CHAPTER 1. GENDER VARIANCE AND THE GENDER DIGITAL DIVIDE

This chapter reviews the inter-relationships between gender and sexual minorities and ICTs, examining the opportunities for access and use, and assessing the pitfalls involved. It provides suggestions for further research and programming to promote gender and sexual equality in ICT.

Policy and research on gender and ICT generally focus on binary categories: male/female, excluding consideration of transgender people, gender identities, and sexual preference. Consequently, they do not capture the true relationship of gender and sexual minorities to ICTs.


The spread of internet access and social media permit gender and sexual minorities to authentically express their gender within their communities, without the stress of medically and/or socially transitioning or pressures of “coming out”. Smart phones and mobile apps facilitate fast, affordable, and culturally relevant dissemination of crucial services such as eHealth interventions to gender and sexual minorities.


However, technology-driven surveillance and cyberbullying of gender and sexual minorities is increasing. These tactics are now common occurrences worldwide, leading to workplace discrimination, physical attacks, blackmail, arrest, detention, torture, sexual assault, and murder of gender and sexual minorities.

Policy and research on gender and ICT generally focus on binary categories: male/female, excluding consideration of transgender people, gender identities, and sexual preference. Consequently, they do not capture the true relationship of gender and sexual minorities to ICTs.


The spread of internet access and social media permit gender and sexual minorities to authentically express their gender within their communities, without the stress of medically and/or socially transitioning or pressures of “coming out”. Smart phones and mobile apps facilitate fast, affordable, and culturally relevant dissemination of crucial services such as eHealth interventions to gender and sexual minorities.


However, technology-driven surveillance and cyberbullying of gender and sexual minorities is increasing. These tactics are now common occurrences worldwide, leading to workplace discrimination, physical attacks, blackmail, arrest, detention, torture, sexual assault, and murder of gender and sexual minorities.

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