Advancing LGBTI-Inclusive Development

  • Learn about our new policy promoting and supporting the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals

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  • 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.

The USAID Vision for Action demonstrates the Agency’s commitment to LGBT inclusion. It provides a set of overarching core principles for engagement on LGBT inclusion and further socializes LGBT inclusion throughout the Agency. USAID’s vision is a world in which the human rights of LGBT persons are:

  • Respected and able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence.
  • Able to participate fully in democratic decision-making in their households, communities and countries.
  • Have equal access to sustainable livelihoods, economic assets and resources.
  • Not barred from accessing the basic education, health and other services that are enjoyed by their fellow citizens and that are essential for personal well-being and growth.


Resources and Links

Agency LGBTI two pager PDF for download [PDF]
LGBT Vision for Action: Promoting and Supporting the Inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals [PDF]


Last updated: July 24, 2014

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