Pride Month provides us with an opportunity to remember that, while there is much to celebrate, there is still a long road ahead. The progress of the last decades highlights the importance of articulated work at local and regional levels to detect how discrimination and stereotypes around gender identity and sexual orientation are produced and reproduced.
Among the lessons learned, one of the challenges continues to be how to better integrate different policy strategies with mitigation measures and promote the active participation of stakeholders. In the case of the IDB, this is achieved through the Environmental and Social Policy Framework (ESPF) and its specific standard on gender equality (ESPS 9) that covers people of all genders.
To further promote equality, we work, among others, on two fundamental pillars:
- Strengthening the capacities of our partners to identify violence and develop measures to address and prevent it.
- Promoting consultative processes that foster stakeholder engagement, including ongoing communication channels; communication and awareness campaigns that prevent discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation; development of community prevention plans; contractor codes of conduct; support for people who have experienced violence; and grievance mechanisms.
Given that only 16 of the 33 countries in the region have explicit protections against anti-LGBTQQ+ discrimination in the workplace, capacity building and stakeholder engagement are vital.
Discrimination with multiple repercussions
Understanding how discrimination occurs and how it can be transformed can strengthen efforts toward gender equality. There are various manifestations of discrimination and different spheres of impact, including social, professional and political life.
For example, the way we name can give rise to a manifestation of discrimination. The right to change one’s name and sex is relevant because not having official documents that match one’s identity is one of the main sources of discrimination for transgender people. By denying them access to a legal name change, they are exposed to situations of exclusion and stigmatization, which may include: expulsion from educational institutions on the grounds that individuals are failing to comply with personal presentation requirements specific to their gender; accusations of fraud in the work environment, as official titles may not match the person’s current name and identity; assignment to gender-segregated facilities based on their assigned sex at birth and not their gender identity in shelters or detention centers, which puts trans women (i.e., persons assigned to the male gender at birth) at very high risk of sexual and physical violence; denial of health services, including sexual and reproductive health, and services related to their gender transition, among others.
Under the ESPF, the risks of violence are explicitly addressed and the importance of empowering women and people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity to achieve equality is recognized. The IDB is also developing a guide to support the design and implementation of measures to prevent and address discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation in its projects.
Identifying the origins of discrimination and understanding the intersections between its different manifestations allows us to address inequalities in a timely and comprehensive manner. Realizing, for example, that biases based on gender identity and sexual orientation interact with other inequalities based on socioeconomic, ethnicity, race, disability, migration status, and other factors, gives way to an approach that expands opportunities for all stakeholders for sustainable project development.