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Screening of "Boys Who Like Girls" to mark campaign on sexual rights, gender justice

Inka Achté
Counterview Desk
Delhi-based NGO, Restless Development, in collaboration with Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA),  and Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), has launched an advocacy campaign, Youth-led Accountability for SDG5 and FP2020, on the theme, "Engaging men for gender justice and sexual and reproductive and health rights, and understanding the need for sexual health education among college going youth”.
Restless Development is a global agency for youth-led development which supports young people to demand and deliver a just and sustainable world for all. It works to make sure that young people have a voice, a living, sexual rights and are leaders in preventing and solving the world’s challenges. MAVA engages young men and women across India through a travelling film festival, where it screens national and international films, followed by facilitated discussions by experts.
ANHAD is a registered trust whose activities include secular mobilization and sensitizing people about their democratic rights as enshrined in Indian Constitution. It has worked as a pressure group among political circle to take action against communalism, playing a major role in Gujarat to fight against human right violations, as well as in the Kashmir Valley.
As part of the campaign, on January 27, 2019, Restless Development, has planned to screen a documentary film by Inka Achté, ‘Boys Who Like Girls’, produced by Liisa Karpo and Ruchi Bhimani. A joint Finland-Norway-India venture, the 68-minutes film in Hindi, Marathi and English is about the a teenager Ved from Mumbai slums. Ved joins a project aiming to foster healthy masculinity, beginning to realise that there may be a brighter path for his future than the one paved by his abusive, controlling father.
One of Ved's mentors is Harish, in 50s, who has dedicated his life to abolishing toxic masculinity. Through his support Ved takes his first wobbly steps into adult life while developing an unlikely new passion: dancing.
Inka Achté, with over 10 years of experience of working in the film and television industry in Finland and UK, has directing several award-winning short documentaries, and worked at Finnish National Television and independent production companies as director, editor, producer and script writer.
Following the screening of the film, a discussion has been organized, in which Inka Achté will actively participate. The film will be screened in in ANHAD office in West Nizamuddin, New Delhi.

A concept note by Restless Development:

Open data in the hands of young people can effectively drive national and local-level accountability and development progress. Young people with knowledge, skills and platforms can effectively interpret and use data in order to mobilise citizens to take action, and hold their governments accountable for the issues that are most important to young people and their broader communities, within the framework of UN's Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls) and their formal commitments made to Family Planning 2020 -- a global partnership that aims to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.
Activities undertaken by the Youth Accountability Advocates in India are designed to ensure meaningful engagement of young people in decision making process and evidence based awareness generation to hold concerned authorities accountable for their commitments/actions.
The Youth Accountability Advocates have collected data using both qualitative and quantitative tools. They have interviewed 4000+ young people using mobile phones in the states of Delhi Jaipur, Ranchi and Patna on the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice related to Sexual and Reproductive health and gender. In addition, they have also documented the voices of young people through 100+ Focused Group Discussions as well as conducting 100+ Key Person Interviews with gatekeepers, community leaders and service providers.
Rationale
National Health Service of India (NHSI) in a report by J Clin Diagn Res (2014) reveals that sexual crimes, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies are on the rise. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) on 19% girls and 35% boys have a comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Only 6% boys and 2% girls know at what time does a woman get pregnant. Research has shown that a lack of comprehensive sexuality education can significantly contribute to the above.
Bulon’s (2006) findings about urbanization and easy access to blue films or pornography exposes young men to various techniques of sexual intercourse, which can motivate them to experiment with unsafe sex. ME Khan (2004) examining different research studies found out that men’s perception and ideas about masculinity also reduce men’s willingness to use condoms. Young men believe that having sex for a long time without using a condom is an indication of masculine sexual prowess.
Verma and Schensul (2004) in their research found out that there exists significant relationship between non-contact sexual worries and reported symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.
The wide range of non-contact sexual health problems are generally not addressed by qualified government and private practitioners, which leads to a lucrative field of practice for unqualified, untrained providers. During their research they found out that men have reported worries about sexuality including tiredness referring especially to loss of interest in sex, erection problems, overly hasty ejaculation, and various concerns about quality and quantity of semen, including worries about nocturnal emissions.
Khan and Aeron (2014) found out that there exists a significant correlation between men’s sexual health anxiety and risky sexual behaviors which has tendencies of violence and partner abuse. Their findings suggest that there is also a widespread belief that men are biologically designed to need pleasurable sex whenever they desire, which leads to avoiding condom use, forcing their partners to have sex whenever the man wishes. Such concerns are shown mostly by youths, who are often keen for sexual experimentation.
These concerns form the beginning of the journey of working with young people, particularly men, on the need for comprehensive sexuality education to deal with various issues that they face pertaining to gendered norms, stereotypes and their sexual and reproductive health.
A total of 200+ samples was collected from college students across Delhi where they were interviewed on their knowledge, attitude and practice towards sexual and reproductive health. Additionally, the perceptions of faculties with regards to comprehensive sexuality education was also taken into account From the data analysis it was observed that to increase awareness amongst the youth about comprehensive sexuality education.
It is necessary to engage with them by talking about sex, sexuality, contraceptives, relationship and the idea about consent with them. It is important to provide young people with a platform and space within homes, within schools and within college campuses and amongst peers to talk about all the related topics associated with comprehensive sexuality education.
Objective
There is a scope to investigate and explore young men’s perceptions about companionship, consent and femininity. In a digital age short films and documentaries are useful tools for advocacy in college spaces as a medium to examine ‘Youth as agents of social change’ and ‘Engaging men as equal partners to sustain sexual and reproductive health rights' programmes in the Indian context. There are scopes to study the gap areas of such engagement. Innovative programming method can be developed to engage men with gender justice and sexual and reproductive health rights.
The event will bring together diverse voices who have worked on the persistent issues of gender inequality, discrimination, gendered roles and stereotypes and young people’s need for correct information and access to services related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is important that this conversation begins as early as possible.

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