We come to the end of Pride month, where worldwide we celebrate diversity and call for an end to discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The need to continue to speak out in favour of LGBTI rights is as relevant as ever. Same sex realtionships are criminalized in 69 countries and can face the death penality in 11.
Pride month is an opportunity to bring the LGBTI community together and to honour the history of the movement. It is the occasion to celebrate what has been achieved and to demand what is yet to be done. It is also an opportunity to reflect on diversity and inclusion within the movement itself, and ensure that no one is left behind, particularly the trans community and those who are Afro-descendant.
Pride celebrations all around the world have a widely accepted origin in the events of the Stonewall Riots, also known as the Stonewall Uprising, a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBTI community in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York in June 1969. It is often forgotten that the central figures in these events were, according to historical data, activists Marsha P. Johnson, an African-American trans woman, Sylvia Rivera, a Latin trans woman, and Stormé DeLarverie, a lesbian African American and biracial woman. Pride thus has its origin and exists precisely because of the diversity within the LGBTI community.
Efforts aimed at supporting the LGBTI community in its common challenges must take into account the different obstacles and demands of all its members.
UNDP develops activities aimed at strengthening and developing the capacities of civil society organizations, often with interventions focused on the most vulnerable groups. In Thailand, UNDP has worked with LGBTI groups to support the livelihoods and strengthen the resilience of their members, in particular, transgender people during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Zambia, UNDP in partnership with the Intersex Society of Zambia (ISSZ) is working on projects to advance intersex inclusion and equality. This effort is connected to the regional project “Linking Policy to Programming”, which aims to strengthen HIV and sexual and reproductive health-related rights of young people in Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Through the regional project "Being LGBTI in the Caribbean", UNDP, in partnership with other partners and governments has promoted high-level political dialogues to discuss advancing human rights and socio-economic inclusion of LGBTI people.
UNDP is also moving towards inclusion and diversity in its workforce, as well as toward a workplace free of discrimination. UNDP’s People for 2030 Agenda Strategy builds on diversity as a key element to delivering better results as an organization. Drawing on resources such as the UN-GLOBE Recommendations for Inclusive Workplaces for Trans and Gender Non-conforming Staff, UNDP is ensuring greater inclusion of all gender identities. Other internal efforts, such as the creation of the Team on Anti-Racism and Racial Discrimination and related work, also contribute to ensuring an integrated approach towards a more inclusive workplace free from any type of discrimination.
We have so many accomplishments to celebrate and to be proud of but, equally, we still have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do. Beyond June, let us continue celebrating, advocating, and fighting for inclusion and diversity all year long.