The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) opens a space for us to reflect on good practices. To do so, we must first ponder again upon a question that may seem simple, but that ends up being decisive when considering and addressing the risks faced by the LGBTIQ+ community: why does discrimination occur and what are some of its drivers?
I would like to emphasize that discrimination is an acquired behavior, that is, no one is born discriminating. The forms of discrimination are based on artificial ideas and categories about what society has considered “normal” according to fabricated ideological and cultural parameters. These parameters become truths that, in turn, are reinforced by the social institutions in charge of educating and governing (i.e.: family, mass media, government, school/college, and social networks, among others).
Discrimination can be based on legal, religious and/or medical discourses that can encourage criminalization. This criminalization is rooted in stereotypes, which in turn foster exclusion. These stereotypes do not work in isolation but rather in tandem, which leads us to recognize how systemic inequalities are configured by the superimposition of different social factors in addition to gender, such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, and place of origin, among others. This exclusion impacts the economic development of our countries.
In this context, there are concrete actions that guide IDB policies toward a sustainable international development that considers the importance of LGBTIQ+ populations, also known as SOGIE or SOGIESC, an acronym that refers to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual characteristics.
Under its new Environmental and Social Policy Framework (ESPF), the IDB has a specific gender standard (which includes SOGIESC) that, in its broad definition, addresses impacts that disproportionately affect both women and LGBTIQ+ people as a direct result of operations. In addition to these instruments aimed at the prevention of gender-based violence and the protection of women and LGBTIQ+ people, we also have a Diversity Action Plan implemented by our Gender and Diversity Division (GDI).
The recommendations and good practices found in the ESPF and in the Diversity Action Plan emphasize the need to establish differentiated mitigation measures based on the vulnerabilities identified in the early project assessments. Thus, in our portfolio, you will find projects, such as the community development initiatives, which consider vulnerabilities related to gender and diversity and develop actions aimed at reducing labor gaps, including care burden; as well as other initiatives aimed at the employability, training and inclusion of women and transgender people, for which we have outlined social inclusion plans in areas such as solid waste management and sanitation.
Given what has been said, considering how the aforementioned forms of discrimination are produced can be a great step toward designing interventions for social transformation, as we unlearn how to discriminate. In short, the early identification of vulnerabilities, the inclusive and constant participation of all stakeholders, and the design of differentiated measures are essential steps when it comes to preventing and mitigating the risks that can have an impact on women and LGBTIQ+ communities. We invite you to embrace these steps in favor of more sustainable and inclusive societies, with policies aimed at the well-being of the most vulnerable populations.
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