Gender and sexuality reader

xwhy cover with logo, an illustration of two people against a black background with a road and the XwhY logo in the top corner. Artwork by Haisam Al Saiegh
Artwork by Haisam Al Saiegh

The Gender team at IMS produced a reader in 2020 that included a digest of what partners produced from around the world that year, and it was introduced as a Gender Reader.

Given the positive feedback on this reader, the Syria Programme decided to produce an inclusive annual Gender Reader. This reader seeks to cover a periodical selection of media content produced by the Syria Programme’s partners on gender and sexuality, covering the period between January to December each year.

A survey was prepared to share with the Syria Programme’s partners, which included questions about the relevant published stories and articles, categorisation of those stories, how audience perceived them and the nature of discussions and impact around them. Besides questions on the challenges, obstacles and risks.

The partners shared 142 different pieces of content with the reading panel. Following a thorough review, a shortlist of 72 pieces of content was selected for this reader.

Syria team received different categorisations of gender related content from partners. The reader’s sections were, however, categorised following three main criteria:

  1. Diversity of the content: to include gender and sexuality related content that represent problems and challenges faced by women and LGBTQIA+ communities in Syria and the region.
  2. Quantity of the content handling the same topics or approaching the topics in similar ways.
  3. Diversity and geographical and regional representation.

This categorisation helped outline the reader’s structure and showing the diversity and complementary nature of the content produced by the different partners, besides highlighting the importance of the data and the input provided by the partners.

The reader

The intersections between the data and the different contexts around them contributed to designing the reader as a story that batches in the panorama drawn by the partners.

The ultimate visual presentation was a result of endless conversations with the illustrator. Where the illustrations embodied the content ideas, feelings, sufferings and challenges to create several layers of reception.

The reader tries to include all the voices coming through the texts, which are simultaneously closely connected to the trajectories of their authors and the people these texts were about, their informed and free decisions, which were not imposed on them by the X and Y genes. This is where the reader’s title comes from: “XwhyY”.

Each piece of material is hyperlinked to the source using a Gender Star (*) at the end of each quotation.

The reader is entirely composed of quotations and unedited texts chosen from the material published by IMS partners. However, there are few editorial contributions to link together the pieces of content and to ensure smooth transitions between them.