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Conference announcement: The Life and Future of British Colonial Sexual Regulation in Asia


The Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS) invites you to the conference, The Life and Future of British Colonial Sexual Regulation in Asia, organised by Lynette J. Chua (NUS) and Michael Hor (Hong Kong University), to be held at the Moot Court, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, on 8–9 October 2015.

Legal reform surrounding issues of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) is a contemporary phenomenon that generates rich debates and contestations. Whereas the struggles in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States have turned toward the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, parenting, and adoption, most former British colonies continue to deal with the persistence of colonial sexual regulation and its legacies after achieving independence. In the Asian region, Singapore’s Court of Appeal recently upheld the constitutionality of section 377A of the Penal Code, as did the Indian Supreme Court on its section 377. In Malaysia, the government continues to use its revised version of sections 377 and 377A on opposition politicians. In Myanmar, activists are beginning to raise public awareness about their section 377 of the Penal Code. In Hong Kong, although section 377 has been repealed, legal debates have emerged about the age of consent and other post-repeal issues.

These developments raise concerns not only about the rights of SOGI minorities but also questions such as: How do and should today’s courts of independent nations decide on the continuing validity of sexual regulation inherited from the British colonial era? What is the role of legislature? How can SOGI minorities achieve equality and social change? How do and should activists advocate for reform?

The conference features papers from over 15 panellists from, Singapore, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Pakistan and the UK and a Distinguished Keynote address by the Hon. Michael Kirby.

To register for the Conference, please click here.

The Life and Future of British Colonial Sexual Regulation in Asia

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