People of diverse sexuality and gender orientation face different forms of discrimination in Malaysia. Some are documented due to its often violent nature. For example, how Ayu, a male-to-female transsexual, was seriously assaulted by officials from the Melaka Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAIM) in 2007. But most remain hidden in the everyday struggles that are faced.
The idea of this project is to surface these hidden stories. And to give a snapshot of how our fundamental human rights are affected because of our sexuality. Whether we are a single mother with multiple partners, men who choose to be celibate, men who have sex with men, women who love women, individuals who enter into relationships with a diversity of people who are somehow outside of what is considered “acceptable” and “normal”, we have all taken on its accompanying costs and risks.
Seksualiti Merdeka affirms and celebrates sexual diversity. It understands that people in this country do not necessarily fit into narrow boxes, but live rich and complex relationships with one another. And that sexuality is a matter of human rights.
Seksualiti Merdeka invite you to collaborate with communities that you are part of, to create expressions and explorations of your rights in relation to sexuality. This can be in the form of paintings, mosaic work, graffiti, wrought plastic, sounds, words or a combination of any creative platform.
The exhibition will be a collection of work by different communities on how they understand one of their fundamental human rights as being affected due to their sexuality.
Use the Yogyakarta Principles as a starting point to frame the range of rights applicable in the area of sexuality and non-discrimination.
Select one of the 29 principles that your community will like to explore. Through conversation, sharing of experiences, knowledge and stories, create a collaborative work that explores and expresses how your community feels that its sexuality rights in relation to the principle is being affected.
Working with a community of young Muslim women, you decide that upon discussion that Principle 6: The Right To Privacy is one that most affect your community at the moment. You can create a 6 feet x 3 feet collage of images that tells a story of how the different aspect of your right to privacy when it comes to sexuality is being regulated. It could be a pastiche of eyes that watches the different spaces that your bodies inhabit. From the streets – veiled eyes – to the school – eyes of Ustaz and Ustazah – to your room – four pairs of eyes from the religious authority – to the mall – eyes that “other” – and so on.
How to participate
If you would like to participate in this exhibition, please fill in the following details and email it to:
seksualitimerdeka2009principles AT gejala DOT org
Or to the individuals coordinating this project:
* Chris: ng.chris2 AT gmail DOT com
* Jac: jac AT gejala DOT org
* Angela: angela AT kryss DOT org
* Kevin: kevinbaker AT mac DOT com
You can also email any of the representatives if you have any questions, or would like to discuss your ideas or plans.
Contact person for the collaborative work:
Selected Yogyakarta Principle:
What common aspect connects your community:
How many people will be involved in creating this work:
What is the creative medium or platform you have chosen:
Since Seksualiti Merdeka will be held from 12-16 August 2009 at the Annexe Gallery, the organisers would appreciate it if you can email us by 10 July 2009.
What are the Yogyakarta Principles?
The Yogyakarta Principles are are developed through an application of existing international human rights laws and documents, which means that they can be enforced by signatories of those documents. In other words, we can use them as an advocacy tool to demand for equal rights and protection for all people in Malaysia, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
You can download a copy of the principles here: http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles_en.htm
What is meant by community?
Community means a group of people who share something in common. This can be in terms of identity such as age, gender orientation, language, sexuality, class, able-bodiedness, ethnicity etc., place of social or cultural life such as online forums, residential area, collectives etc., beliefs or anything else that binds you together.
Communities can be of differing sizes, and is not meant to be representative of everyone who shares the same commonality. Seksualiti Merdekaunderstand it more as the coming together of different people to work on something shared.
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