The Gender Beat: France Scraps Sterilisation Law For Transgenders; Wide Gender Gap In Technology Use In India

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality.

For LGBTQ survivors of violence of colour, there are additional barriers of fears of racism when attempting to access social support when in a violent relationship. Credit: Reuters

For LGBTQ survivors of violence of colour, there are additional barriers of fears of racism when attempting to access social support when in a violent relationship. Credit: Reuters

LGBT community in US faces discrimination over domestic violence claims, report finds

A report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has found that LGBT and HIV-affected people in the US face widespread obstacles to basic help and services when they report incidents of violence by an intimate partner.

Intimate partner violence, according to The Guardian, includes physical and verbal abuse, as well as threats and intimidation, by current and past lovers and occasionally by roommates.

An analysis of nearly 2,000 incidents that were reported to NCAVP member organisations last year reveals that survivours of violence were often denied basic services and were treated as criminals when they reported violence.

One-third of the people who reported incidents of violence, according to the report, said they themselves faced arrest thereafter. A quarter of the people found the behaviour of police to be “hostile” or “indifferent” and according to the report, half of those who sought access to an emergency shelter upon reporting an incident of violence were denied.

According to the report, for LGBTQ survivors of violence of colour, there are additional barriers, such as the fear of racism, when attempting to access social support when in a violent relationship.

The organisation has also found that the incidence of intimate partner violence involving physical and financial abuse on transgender women was three times higher when compared to other identities within the LGBT community.

It has also been found that more than 70% of those reporting violence were denied entry into shelters because of their identified gender.

According to Sylvia – a trans woman who sought help from a local domestic violence shelter and whose name has been changed for anonymity in the report – she had to use a men’s shelter to obtain help, “but they could not guarantee my attacker would not enter the shelter. They had no protocol for LGBT anything.”

France scraps transgender sterilisation law

LGBT rights activists in France welcomed a legislation allowing transgender people to legally change their gender without undergoing sterilisation.

Activist group ILGA-Europe, according to BBC, called it “clear progress” that “another European country has dispensed with the shameful practice of sterilisation”.

Since 2014, Denmark, Malta and Ireland have allowed people to legally change their gender by simply informing authorities rather than undergoing any medical or state intervention, Telegraph reports.


France adopted a new gender legal legislation last week. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A report by the rights group – that has been campaigning for a change in French law for two years – ranked France ninth out of 49 European countries basing scores on laws, policies and practices that affect LGBT individuals.

“These are years of sparring that finally come to fruition,” spokeswoman Sophie Aujean told Reuters. “There is no other population in the world that is asked to be sterilised apart from transgender.”

Wide gender gap exists in technology use in India 

In a recent story in Bloomberg, Justin Fox wrote about the vast gender gap in technology in India where an estimated 114 million fewer women own a mobile phone. Even when women do have phones, they are often only able to use them for making calls. The GSMA estimates that 55% of women with phones in India have never even sent a text message.

Technical literacy, according to a GSMA report, is a major barrier for Indian women.

“We are not educated so we don’t know how to use it and are afraid of using the wrong button,” said one user.


There exists a wide gender gap in technology in India. Credit: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

The gap, however, is not limited to only the ownership of phone. Only 30% of internet users in the country are female, according to estimates by the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

A 2014 survey by the government of India found that less than 10% of women surveyed knew how to do an internet search or send email compared with more than 16% of males.

The gap also extends to social media as the country has three times as many men users of Facebook as compared to women. According to Wall Street Journal, in most other parts of the world, the ratio is about one to one.

According to a report by the UK consultancy We Are Social, countries poorer than India –including Cambodia and Myanmar – did better, each with more than 35% female Facebook users.

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