Grace Poore and Satya Rai Nagpaul

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[00:00:00] This recording was made up a second, the Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference, held in Wellington, New Zealand in March 2011. [00:00:08] What brought me to the conference, I was invited by Rainbow Wellington, [00:00:15] to come and speak here. And then I also submitted workshop. So I'm doing a screening this evening and did a workshop yesterday, and I'm going to be speaking at the plenary on Friday morning. [00:00:29] What was the workshop on [00:00:30] the workshop was basically about a campaign that my organization, international game lesbian Human Rights Commission is trying to get off the ground. And it's built around a video called courage unfolds. So yesterday, I showed a trailer and talked about the campaign try to get everybody buzzed up about it. And basically talked about what the doctor current the principles are trying to deconstruct it from this legal document, to something that is activist friendly, and why it's relevant for LGBT activism in the API region. [00:01:07] Is it possible to go very briefly through the principles? [00:01:09] Sure. As you know, there are 29 principles. They were developed in 2006, by experts from all over the world, 29 experts, 25 countries. And they happen to be in Jakarta, Indonesia. That's why it's called the Dr. Carter principles. And basically, what they are is the 20 day, they lay out the rights that all people should have, including LGBT people, from the right to freedom of expression, right to housing, access to health care, right to education, right to privacy, you know, right to protection on equal protection under the law, you know, right to a fair trial, all of the things that everybody else, right. But the nice thing about it is that it, it says these are rights that need to be accorded to LGBT people, and that people should not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. So along with those rights, they lay out guidelines on how people can implement those rights. So that's a good thing about it. It's a great tool. And it's not just for governments, you know, it's it's for NGOs, it's for employers, it's for, you know, educational institutions, it's for the UN, it's for all of these institutions. So I think in that sense, activists can say, okay, we're going to take these and turn them into a campaign, or we're going to use these and work with our National Human Rights institution. Or we're going to take this and try to get our anti discrimination bill passed, are we going to make it part of a curriculum in schools, we're teaching people about human rights, and we want to include this. So it really has very practical value to it. So I was trying to get people excited about the principles about the campaign about the video. And then tonight, I'm just going to have a screening of the film. And then on Friday, I'll be talking about movement building, basically. [00:03:23] Yeah, basically, I came here to participate in a panel on health activism. Last year, we had the first trans healthcare meet in India. And this was supposed to the Barcelona conference last year, which was, which is where I met all the trans guys here from New Zealand, who then invited me over. So my reason to come here essentially was one to be able to be on that panel for health activism, and, of course, to meet all the trans guys here. [00:03:48] And what was discussed on that panel, [00:03:51] basically, you know, the idea was to be able to see where the disability movement and the trans movement could find inter linkages, and work with each other to be able to talk about it to be to be able to see where they are, what what are the conflicts they are facing with the trans movement, and vice versa, and where we can build bridges. [00:04:10] What was some of the issues that were raised? [00:04:13] Most of the panelists were actually I was the only non New Zealand, Australia on the panel. So some of the issues which they were talking about, and where they were in their movement building is very different from where, what I was coming with. So one, for me, it was, of course, to sort of witness, or what were the issues internally within New Zealand and Australia on their movement building, and to be able to see what we're doing back home. Essentially, as far as the picture back home, is that do we have disability activists back home, and we have some people in the trans, we really can't call it a movement movement yet. But there are pockets of activism in the country. [00:04:53] When you say back home, which country [00:04:55] in India? Yeah. So there are pockets of activism, but we still have not been able to tie up even with each other. And being able to tie up with the disability sector is still I think, some some way away. But it was very interesting to see the kind of stuff they're already dealing with, because they are way up ahead, I think in their movement building. And it was Yeah, [00:05:18] what was some of the things that really stuck out to you? [00:05:22] I think, for example, when I was listening to Hannah, who is a lesbian person and an activist on the disability movement, she was fantastic. Philip was fantastic. And the stuff that they were talking off essentially, what were things, for example, she said that she didn't have access to this venue, as she should have had as a disability person, and which is something which is so age old, in the disability movement, the one thing that they are always talking about is access to spaces. Philip said, I could be disabled or absolutely Well, in a matter of five minutes, depending on what the society provides me in my environment, you know, so stuff like that. I mean, I'm not talking about the larger theoretical stuff that came up, and the actual movement, building conflicts between movements and stuff like that, but very basic stuff in terms of access in terms of responsibilities of others, and how disability, just the concept of disability, how he said, I have stopped using the word disability, now I use the word uniquely diverse. And also to be able to, you know, to be also be able to say that I may be looking in a certain way. But it doesn't mean that I don't get up in the morning thinking, Oh, I'm so disabled today. I get off my bed, and I get on with my day, as you get on with your day, you know. So that's special status that we accord in itself is also problematic, but yet at the same time to say that the rights to be able to have access and the right to be able to have the rights is equally theirs. Yeah. [00:07:10] And how does that tie in with the transgender issues? See, basically a lot of things. [00:07:17] Special specifically, from the health point of view, I think there are a lot of common grounds as far as health is concerned. For example, the idea of at a very, at a very generic conceptual level, the idea of the normal body. Yeah. As medicine or as health imagines normal body. And then from that idea of not being normal comes idea of correction. You know, and that those were, that was one conceptual common link. At a very pragmatic level, for example, the reproductive rights, which neither the trans people have, know, the people from the disability movement have. So reproductive, the right to have your reproductive rights is another common platform that we share with them. [00:08:05] Now, you've both touched briefly on movement building, and that's something to be discussed tomorrow, what will that decision be about? [00:08:12] I know Sunil pants is going to be speaking and he's probably talking about [00:08:18] the movement in Nepal, [00:08:21] I'm actually going to, to, to sort of question or examine the term movement. Because I think that there is a certain expectation that we all operate from the same definition. But that's not true. Asia is very, very vast, Laura history, lot of political kind of landscapes are extremely different. And so people define movement differently. Sometimes people don't want to use the word movement, because of what it can be. And even activism, I think, you know, has to different meanings. So when we looking at that, and then talking about the different models that people have used in and highlight some of the countries in Asia, and then make some recommendations, I think that's what I will be doing. [00:09:17] So this will be nothing in the conference thus far that has challenged you in terms of either viewpoints or ideas. [00:09:26] I was in a workshop this afternoon on interfaith, and sexuality. And I don't know if some of the presenters just couldn't make it, or what happened, but it turned out to be all white people. And even even the person who was talking about, you know, put this Buddhism and [00:09:58] was someone who was talking edit from the perspective of white gay man who had, you know, decided to do the passenger. [00:10:08] So I found that to be rather disconcerting, because I looked around the room. And I saw several people who are from other countries and cultures who probably came to hear different perspectives. [00:10:24] So that was a bit troubling. [00:10:27] I also notice that [00:10:32] there appears to be an age differential at the conference. [00:10:38] And I'm not sure if you are feeling invisible here. I know, there was a caucus, I know there's a workshop. But I don't know how people are feeling about that. I noticed that on the in the plenary sessions, yesterday's plenary, today's plenary didn't have youth, although the people on the panel might argue that with me, because they say who you're not calling you. So I don't know. But just looking, they you know, they didn't seem like youth. And so maybe there might be some young people tomorrow. So I find that to be, you know, given that, so much of the work that we do is is is integrity linked with young, how young people are organizing, and changing, you know, definition of movement building also. So those are the two things I've noticed. [00:11:35] Just to take the point further, actually, from what races already said, I think a lot of other groups like the gender queer people are feeling a little invisible eyes and not being able to be comfortable even I think, on the on the first day, which were we had a very specific way, which was the trans and intersex way. Even within that space, I think they felt a little marginalized the gender queer people. But for me, the biggest challenge actually has been basically I've been completely I, the one thing that I keep that keeps coming to me every day is whether there's ever going to be a moment where we go to have something like this in a more reasonable context. Because I feel that back, you know, we have a lot of work happening back in India and in Asia and South Asia. But to be able to I was a complete, I was almost driven to the point of tears actually on the first first day of mourning presentations, because I don't know, I kind of sensed a certain kind of history, a certain kind of intergenerational linkage, a certain kind of solidarity amongst various spaces here, which I still haven't witnessed in any platform, in a South Asian context. So I've been wondering whether we, whether we will be though there have been surprises, we've had the reading down of Section 377. In India, some time back, and it's come, it came as a surprise, but to be able to imagine that we could have something like this in a more regional context. And in when that would be possible. I can still imagine it. [00:13:10] Looking at here, if somebody is listening to this type of 30 years time, what would you like to say to them? [00:13:17] I'm hoping that we are not going to be having the same discussion. 30 years from now, I'm hoping that we're not going to be [00:13:25] fighting for the same things. But I'd like to be optimistic and I am. [00:13:32] But given how certain trends are sweeping through different parts of the world, from religious fundamentalism, to certain kinds of government backlash, you know, to a certain kind of complacency, I think people may feel that, Oh, well, you know, LGBT people already have, right, we see them on TV now. And, you know, they talk about things openly now. So [00:14:05] it must be okay for them. [00:14:08] And that 30 years from now, we might be, we may not be back to square one, but the people will be still fighting for, for some of the same things. And that the forces that we are fighting against, would as a so well resourced, so well placed, that, you know, they would still be sort of putting barriers in our way, which is one of the reasons I went to the religion workshop. I don't think they call it religion workshop, they might have call it spirit workshop or something like that. But the reason I went there is because I think religion is one of the major forces that can either help or hinder, and right now is hindering. And I think that all these progressive voices and religion were sitting back and was silent, either because they're afraid or because, you know, they're privately supportive, they should be playing the role, a bigger role, you know, with us. And, until that happens, I think that you know, the fringe, very well resourced fringe extremists, in all of the religions, probably going to sort of make sure that not just LGBT people, but people who they consider to be unacceptable and not going to be given equality. So 30 years from now, I'm hoping I'm trying to imagine it 30 years from now, you know, that it would be like a non issue. We know, and I don't even know what that means. There will always be issues, but I wouldn't want it to be at the level of so basic level of, do you do you not accept, you know, homosexuality, do you? Or don't you accept, you know, trans identities and, you know, queer expressions and, you know, diverse expressions of gender? You know, I hope we are not at that basic level. There will always be division, there will always be 10 tensions, I think, issues become more and more complex. I hope we're not at the level of identity politics, which I think is, you know, to some level, so, [00:16:22] actually, I feel [00:16:26] it's very risky question to answer, because, you know, even five years back, it wasn't possible to predict that we will be where we are today. And to imagine what's going to happen 30 years from now, it's like, I wouldn't even want to go there. But I'm just hoping you know, that it will surprise us, like the last five years has surprised us. And you know, it's like a time bomb, which is the sticking under you and you don't know it's going to go off and it will go off. But I would like to imagine that the world will be a completely different place from what it is right now. And don't want to already start imagining what it is going to be like what I'd like to be surprised

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.