DAY THREE: The Place I Must Call Home

What is a safe space for non-binary and trans people in a pandemic? This post explores the ways in which ‘design’ as a discipline can respond to the systemic oppression(s) faced by the marginalized Trans Binary and Trans Non-Binary identities, a crisis that has been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Picture above: ‘Trespassing the Binary’ from the series ‘Unblocked: Beyond the Gender Normative’. Medium: Digital. Reproduced by permission of author/artist

Non-Binary Existences and Negotiations in a Pandemic-Ridden Binary World

Natasha Chandhock

Gender-Space Identities and the World as Binary

We understand ‘identity’ as an intrinsic part of our being, something we assert in different capacities, given our comfort, safety and surroundings. This forms part of the environment we interact with, be it the rhythmic harmonies within natural environments or the pulsating ticking of a clock. In the same breath, gender and space too interact with one another, producing experiences that are different for different social identities, depending on their standing in the world around us. For instance, certain public spaces become sites of male dominance and are instrumental in defining the levels of safety for non-male identities.

Continue reading “DAY THREE: The Place I Must Call Home”

DAY ONE: Introducing the 16 Days Blogathon 2020!

Welcome to our annual blogathon to mark the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

Photo: UN Women/Patrick Reoka licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Welcome to our annual blogathon to mark the global  16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. We are now in our fourth year of bringing together voices from civil society, academia, art, activism, and government around the world as our contribution to this ongoing struggle. The blogathon marks a continuing collaboration between GenderEd at the University of Edinburgh, the Australian Human Rights Institute at UNSW Sydney and Ambedkar University, Delhi

Gender-based violence – including domestic violence – is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms and cultural practices. One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence.

We know that during times of crisis and instability, the threat of GBV increases. In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has had wide ranging consequences globally and has exacerbated economic and social inequalities. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have also thrown into sharp relief the longstanding hidden pandemic of gender based violence.  And it has underscored the grim feminist insight that ‘home’ can be a dangerous, sometimes deadly, place for women and girls – and for people with marginalised gendered identities.  As the UN Secretary General has noted:

“Accompanying the crisis has been a spike in domestic violence reporting, at exactly the time that services, including rule of law, health and shelters, are being diverted to address the pandemic.”

Gender-based violence – including domestic violence – continues to be an urgent and intractable issue that blights the lives of women and girls and diminishes their rights. Along with the writers whose work you will read over the coming days, and the more than 6,000 organisations who run 16 Days campaigns across 187 countries every year, we are united in our commitment to women’s equality and share a desire to see a world free from sexual and gender-based violence.

From Monday 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day), we will be posting blogs that explore pressing issues in gender-based violence. 

Through their blogs, we travel from Scotland to South Korea; from Australia to South Africa via India and beyond. We see how gender-based violence exists in all spheres – from past to emerging and ongoing conflicts, historic injustices, in houses and on university campuses, in villages and cities. And increasingly, overwhelmingly, in virtual spaces. 

Our remarkable contributors look at digital violence and resistance; they interrogate the multiple meanings of home and the role of art and design based practices to rethink gendered space.  We report on ten years of ‘counting dead women’ in the UK one of the first femicide censuses in the world. And we learn about the power of art  (visual, performance, music and dance) to resist, expose and survive gender-based violence; to provoke a reckoning and to seek justice and change

As well as artists and performers, this year we have amplified student voices and we are delighted that our contributors in 2020 include current and recent students of AUD Women and Gender Studies, Social Design and Sociology, Edinburgh College of Art and SOAS,UK .

We will be posting updates on Twitter from @UoE_genderED and @HumanRightsUNSW and look forward to sharing these stories with you over the next 16 days. We hope that you will share them further.  

Opening our 2020 blogathon is Jo Clifford  – playwright, trans performer and activist – and creator of The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven  an extraordinary piece of work which has been transforming lives – and provoking hate for ten years. She writes about the experiences faced by the Brazilian production in a country which is the most dangerous in the world for trans people.

Signed, Co-curators of the 16 Days blogathon

  • Fiona Mackay, Director genderED, University of Edinburgh
  • Louise Chappell, Director Australian Human Rights Institute, University of New South Wales
  • Rukmini Sen, Director Center for Publishing, Ambedkar University Delhi
  • Aerin Lai, student editor, University of Edinburgh
  • Jessica Shao, student editor, University of New South Wales

DAY ONE: Art as resistance in the face of hate

In Brazil – a country that kills more trans women than anywhere else – performing trans art as resistance can be a matter of life and death.

Picture above: Actress Renato Carvalho in O’ Evangelho Jesus, Rainha Do Ceu (Gospel according to Jesus, Queen of Heaven). Reproduced by permission

Jo Clifford

The show had gone really well, considering.

The actress and crew were exhausted: they’d flown up the night before, had to stay in a different town from the performance, and Jimmi, the stage manager, had had very little time to set up.

Natalia, the director, had been with the actress while she’d been vomiting with fear.

This wasn’t just stage fright. The threats Renata had received before coming up to this town in north Brazil had been graphic and horrifying.

Brazil is the country which kills more trans women than anywhere else on earth.

Continue reading “DAY ONE: Art as resistance in the face of hate”