyer who helped argue the case. “The court says your identity will be based not on your biology but on what you choose to be.”India is the latest of several South Asian countries to recognize a third gender. Neighboring Nepal has added a third gender option to government documents, as have Pakistan and Bangladesh. Germany became the first European country to recognize a third gender last year, allowing parents to mark “indeterminate” on birth certificates.India’s top court Tuesday also directed the federal and state governments to include transgender people as members of the country’s “backward classes,” an official designation, often based on caste, which entitles socially and economically disadvantaged groups to affirmative action in school admissions and state employment.The decision is revolutionary, some activists said, especially for a court that just last December reaffirmed a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality.In that ruling, the court upheld Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which makes consensual gay sex punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years. Continue reading “India recognizes third gender”
Games-for-Change continues to advance the use of interactive technologies toward pro-social goals, with a post today on a new game called 9 Minutes produced by Half the Sky.
9 Minutes was designed for mobile devices for users in India and East Africa, with content addressing pregnancy. “9 Minutes plays out the adventure of pregnancy and rewards pregnant women and their spouses for keeping both mother-to-be and the baby inside her healthy and happy.” Continue reading “A pregnancy health game in India and Africa”
In his now well-known book The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria popularized understandings of shifts in the global landscape, especially in economic terms. The book explained that while the U.S. was retaining it’s military superiority, the country was draining itself financially – as other nations were quietly prospering. Today’s edition of Le Monde carries an article by Serge Halimi giving further details:
“Today’s emerging powers are not worthy successors to their anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist ancestors. The countries of the South control a growing share of wealth, which is only proper, but its distribution is so inequitable that income differences are even greater in South Africa and China than in the US. The money Continue reading “Global wealth in the new millennium”
The recent closings of hundreds of ancient brothels in India, while something of an economic victory for prostitutes, may one day cost them, and many others, their lives. The decentralization of prostitution has done little to curb demands for such services, which now is met on an ad hoc basis by individual prostitutes using cell phones to connect with clients. As reported in the New York Times:
“Millions once bought sex in the narrow alleys of Kamathipura, a vast red-light district here. But prostitutes with inexpensive mobile phones are luring customers elsewhere, and that is endangering the astonishing progress India has made against AIDS.
Continue reading “Cell phones raising HIV risks in India”
Half the Sky now is going digital with a new online game. In early 2013, the movement to empower women and girls continues with a new adventure on Facebook. This new game is part of a growing effort on the part of game developers (Zynga, in this instance) to partner with groups working for social change. Half the Sky Movement: The Game is inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and brings players first to a small village in India to meet Radhika. The press release says that “Over 300 million people play online social games each month, and their demographic profile cuts across gender and age groups. In the game, Radhika will take players on a global journey, from India to Kenya, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the U.S. In her transition from oppression to opportunity, she must find her voice in her own house and gain financial and social independence. Players start with very little, but as they complete quests to help Radhika and other girls and women, Radhika becomes a community leader. Whether helping a girl in the village to buy a bicycle that will take her to school, or fighting off an international gang of sex traffickers, Radhika becomes a force within her world. Continue reading “Half the Sky to launch online game”