Advancing LGBTI-Inclusive Development

  • USAID’s LGBT Global Development Partnership promotes foreign assistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in emerging markets and developing countries. Photo by: Patricia Adams/USAID

  • USAID's mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina worked with the U.S. Embassy to illuminate the embassy building in Sarajevo in rainbow colors to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia. Photo credit Nedim Grabovica/

Eighty three countries and territories criminalize LGBT behavior, seven of which may impose the death penalty for same-sex relations. Yet, it is estimated that LGBT people receive less than one-one hundredth of 1 percent of all development funding.*
*According to the Arcus Foundation

Violence, economic hardship, stigma and political marginalization impact the lives of millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals around the world, especially in conflict situations, natural disasters and among refugees and internally displaced persons. Lack of employment opportunities, discrimination in access to health care, housing and education, and infringement on the right to assemble are part of the day-to-day realities of many LGBTI individuals.

“Agencies involved with foreign aid, assistance, and development shall enhance their ongoing efforts to ensure regular Federal Government engagement with governments, citizens, civil society, and the private sector in order to build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons.”   -President Barack Obama, Presidential Memorandum issued Dec. 6, 2011

At USAID, equal access to foreign aid is not only a matter of human rights, but also critical to holistic, comprehensive and inclusive development. USAID proudly champions Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) interests in our policies, practices and initiatives.

LGBTI Human Rights & Inclusive Development

The Agency has a long history of advancing human rights by supporting and assisting marginalized and vulnerable populations. We continue to make progress, taking a lead role in promoting LGBTI-equality efforts through the integration of rights and empowerment in policies and programming.

Through our inclusive development efforts, we work so that all citizens regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity are equally empowered to secure better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. We ensure support for the dignity and human rights of LGBTI individuals as we build partnerships within the U.S. Government, local organizations, the private sector, donors and institutions to protect, secure, and have access to resources and humanitarian assistance for LGBTI individuals and advance development goals.

Our LGBTI-inclusive development efforts are guided by these five principles:

  1. Leadership: Demonstrate commitment to democracy, human dignity, diversity and inclusion through Agency programs and practices.
  2. Non-Discrimination: Adopt employment and programmatic non-discrimination principles and practices with U.S. Government implementing partners.
  3. Protection: Encourage and support legal, cultural and economic reforms that protect LGBTI civil rights.
  4. Mainstreaming: Mainstream LGBTI support in foreign assistance processes.
  5. Country Coordination: Develop policy and programmatic interventions within specific country contexts.


    Resources and Links

    Agency LGBTI two pager PDF for download

    Last updated: February 27, 2014

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