PUCL, November 2003

Rainbow Planet -
A progressive coalition of groups working for the
rights of sexual minorities

Greetings from Rainbow Planet!

We are a coalition of diverse progressive groups working for the rights of sexuality minorities (homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgenders and others who are oppressed due to their sexual orientation and/or gender expression), sex-workers and PLWHA (People Living With HIV/AIDS) in India. We came together to make our issues visible at the WSF (World Social Forum, 16-21 January 2004, Mumbai, India, www.wsfindia.org). We hope to organise as many events as possible on issues concerning sexuality minorities, sex-workers and PLWHA. We hope to mobilise 1000+ people. We are requesting WSF organisers to allot us an exclusive space for 1000 people for all days, so that all the activities (initiated by us and others) on sexual rights issues can be organised in one common space. We wish to call it 'Rainbow Planet'.

'Rainbow Planet' Concept Note
The struggles of those who come within the rubric of sexual outlaws be they sexual minorities, sex-workers or those who face stigma because of their sexual behavior (i.e. those who are affected by/living with HIV/AIDS) have still to attain the status of a movement. It is to use a metaphor common in queer circles still 'coming out'. It is a newcomer, compared to the more
established activisms of workers, farmers, adivasis, dalits, women and environment. Its 'legitimacy' is still not clear even as sexual outlaws try to claim a place among the communities of suffering. While some spaces have opened out, we are still liable to be dismissed as advocating a personal choice or a lifestyle issue at best or a perversion or deviation at worst.

As an activist friend put it, 'More often than not, the abuse suffered by these subaltern sexual cultures has been made invisible even by the activist community using a convoluted logic that arrogates to itself the ability to calibrate pain. First comes class, then comes caste, then come gender, ecology and so on. If there is any space left on this ark of suffering, then sexuality is included as a humble cabin boy. There is no hope of the last being the first in this inheritance of the meek.'

It is in this context that Rainbow Planet is being organized so as to clearly articulate that that the field of sexuality is deeply political and that sexuality remains a basis of deep and pervasive violence and violation which is often unrecognized, under reported and invisibilized by a politics which stubbornly refuses to grant legitimacy to the struggles and aspirations of sexual minorities, sex- workers and PLWHA. Our objective is not only to put on board the state violence and legal violence which those us, who are sex-
workers, sexuality minorities and PLWHA face but also to put on board
the notion that there is a societal violence as well, the violence of a judgmental attitude that pushes people, who practice or experience their sexuality differently to the very edge of society. The violence of forced circumstances that lead to the acceptance of survival strategies that increases vulnerability to life threatening situations. Also, in the context of changes being created by the crises in the current patterns of globalization and governance that are leading to the destruction and devaluation of livelihoods and life systems of entire communities of people in the global south; to the absolute erosion of all notions of rights or dignity for the
survivors of the violence of trafficking for the purpose of prostitution.

Apart from testifying to the violence, Rainbow Planet through the voices and visions of survivors and resistors will seek to understand and unravel the hidden realities of persons involved in prostitution and sex-work, sexuality minorities and PLWHA, so as to celebrate the survival among incredible odds of a subculture of resistance to dominant notions of sexuality.

The objectives of Rainbow Planet

  • To ensure recognition of sexuality rights as a legitimate human rights struggles based upon the voices of sexual outlaws
  • Advocate for and share widely the issues, concerns and opportunities related to the core theme from the perspective of the victims, survivors and resistors of the violence of stigmatization, discrimination and a judgmental attitude.
  • Provide a forum for people in prostitution and sex-work, sexuality
    minorities and PLWHA from different regions of the world to share, reflect and have a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of stigma
    and discrimination in different contexts.
  • Recognize and build upon the strengths and survival strategies of
    affected persons towards challenging and transforming discriminatory
    social and legal policies and evolving a notion of rights rooted in their realities.
  • Illustrate the critical linkages and the borderless nature of the core issues and the importance of regional networks.
  • Deepen knowledge through dialogue among people in the regions and
    facilitate creative and concrete policies and program action.
  • Reiterate the urgency of the crisis related to governance in the
    global south due to the effects of globalisation and the impact of
    these on trafficking for prostitution.
  • Formulate concrete and relevant follow up actions and campaigns at
    the regional, national and international levels to evolve long term
    sustainable strategies to address the issues.
  • Strengthen regional and national networking among individuals and
    groups on this issue in order to work for more effective action and
    advocacy at various levels.

Present members are Rainbow Planet
Alternative Law Forum (Bangalore), DISC (Bangalore), DMSC (Calcutta),
FIRM (Trivandrum), INP+ (Chennai), Peoples Union for Civil Liberties -
, Sangama (Bangalore), Sangram (Sangli), Sexworkers Forum-
Kerala, SWAM (Chennai), WINS (Tirupati), Vaathil (Kerala), VAMP
(Maharashtra and Karnataka)

Events registered for WSF
We have registered 3 events online (www.wsfindia.org) for 1000 people
each, one event for each of us: sex-workers, sexuality minorities and
PLWHA. We have also registered a common event for 4000 people to have
a dialogue betweens various social movements on sexuality issues. We
need to do a lot of lobbying to make sure that space is allocated for
us at WSF.

The more groups are part of this common effort, the more impact we
can make at WSF by mobilising people, lobbying for space, making our
issues visible, showing our strength in numbers. We invite all the progressive groups/people in India and abroad to join hands with us
to say 'Another World is Possible for sexual outlaws'.

If you wish to join us please send an email to
sangama@sangamaonline.org or sangama@vsnl.net

In Solidarity

for Rainbow Planet


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