CREATING A JUST RESISTANCE: OUR STRUGGLES, OUR STRIDES…
The 6th Regional Changing Faces, Changing Spaces Conference (CFCS VI)
14th-16th June, 2017.
Call for submission of conference abstracts
UHAI EASHRI is pleased to announce that the 6th Regional Changing Faces, Changing Spaces Conference (CFCSVI) will be convened from 14th to 16th June 2017. The objective of CFCS as a pan-African biennial convening is to bring together human rights activists, health and legal professionals, allies, organisational and donor partners undertaking and supporting sex worker and LGBTI activism in Africa, to discuss issues pertinent to the movements.
CFCS conference is intentionally planned as a safe, creative and facilitative space for African activists to strategise, network, plan and reflect on achievements and challenges within our movements. CFCS is unique because it is organised by pan-African sex worker and LGBTI activists who volunteer their time and form a CFCS planning taskforce to conceptualise, vision and plan for the conference including determining the conference theme, agenda and selecting abstracts that inform the programme. The theme for CFCS VI is : ‘Creating a Just Resistance: Our Struggles, Our Strides…’
The word ‘just’ is defined as “based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair”. This theme seeks to inspire discussions and sharing on naming and identity as African movements. The conference is envisioned as a space in which we can discuss, explore and negotiate how we as collective African movements can further reclaim our agency in movement building, strategically navigate the hostility of the environments in which most of us exist and work in as well as to holistically make visible the variety of experiences of our African bodies through the approaches and tools we use to organise. The conference seeks to facilitate dialogue and exploration of the ways we can create and continue to build our movements that speak to our realities, challenges and gains in a manner that is based on our collective aspirations for, understanding and practice of what is right and what is fair. How can we create a just resistance?
We invite submission of abstracts that will inform either individual presentations as part of a thematic panel or proposals for an already constituted panel. We also invite submission of artistic expression that speak to any of these five thematic areas:
A. IT’S AN AFRICAN THING!
The African continent has always been a continent rich in culture, resource and tradition. Through its history of colonization these wonderful aspects have slowly been eroded first through colonisation and then by extraction to support a consistently demanding global capitalist system. Consequently the tenets that symbolized who we are, our culture, resources and traditions have been eroded over time and replaced with new and perceivably undesirable tenets that emulate the pillaging that is now written into the continent’s history. The subject of LGBTI and Sex worker movements much like the rest of the continent have borne the brunt of this history. A culture that once embraced difference now rejects its kin on the basis of non conformity in choice of work, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Tradition which was historically cultivated as a way to unite and forge bonds is now used to justify discrimination and human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or choice of work. The historical existence of the LGBTI and sex worker communities on the continent is now negated and justified by reference to ‘borrowed’ language currently used to define us. The resources extracted and ‘gifted’ back to us in trickles that demand justification.
Submissions under this thematic area are invited to discuss and propose possible strategies that interrogate the intersections between agency, unpacking language and decolonising our identities. Abstracts under this theme are also invited to explore the history, value and legitimacy of work in our movements including addressing segregational politics and enhancing internal accountability in our organising.
B. BATTLES AND SCARS…
LGBTI and sex worker Africans are consistently subjected to violence that manifests in physical, sexual, institutional, medical, economic and emotional violence across all the regions in the continent. This violence in most countries is sanctioned by laws that criminalise, make invisible and/or de-humanise LGBTI identifying individuals and sex workers. Even in countries that may not have criminalising legislation, LGBTI and sex workers still face violence from members of the societies in which they live without recourse to justice or with inadequate implementation of rule of law by the institutions and law enforcement. Thus making them by proxy, just as culpable. Consequently the very systems meant to protect Africans from these violations fail in their mandate. Access to human rights should not be based on a document issued by the states therefore rendering those whom the system fails in this regard as non citizens.Rather,said access should be based on an individual’s status as a human being.The concept of national identities in and of themselves are formed as part of a colonial heritage that the continent should strive to distance itself from and rather, revert to the African traditional values of community,diversity and belonging.
Despite the challenges of their lived realities and hostile environments the movements continue to endure which is testament to the resilience inspired by necessity. This begs the questions, what is the cost of this resilience? How do LGBTI and sex worker identifying individuals pay it?
Submissions under this thematic area are invited to discuss and interrogate possible topics that speak to developing an African response to violence and prioritising sustainable self-care practice in activism and the ways in which we build our movements. Abstracts may explore experiences of violence and learning from possible resolution/mitigation models and strategies that facilitate long term redress and restorative justice to the named form of violence. Submission of abstracts that speak to various security issues and viable responses in emergency,medical and cultural contexts are encouraged.
C. MONEY, POWER AND JUSTICE.
For LGBTI and sex worker organizing on the continent, funding and financial support continues to be a pertinent issue. Money as a resource is increasingly crucial within the changing political and legislative landscapes on the continent and the globe. State sponsored phobia as well as morality based antagonists with heavy financial backing are on the rise whilst LGBTI and sex workers identifying Africans as deserving of Constitutionally afforded rights continue to be negated by the same systems with protective mandates. Nevertheless our movements remain resilient and continue to organise in attempts to remedy injustice. Movements require sustenance in order to carry on the work. Whilst financial support is seemingly available there still exists a need for crucial answers regarding power and the ways it manifests in resourcing and being resourced, access, accountability, impact or lack thereof.
Submissions under this thematic area are invited to discuss and propose possible strategies on resourcing dynamics, multi level transparency and accountability. Abstracts may also explore the socio economics of our struggles and what it means as regards expectations and organizing. Proposals are welcome on sustainable ways to organise and other viable resources that are independent of donor funding particularly as regards grassroots organizing and the youth movement.
D. FROM THE STREETS TO THE BENCH.
The growth of the movement has been marked by various litigation efforts on the continent to combat the insistent discrimination and human rights violations. These as well as other advocacy efforts often have a public interest framing that requires evidence of an affected public. There has been numerous research done on LGBTI and sex worker communities on the continent. This theme seeks to interrogate to what ends these data are or can be used to the benefit of the African LGBTI and sex worker communities.
Although continuing dialogue has long since established that decriminalisation is not a destination, it remains one of many goals. The reach of the hostile legislative environments that are part of the reality of the individuals from these communities has in some cases spread beyond the legislative realm to the public health sector and has involved the targeting of organisations that advocate for and provide sexual health services. Different approaches such as incremental litigation on associated rights have had both positive and negative results. In some cases, the possibility of litigation as a way to access justice is particularly difficult. The assertion of culture as exclusive tends to be applied even in a juridical context. As such, other platforms beyond those afforded at a national level have been considered. This raises the continued need for dialogue and sharing of strategies that have proved effective and those that proved not to be. Is there a need to challenge our existing legal strategies?To interrogate if recognition, decriminalisation and protection are holistic objectives? Do these objectives ultimately result in conformity to a continued culture of perpetuated norms and being part of a recognised elite i.e cis and heteronormativity or are we seeking to disrupt and transform the system? Ultimately what could ‘just’ strategies look like?
Submissions under this thematic area are invited to discuss a sub thematic area of documenting, research and information in which abstracts may speak to the development of community driven, evidence based strategies and the various dynamics therein. Abstracts on a sub theme of legal reform, freedom and dignity are also welcome. In particular shared learning on objectives, drivers, timing and transitions within litigation strategies, reclaiming traditional values, labour laws, migration and building allies within the anti trafficking movement.
E. OUR AFRICAN BODIES: AUTONOMY, DIVERSITY AND SELF DETERMINATION
As Africans LGBTI and sex worker individuals are constantly put in the position to have to justify and negotiate their sexualities. Begging the question, how do we navigate sex and pleasure? Culturally, the ways in which we are socialised to perceive our bodies in the context of sex and pleasure consistently demands a lens of conservatism and self degradation, especially when in a way that does not conform to societal norms, which is contrary to our diversity. How do we experience sex and pleasure whilst navigating the patriarchy and shame so deeply entrenched in our various cultures. Countries on the continent may or may not have policies on HIV and AIDS that include our movements. Considering the hostile environments and other factors that more often than not make our communities vulnerable to HIV, policing of how sex and pleasure manifests and violations of our sexual reproductive health and rights remain relevant and current issues needing discussion and strategy.
Submissions under this thematic area are invited to discuss and share learning on the de(re)construction of sex, pleasure, gender, normativity, economics and history in our movements in the context of our African identities. Submissions on new HIV prevention technologies and the visibility of different identities in HIV programming are also encouraged. Abstracts under a third sub theme of cultivating people centered sexual reproductive health and rights are also encouraged. These may explore the role of the medical field in human rights violations, community specific competency in the medical field and addressing the challenges of accessing trans specific IEC materials.
- The deadline for submission of abstracts is 20th November 2016.
- Submissions may be in Swahili, English, Arabic, French or Portuguese.
- When submitting your abstract kindly put the title of the applicable thematic area as the subject line in the email and indicate if it is an individual or part of an already constituted panel.
- There is a strict word limit for abstracts of 500 words for paper presentations. There are no specific limits for artistic submissions including but not limited to short films, paintings or drawings and/or dance.
- Selected abstracts will be notified by 30th January 2017.
- Chosen abstracts will be asked to submit papers based on their abstracts.
· Dates to look out for.
· Abstract submission deadline 20th November 2016
· Notification of acceptance by 30th January 2017
· Deadline for final paper submission 1st March 2017
· CFCS conference 14th -16th June 2017.