Call for Contributions: Journal Gender & Development Issue on Sexualities

Posted by Kimberley Meijers on June 2, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Deadline for contributions: 15 June 2017.

In March 2018, the international journal Gender & Development will focus on Sexualities. G&D is a unique journal, providing a forum for debate – and a tool for influencing – for development policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and women’s rights activists. It is published for Oxfam by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. G&D is currently read in over 90 countries. It is published as an online/print journal at, and individual articles are also available free access via our website – for more details, see

The Sexualities issue will examine the challenges and opportunities of working on sexualities in development. Development policies and practice have always engaged with these issues, but most obviously this has been through the lens of sexual and reproductive health, including disease and population control. Sexual rights remain unrealised for many, although there has been some progress such as the decriminalisation of same-sex relations in many countries. New medical technologies have helped realise sexual rights. Increased access to the internet and other information and communications technologies (ICT) are giving many more women and girls more access to information about sexual health, sexual pleasure and sexual rights, but are also extended sites of sexual and gender based violence.
Much remains to be done to ensure international development policies and practices support sexual rights and recognise multiple and positive sexual realities and norms. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people (LGBTQI) experience economic, social and political marginalisation, discrimination and violence. They are often unable to claim their rights as citizens and as family members, leading them to create peer-based social networks and countercultures that can provide alternative support.

This issue argues for a rights-based model of development, and critiques the current model that reflects patriarchal norms of conventional heterosexual marriage and ‘traditional’ families. Sexuality and sexual identity not only influence access to development benefits. Unequal power relations, and dominant moral discourses on sexuality also shape development policies that remove choices about sexuality and sexual identity.

Livelihoods and anti-poverty programming largely still assumes – and promotes – heteronormative norms and values. LGBTQI people and alternative ways of living are invisible in development planning and programming. And the term LGBTQI in itself is problematic in the sense that it conflates sexual and gender identities-which is problematic for transgender people. Sexual and gender moralities result in sex workers –and often their children- being socially ostracised, and excluded from public services such as housing and education. Exclusion based on sexual behaviour and sexual orientation is particularly important because most employment in poor communities is in small and medium-sized family based enterprises; and social protection and loan policies are centred on the traditional family. In fragile and conflict-affected contexts, sexual and gender-related violence increases as societies become militarised, with LGBTQI people particularly at risk in contexts where strict obedience to gender and sexual norms is enforced.

The struggle for sexual rights intersects with political and social rights and economic poverty. Same-sex relations, sex work and sexual relations out of wedlock are criminalised in many countries. ‘Anti-trafficking measures’ have been abused to ‘rescue and rehabilitate’ sex workers against their will. LGBTQI individuals (and most of all, sex workers) are often most excluded from access to sexual health services and information founded on progressive notions of sexualities and rights. Health and education need to integrate sexual rights perspectives, including the right to pleasure. Sexual health is all too often focused on health and the prevention of pregnancy and diseases. Porn is the way most young people now learn about sex and sexualities. Where are the spaces to learn about sex which focus on its potential for pleasure and empowerment, sexual rights, respect and equality?

We are seeking contributions which draw on first-hand experience and research of work in development and humanitarian contexts, especially focusing on the global South/fragile or conflict- affected countries.

We aim to provide a range of case studies that:
• Share analysis of policies and programmes that show how planning and programming can result in dramatically different access to available development benefits and livelihood options for LGBTQI people, and for sex workers.
• Share good examples of progressive development planning that upholds the economic, political/and or social rights of LGBTQI individuals and groups in specific contexts
• Recognise and analyse the strategies adopted by LGBTQI and sex workers (collectively and individually) to challenge heteronormative exclusion and defending rights-based, sex-positive and realistic approaches to sexualities
• Share the experiences of LGBTQI human rights defenders, and sex workers’ rights defenders, in contexts of growing fundamentalisms and closing space for civil society activism
• Consider the challenges and opportunities for international development organisations working in partnership with young people, sex workers and LGBTQI organisations on sexual rights issues, and critically explore the power dynamics, security risks and the meaning of solidarity.
• Share experiences of activism on sexual rights in the digital era that recognise the role of old and new gatekeepers in enabling and limiting health messaging and education about sexualities and sexual rights, and realise people’s right to safe activism in on-line spaces.

Please send a paragraph outlining your proposed idea for an article for this issue, in an email (no attachments please) to as soon as possible and by 15 June 2017.

This issue will be commissioned by 30 June 2017. Commissioned articles will need to be completed for a deadline of 30 September 2017. Editorial help is available to people who haven’t written for a journal before: the important thing is the analysis and experience you share!
G&D has an editorial policy of publishing in clear, jargon-free English, in order to be of use to the widest possible readership of policymakers, practitioners, researchers and activists.

Articles should be of around 5,000 to 6,000 words maximum. Guidelines for contributors can be found at