Strategies that have been tried by development agencies (government and NGO) to secure and protect the rights of LGBT people, particularly in Africa, include:
- Action on HIV/AIDS: Donor and NGO concerns about the links between health and economic, social and political vulnerability opened up spaces to talk about the human rights of people marginalised by their sexuality. However, the ‘re-medicalisation’ of HIV/AIDS programming has raised concerns that the focus is shifting away from LGBT rights to access to drugs.
- Legal change: Internationally, governments and NGOs have lobbied hard over the last decade for LGBT rights to be considered as fundamental human rights.
- Supporting LGBT rights in Africa: Several development agencies have provided technical assistance, support to lawyers and activists, and workshops on monitoring and documenting human rights abuses.
- Funding support for civil society advocacy on LGBT issues: these organisations often have detailed knowledge, rooted in local realities, of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
- Development assistance programming (health, poverty reduction, gender, social inclusion etc). To date, however, there is little evidence available on what strategies have been most effective in integrating LGBT rights into development work or what lessons have been learned.
- Aid conditionality tied to LGBT rights, which has been tried by several donors, for example in Malawi, but early evidence suggests that tying bilateral aid to LGBT rights can lead to an anti-LGBT backlash.
It is also useful for development agencies to have a strategic steering document on LGBT rights. Going forward, there is further potential for donor coordination around LGBT rights to share lessons learned.
The query report highlights lessons learned from individual strategies, where these are available, but there remain few comprehensive evaluations, with the exception of Sida’s (2010) evaluation of its action plan.