Interview with Gopi Shankar Madurai by Prem Shanker (The Economic Times)

1. What is the significance of the Madrid Summit WorldPride and what is the importance of India's participation in it?

The Madrid Summit is the biggest International Human Rights Conference ever made for LGBTQI issues, with more than 140 speakers, 52 panels and people from all over the world. The Madrid Summit 2017 and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, invited me as one among other observers to the first Global LGBTQI Interparliamentary Plenary Session which will take place on Thursday, 29th of June, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Senate of Spain, in Madrid. I am speaking on four panels.

It’s important for India to show its presence at World Pride Summit because the world should know our own Indigenous gender minorities and gender-specific rituals in India; such events bridge the gap between east and west. This will advance the rights of Intersex and LGBTQ community in India on various spheres of gender activism.
There is a gross misunderstanding about intersex people and the issues they face, not only in India but even in western countries. Many confuse intersex with transgender people. However, they are different since intersex people are born neither female nor male because of ambiguities in chromosomal patterns or genitals.


Gopi Shankar Madurai at Madrid Summit, World Pride 2017 with Paula Madrid Summit Director


2. What are your thoughts about the current situation of gender equality and sexuality rights prevailing in India?

Both present and past governments are not very sensitive towards the issues of Intersex people in India. In a reply to a letter from NHRC on behalf of me, the Health Ministry has only displayed its ignorance. And if you understand that sex and gender is not the same thing, you’d understand why it’s not right for doctors to surgically alter the genitals of an infant in order to fit social norms.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, though, doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with it. “The medical fraternity is well aware of the existence of Intersex persons in the community as they study this subject as part of the medical curriculum,” says the reply by Dr. Anil Sain, Assistant Deputy Director General in the Ministry. “Any kind of invasive medical procedure including sex reassignment surgeries are done only after thorough assessment of the patient, obtaining justification for the procedure planned to be conducted with the help of appropriate diagnostic test and only after taking a written consent of the patient/guardian,” the letter adds.

But exactly how a newborn can give written consent to the doctors is something activists have been wondering about.
We’re not talking about surgeries performed on adults with their consent. We’re talking about surgeries performed on intersex infants, who cannot give consent. Forced sex assignments of intersex infants can also cause long-term health issues. We as a country and individuals never bothered about the Medical Violations on Intersex people and Intersex infanticide is completely neglected.

Our social and political institutions still suffer from gender bias and colonial mindset of the Victorian era. Hence we demand that efforts be made and let the governments and institutions come out with what efforts have been already done in understanding and creating an awareness about the Gender-variants issues in any field, such as law, education, and medical sciences.

Generally, the terms gender, sexuality, and sex are taken to be the same. But they all mean different things. Sex is a biological definition and gender is the self-identity and it also means the sociocultural and behavioral perception, while sexuality refers to the sexual attraction towards a particular sex. That even within the mainstream LGBTQIA+ community in India, the existence of these many genders is largely unknown.

Gopi Shankar Madurai at Asian View Panel 


3. You are presenting a paper on Hinduism and Sexuality at Madrid, what will be the main points you will be making in this presentation and what will be the context in which this paper will be presented. By context I mean, will be your paper be talking mainly about the condition of rights in India or will it look at an international context?

To make it clear I am not presenting any paper on Hinduism but I am representing Hinduism and how inclusive it is. In India, thanks to the colonial legacy of shallow Victorian values, we have come to see this as a deviant behavior or violation. Indian culture is originally abundant with legends and mythologies where heroes and heroines have chosen various genders without guilt and their choices have been accepted and respected. Ironically, today the western nations are progressive in researching and educating about gender and sexuality expressions, while us, despite our rich cultural heritage respecting and accepting gender variations and choices are lagging behind and even lacking that sensitivity. , we certainly lack any basic axiomatic framework pertaining to gender and sexuality, while the foreign universities have even started their own departments and research activities. The most painful condition is that even psychologists are mostly unaware of Gender-variants and their localized issues pertaining to Indian conditions. India’s pre-colonial traditional as well as various localized folk traditions have taken a far healthier attitude in dealing with sex-education, that may surprise many people on both sides of the fence of sex-education who want to map Indian culture with dominant Victorian male value system. Various folk deities and traditions emphasize fluid nature of gender and mythologies have stories that reinforce this idea. So a child growing up will not have a strong shock value or guilt feeling in relating to one’s own sexuality or others as gender-variant. Devi Mahatmya and Mahabharata are two such examples. 

Koothandavartemple festival in Tamil Nadu is another example of local folk tradition organically linked to the pan-Indian culture in dealing positively with creating awareness for and empowering gender-variants. These cultural possibilities need to be taken up and explored to create democratic social space for gender minorities.


Gopi Shankar Madurai on Intersex & Medical Violations Panel

4. the Quasi Government handout - Ayush had recently mentioned that pregnant women should remain free of 'sexual feelings' and came under severe criticism. How do you view such instances? Do you think in the name of culture we are growing increasingly regressive on sexuality?

In the era where activists like us are defying the heteronormative gender roles what some insensitive politicians do in the name of Indian culture which is not really Indian at all.


Gopi Shankar Madurai on Religion & Sexuality Panel

5. How does Hinduism deal with sexuality? And what place do you see for sexuality in Hindutva?

Hinduism is all about indigenous traditions and none of the indigenous traditions are against Homosexuality and Gender variants. I wish the people who identify with Hindutva should first understand Hinduism. There is nothing wrong in being a Hindutva person too; Most of the LGBTQI friendly people I met are Hindutva people.

Madrid Summit Declaration
6. An RSS convention had recently worked on a draft to make India a Hindu Rashtra (country of Hindus) in the next five years. How do you view this and does your paper talk about the political context of Hinduism too? Especially when a right-wing government is in place.

As a person who respects RSS for its service to India, I believe any Philosophy which originates in the present and past geographical location which we refer as India is Hindu philosophy or Indic Philosophy so what they mean is an Inclusive India for Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Shaivas, Vaishnavas, Saktas etc. Abrahamic traditions like Christianity and Islam except Judaism were the biggest threat to both western and eastern indigenous traditions so we must create a healthy space based on Indic values to be more inclusive. My speech will throw light on how to advance the cause of LGBTQIA+ community in Hinduism.


Gopi Shankar Madurai with Zanele Muholi at Madrid Summit closing ceremony

7. We have seen instances of fringe right-wing elements questioning Valentine ’s Day and even attacking women in pubs asking them to wear decent clothes etc. In such a situation do you think the voice of the gender minorities will be heard? Do you think the BJP-led Modi government has to do more?

I don’t know how far these fringe elements are right wing, these extremists should know that artist Ravi Varma is a person who first painted the image of a Hindu goddess with Jacket. I personally don’t believe in Valentine’s Day but I believe Modi should decriminalize Homosexuality in India and also to pass a law to protect Intersex infants and people born, living, identified with Intersex traits in India.

Gopi Shankar Madurai with Paula at Madrid City Council Dinner Reception
8. Do you think global conferences such as the WorldPride Summit will have any impact on the political system and governments across the world? What impact do you think it will have on India?

Yes, definitely it will have an impact on advancing the rights on LGBTQIA+ community in western nations also it paves a path to have a dialogue on LGBTQIA+ in eastern countries.

Gopi Shankar Madurai with fellow guest at Madrid Summit 2017 
9. What do you think are the most important steps India needs to take to ensure gender equality and sexuality rights?

For over a century, women & queer people have undergone a lot of ill-treatment and abuse. We cannot expect the society to change but laws must change to protect the people irrespective of their expandable list of identities and differences, both left and right has lost its humanistic face and addicted to its own political or religious ideology are very dangerous.

The first thing they must have compulsory Gender, Sex, Sexuality education which deals with the diversity in it as a compulsory subject in schools, colleges and government and private spaces. We teach kids rocket science, life beyond earth, where’s America, etc., but we never teach them about their own bodies and these kids are future India.

Gopi Shankar Madurai addressing the closing ceremony of Madrid Summit 2017
10. Are you concerned about the present situation in India where beef ban and Hindu Rashtra is making news while many other issues including gender bias and sexuality rights are ignored?

Indian Government never banned Beef, when Beef is secular pork is secular too. But I am against killing any form of visible human life and animal around us. Respect for all forms of life is spirituality for me. People who talk about Palestine, Kashmir, and Myanmar never bother about Tibet, Yazidis and Red Terror like organ harvesting in China or freedom of speech in the Middle East. Another issue that I have faced and observed is that people have labeled a few political parties as non-supportive of our rights. This holds no truth. A few politicians who do not support LGBTQIA+ rights don’t mean that the entire party is against it. In order to spread our message, we will need to work together and to be able to do so; we must not politicize the issues and rather should focus on our work towards attaining our rights and spreading the awareness. For instance, my book on LGBTQIA was launched by Vanathi Srinivasan BJP Leader in the presence of RSS volunteers; she did help me with getting Justice for Santhi Soundarajan. I concern about people who kill each other in the name of political ideology and religious values they are separating them from the rest of our humanity. It pains me to see that different groups in our community itself fail to understand that there are sub-groups and categories, too. If we do not accept and embrace each other for who we are, how can we expect others to accept us? So knowing our sex, gender and sexuality will give us a right to own our body. We are living in a society where many of us don’t have the courage to own our body and opinions which is different and which makes us unique.

Gopi Shankar Madurai with Madrid Summit Back Stage Team



 Interviewed by Prem Shanker (The Economic Times)


மாற்றத்துக்கான கல்வி: உடலைப் போற்றும் கல்விக்கு ஓர் இனிய தொடக்கம் - வா.ரவிக்குமார்

Link to the article published on The Hindu Daily Tamil Nadu Edition (25 July 2017) மாற்றத்துக்கான கல்வி: உடலைப் போற்றும் கல்விக்கு ஓர் இனிய தொடக்கம் - தி இந்து




தமிழகத்தில் நடைபெறவிருக்கும் பாடத் திட்டச் சீரமைப்புக்கான ஆலோசனைக் கூட்டத்தில் கலந்துகொள்ள அழைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறார் பாலினச் சமத்துவத்துக்காகப் போராடிவரும் மதுரையைச் சேர்ந்த கோபி ஷங்கர். இந்தக் கூட்டத்தில் பால், பாலினம், பாலின ஒருங்கிணைவு (LGBTQIA+) தொடர்பாகத் தன்னுடைய ஆலோசனைகளை ஆசிரியர்களுடன் பகிர்ந்துகொள்ள இருக்கிறார் இவர். இது இந்திய கல்வி அமைப்பில் மிகப் பெரிய மாற்றத்துக்கான முக்கிய நகர்வாகும்.

முதல் தமிழ் குரல்
ஸ்பெயினில் சமீபத்தில் நடந்த பாலின ஒருங்கிணைவு உச்சி மாநாட்டில் தென்னிந்தியாவிலிருந்து முதன் முதலாகப் பங்கெடுத்தார் கோபி ஷங்கர். ஐரோப்பிய நாடாளுமன்றம் மற்றும் ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் சபையின் துணையுடன் நடத்தப்பட்ட இந்த விழாவில் 12 ஐரோப்பிய ஐக்கிய ஒன்றியத் தலைவர்களோடு கோபியும் உரையாற்றினார் . கோபியின் உரை ஜூன் 29 தேதி பொதுப் பார்வைக்காக ஸ்பெயின் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் வைக்கப்பட்டது.
Very Honored to be part of historical Madrid SummitDeclaration Reading on 28th June 2017 which is presented at the Interparliamentary session of Spain today on 29th.
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/_gPxo666pn8
Sharing the chair In the presence of Federico Mayor Zaragoza a Spanish scientist, scholar, politician, diplomat, and poet. He served as Director-General of UNESCO, President, Instituto DemosPaz y International Commission Against the Death Penalty.
Helen Kennedy from ILGA World
Myrna Cunningham Kain: President, Center for the Autonomy and Development of Indige- nous Peoples. Ex, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Maurice Tomlinson: Lawyer, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
Zanele Muholi: Visual Activist and Photographer.
Moderated by Mark Frederick Chapman: Ex-President, InterPride.
கடந்த 2016-ல் இளம் சேவகர்களுக்கான காமன்வெல்த் விருது பெற்ற கோபி ஷங்கர், ஸ்பெயினில் உள்ள மாட்ரிட் பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் 3 நாட்கள் 4 தலைப்புகளில் உரையாற்றினார் . ஸ்பெயின் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் ஒலித்த முதல் தமிழ் குரல் என்கிற பெருமை மட்டுமல்லாமல், ஸ்பெயினின் பாடத் திட்டத்தில் மாற்றுப் பாலினத்தவர் குறித்த கல்வி மற்றும் அவர்களின் உரிமை குறித்தும் பேசியவர் என்கிற பெருமையையும் பெற்றுள்ளார்.

இந்தியாவிலேயே முன்மாதிரியாகத் தமிழகத்தில் இப்படி ஒரு முயற்சி நடப்பது பாராட்டுக்குரிய விஷயம். பாட வரையறைக் குழுவோடு பேசுவதை எனக்குக் கிடைத்த பெரிய வாய்ப்பாகப் பார்க்கிறேன்” என்கிறார் கோபி ஷங்கர்.தற்போது தமிழக மாநிலக் கல்வி ஆராய்ச்சி மற்றும் பயிற்சி (State Council for Educational Research and Training) குழுவிலும் கலந்துகொள்ளவிருக்கிறார். இது குறித்து பேசுகையில்,“பால், பாலினம், பாலின ஒருங்கிணைவு தொடர்பான புரிதலை பாடத்திட்டத்தில் சேர்ப்பதற்காக ஒரு முயற்சி எடுக்க இருக்கிறோம்.

பாடங்களைத் தவிர்க்கும் ஆசிரியர்கள்

மேலும் அவர் கூறுகையில், “சென்னை அண்ணா பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் இம்மாதம் இறுதியில் ஆசிரியருக்கான ஒருங்கிணைவில் பேச இருக்கிறேன். மதிப்பெண் பட்டியலின் வடிவமாகத்தான் மாணவர்களை நாம் பார்க்கிறோம். ஒரு குழந்தைக்கு உலக வரைபடத்தில் இந்தியா இந்த இடத்தில் இருக்கிறது என்று காட்டுவதற்கு முன், தன் உடலில் இன்னின்ன பாகங்கள் இந்த இடத்தில் இருக்கின்றன. அது இன்னின்ன பணிகளைச் செய்கின்றன என்று தெரிந்திருக்க வேண்டும். எத்தனை பெற்றோர் மாதவிடாய் குறித்து அவர்களின் பெண் குழந்தைகளிடம் பேசுகிறார்கள்?
ஒரு மாணவரை அணுகும் முறையிலேயே பல ஆசிரியர்களுக்குச் சரியான புரிதல் இல்லை. இது ஒரு நல்ல முயற்சியின் தொடக்கம். தொடர்ந்து இதுபோன்ற நிகழ்வுகளின் மூலமாகத்தான் பொதுச் சமூகத்தில் பல மாற்றங்களை உண்டாக்க முடியும். ஏற்கெனவே நம்முடைய பாடத் திட்டத்தில் இருக்கும் உடல் பாகங்கள் குறித்த பாடத்தைச் சொல்லித் தராமல் தவிர்த்துவிடுகிறார்கள் பல ஆசிரியர்கள். அதைத் தவிர்க்காமல் மாணவர்களுக்கு நடத்த வேண்டும்” என்கிறார்.
 With Randy Boissonnault, Canadian MP, Advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on LGBTQ2 issues with Michele Ndoki African Advocate for LGBTQIA rights.

பாடப் பிரிவே வேண்டும்

`ஜென்டர் சயின்ஸ்’ என்று ஒரு பாடப் பிரிவு அவசியம் என வலியுறுத்துகிறார் கோபி. மொழி, அறிவியல் பாடங்களுக்கு இணையான முக்கியத்துவம் அதற்கு அளிக்கப்பட வேண்டும். பிறப்பால் ஒருவர் ஆண், பெண், இடையிலிங்கத்தவர் (Inter Sex) ஆகவோதான் பிறக்க முடியும். இதைத் தகுந்த முறையில் மாணவர்களுக்குப் புரியவைக்க வேண்டும். இது புரியாமல்தான் ஆண்டுக்கு 10 ஆயிரம் இடையிலிங்கமாக பிறக்கும் குழந்தைகள் மரணமடைகின்றனர் என்கின்றது ஐ.நா.வின் புள்ளிவிவரம்.

ஸ்பெயின் நாட்டுக்கும் பரிந்துரை

மாட்ரிட் பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் `இன்குளுசிவ் கேம்பஸ்’ என்றே இருக்கிறது. மாற்றுத் திறனாளிகளுக்காகப் பல ஆயிரம் யூரோக்களைச் செலவுசெய்து தனிப் பாதைகளை அமைத்திருக்கின்றனர். “சாதாரணமாக இருக்கும் 1000 பேருக்கு மாற்றுத் திறனாளி ஒருவரை ஈடாக நாங்கள் நினைக்கிறோம் என்கிறார் அந்த நாட்டின் அதிபர். மாற்றுத் திறனாளிகளிலேயே மாற்றுப் பாலினத்தைச் சேர்ந்த மாணவர்களும் படிக்கின்றனர்.

மேட்ரிட் நகர கவுன்சிலர் பிராவோவுடன்
கல்லூரிகளில் மாற்றுப் பாலினத்தவருக்கு (LGBTQIA+) சிறப்பான பல கொள்கை முடிவுகளை அந்நாட்டு அரசாங்கம் ஏற்படுத்தி இருக்கிறது. அங்கு மாற்றுப் பாலினத்தவர்களை கிண்டல்செய்வது தண்டனைக்கு உரிய குற்றமாக இருக்கிறது. நாட்டில் கல்விக் கூடங்களில் பணியிடங்களில் அவர்களைப் பாதுகாப்பதற்கான சட்டங்கள் வலுவாக இருக்கின்றன என்பதை சுட்டிக்காட்டுறார் கோபி.
“ஒருசில ஐரோப்பிய நாடுகளில் இல்லாத சிறப்பை நம்முடைய அரசியலமைப்புச் சட்டம் கொண்டிருக்கிறது. அம்பேத்கர் மிகவும் கவனமாக ஆண், பெண் பேதமின்றி இதை நிறைவேற்றியிருக்கிறார். அங்கு ஆண், பெண் என்று குறிப்பிடப்பட்டிருப்பதை நீக்கும் பணியில் தற்போது ஈடுபட்டிருக்கின்றனர். ஐரோப்பாவிலேயே இண்டர்செக்ஸ் பற்றிய புரிதல் இல்லையே தவிர ஒதுக்கும் போக்கு இல்லை. அதனால் அந்தப் பாடத் திட்டங்களிலேயே இந்தப் புரிதலை ஏற்படுத்தும் ஆலோசனைகளை ஸ்பெயினில் நடந்த உச்சி மாநாட்டிலேயே நான் தெரிவித்தேன்” என்கிறார் அவர்.

உடல் குறித்த புரிதல்

“ராக்கெட் சயின்ஸ் பற்றிப் பேசுவதற்கு முன் நம் உடல் குறித்துப் பேசவேண்டும். மாதவிடாய் குறித்துச் சரியான புரிதல் இல்லாத பெண்களும் இருக்கிறார்கள். உடல் குறித்த அறியாமையை மாணவர்களிடமிருந்து போக்க வேண்டும். அதற்கான விழிப்புணர்வு மருத்துவர்கள், சட்ட வல்லுநர்கள், ஆட்சியாளர்களுக்கு வரவேண்டும்.
இவர்களைவிட ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு முதலில் விழிப்புணர்வு வர வேண்டும். அதற்கான சிறிய முயற்சியாகத்தான் இதைப் பார்க்கிறேன். என்னைப் பொறுத்தவரை, ஒரு நாட்டுக்கு இறையாண்மை எப்படி முக்கியமோ அதைப் போன்றே ஒவ்வொருவரின் உடலுக்கும் ஓர் இறையாண்மை இருக்கிறது. அது காப்பாற்றப்பட வேண்டும்” என்கிறார் கோபி.

Report on Intersex babies from Madurai Government Hospital

 பெண் சிசு வதை பற்றி நாம் பேசும் அளவுக்கு இடையிலிங்க குழந்தைகள் பற்றி பேசுவது இல்லை. ஒரு ஆண்டுக்கு 10000க்கும் மேற்பட்ட இடையிலிங்க குழந்தைகளுக்கு பிறந்தவுடன் பாலினம் மாற்றப்படுகிறது அதில் சிலர் கொள்ளப்படுகிறார்கள். #SaveIntersexBabies #Intersex

Certificate Course on Ettingerian Psychoanalysis


SRISHTI MADURAI
Srishti Madurai Educational Research Foundation

As registered under 5/14 of THE INDIAN TRUSTS ACT, 1882
                            Certificate Course on Ettingerian Psychoanalysis

Aims of the Programme:
1.       To give an understanding of the Matrixial theory of Bracha L Ettinger.
2.       To study the role of Matrixial theory in Psychoanalysis.
3.       To study the role of Ettingerian Psychoanalysis in contemporary feminism.

Applicants:-
Anybody interested in knowing about Ettingerian Psychoanalysis can apply for this course. The applicant must be able to speak and write in English or Tamil. There is no age limit for this program.

Careers:
This certificate program can be useful for people involved in Psychoanalysis-Psychology, Cultural Studies, Humanities and art, artists and art analysts, feminists  etc.

Course  Structure:
1). This Course is an online based course. Once in a week the students will receive one lecture from the tutor and the full week is devoted for the course discussion and assignments. Each unit is valued by a course assignment.
2). You can take this Course at any time in a year.
2). There are three Tracks in the course.
Track A- Fully Online based Course
Track B- The Course is offered as a seminar or workshop based on the request by the institutions interested in having this course.
Track C- The Course is fully Online and the Person do a research work at the end of the Course based on the request by the interested applicant. 

3). Course Modules
1. History of Psychoanalysis
2. Introduction to basic Lacanian Psychoanalysis
3.Life and Works of Bracha L Ettinger
4.Matrixial Theory- Definition and Basics
5.Co-poiesis , co-in-habituation, Heimlich Effect
6. Metramorphosis
7. Ettingerian Concept on Art
8.Ettingerian Concept on Woman

Assesment:
The assessment will be based on the assignments for each module. The total assessment will be for 100 marks.

Application:-
Interested applicants are requested to contact us at srishti.genderqueer@gmail.com.

Course Completion:
Once the Course is successfully completed the student receives a Certificate of Completion from Srishti Madurai signed by Bracha L Ettinger herself.

Course Fee:
The course fee is 3000 INR. However Srishti Madurai offers scholarships for people who are genuinely interested in the course, but unable to cover the complete fee.

Telephone: 9042462205, 9092282369.


Certificate Course on Mary Magdalene

Light and Love from Srishti Madurai.

We are offering a Certificate Course on Mary Magdalene. The official details of the Course are available here.
SRISHTI MADURAI
Srishti Madurai Educational Research Foundation

As registered under 5/14 of THE INDIAN TRUSTS ACT, 1882
                                                   Certificate Course on Mary Magdalene
Aims of the Programme:
1.       To give an understanding of the Role of Women in the Ministry of Lord Jesus Christ especially through the study of Mary Magdalene.
2.       To study the role of Mary Magdalene in the Church.
3.       To study the role of Mary Magdalene in contemporary feminist and queer activism.
4.       To incorporate Mary Magdalene as the model of Christian discipleship and apostolate.
5.       To understand the Contemporary issues surrounding Mary Magdalene.
6.       To gain an understanding of Mary Magdalene in History research and Biblical research.
Applicants:-
Anybody interested in knowing more about Mary Magdalene or to gain an understanding the role of woman in the ministry of Jesus Christ can apply for this course. The applicant must be able to speak and write in English or Tamil. There is no age limit for this program.
Careers:
This certificate program can be useful for people involved in Church Ministry, feminists, Faithful laity who are the devotees of Mary Magdalene etc
Course  Structure:
1). This Course is an online based course. Once in a week the students will receive two lectures from the tutor and the full week is devoted for the course discussion and assignments. Each unit is valued by a course assignment.
2). You can take this Course at any time in a year.
2). There are three Tracks in the course.
Track A- Fully Online based Course
Track B- The Course is offered as a seminar or workshop based on the request by the institutions interested in having this course.
Track C- The Course is fully Online and the Person do a research work at the end of the Course based on the request by the interested applicant. 
3). Course Modules
1. General Introduction to Mary Magdalene.
2. Mary Magdalene in Canonical Scriptures
3. Mary Magdalene in Apocrypha and Lost Gospels
4. Various identities of Magdalene
5. Mary Magdalene in art and popular culture
6. Mary Magdalene in the life of Saints.
7. Mary Magdalene in Social issues: Feminist and Queer studies.
8. Mary Magdalene in History and Recent archaeology.
Assesment:
The assessment will be based on the assignments for each module. The total assessment will be for 100 marks.
Application:-
Interested applicants are requested to contact us at srishti.genderqueer@gmail.com.
Course Completion:
Once the Course is successfully completed the student receives a Certificate of Completion from Srishti Madurai.
Course Fee:
The course fee is 3000 INR. However Srishti Madurai offers scholarships for people who are genuinely interested in the course, but unable to cover the complete fee.
Telephone: 9042462205.


Who are guardians or parents to choose a gender for an #intersex infant? - Response from the Health Ministry India regarding Intersex Issues

Activists say surgical 'correction' of intersex babies at birth wrong, govt doesn't listen - Ragamalika Karthikeyan, The News Minute (Feb 3 2017)

In a reply to a letter from an intersex rights activist, the Health Ministry has only displayed its ignorance.

Activists who have been fighting for the rights of intersex persons have got another confirmation that the government is neither aware of their issues, nor is it willing to listen.

Gopi Shankar, an activist from Madurai and the first intersex person to contest an Assembly election, wrote to the National Human Rights Commission in November, demanding a ban on Sexual Reassignment Surgeries (SRS) on intersex infants. The NHRC had forwarded Gopi’s petition to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, directing it to reply within 8 weeks.

The government has sent their reply on time. But the reply itself is appalling.

‘Intersex’ is an umbrella term used in a variety of cases, where a person’s reproductive or sexual anatomy does not match the typical definition of ‘male’ or ‘female’. They could have ambiguous external genitalia or internal reproductive organs, chromosomal variations other than xx or xy, hormonal variations etc.

An intersex person is different from a transgender person; while intersex/sex characteristics are biological, transgender identity depends on a person’s experience of their gender. All human beings experience their gender differently, and you are cisgender if you identify with the gender you’re assigned at birth, and transgender, if you don’t.

And if you understand that sex and gender are not the same thing, you’d understand why it’s not right for doctors to surgically alter the genitals of an infant in order to fit social norms.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, though, doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with it. “The medical fraternity is well aware of the existence of Intersex persons in the community as they study this subject as part of medical curriculum,” says the reply by Dr Anil Sain, Assistant Deputy Director General in the Ministry.

“Any kind of invasive medical procedure including sex reassignment surgeries are done only after thorough assessment of the patient, obtaining justification for the procedure planned to be conducted with the help of appropriate diagnostic test and only after taking a written consent of the patient/guardian,” the letter adds.

But exactly how a newborn can give written consent to the doctors is something activists have been wondering about. “We’re not talking about surgeries performed on adults with their consent. We’re talking about surgeries performed on intersex infants, who cannot give consent.” asks Gopi Shankar.

Forced sex assignments of intersex infants can also cause long term health issues.

LGBTQIA activist and PhD student Leeny says, “How do you assign a gender unless the child grows up and tells what gender they identify with? Guardians cannot choose the sex of their babies.”

“They claim that the medical students study about intersex community in their coursework. But even today, doctors across the country don’t know the difference between a transgender person and an intersex person. The frequently confuse gender identity and biological sex,” Gopi said.

And while the government should be creating awareness about these issues, they themselves are ignorant. This is evident in the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill tabled in Parliament, where they have confused the definition of transgender person, and have left out intersex persons completely. In fact, by their definition, intersex persons are implicitly assumed to be trans.


For activists like Gopi, what’s important is that the Fundamental Rights of intersex persons be respected. “In a country where female infanticide is still prevalent, can you imagine what people would do to intersex infants? When there is no awareness about us, when we’re not even part of the Census, how can the government get away with such a lethargic response to such a serious issue?” Gopi asks.