USAID’s vision is a world in which the human rights of LGBT persons are respected and they are able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence. In this world, the human rights of LGBT persons are upheld; they are able to participate fully in democratic decision‐making in their households, communities and countries; they have equal access to sustainable livelihoods, economic assets and resources; and they are 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. LGBT persons and their allies can come together to advocate for the equal treatment for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
There are numerous urgent challenges facing LGBT persons worldwide and attempts to address these challenges often confront deep‐seated resistance and other barriers. At the same time, however, there are many windows of opportunity to ensure that USAID’s development work is truly inclusive, capitalizing on the forward momentum and increased visibility of work in this sector that has built up over the past few years, especially since the release of the 2011 Presidential Memorandum that required all U.S. agencies engaged abroad to “ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”
The process for developing this Vision for Action was itself a reflection of USAID’s commitment to inclusive development. Countless LGBT, other civil society and faith‐based organizations from around the world were involved in reviewing a draft of this Vision, ensuring a truly global perspective. To move this agenda forward, USAID will adopt the following principles: (1) account for country and cultural context, (2) ensure openness and safe space for dialogue, (3) integrate LBGT issues into USAID’s work, (4) support and mobilize LGBT communities, and (5) build partnerships and create allies and champions. From this set of five core principles for action and based on promising approaches for work on these issues, USAID will prioritize the following “next steps” to ensure that our development work and our workplace elevate LGBT equality:
- Increase capacity for inclusive development within USAID
- Apply selectivity and focus to integration efforts
- Build capacity of local LGBT organizations in developing countries
- Hold ourselves accountable for upholding non‐discrimination requirements
- Expand a learning agenda
This Vision outlines the principles and steps that USAID will follow, in partnership with a wide array of allies and champions, to protect human rights and empower LGBT persons, increase the capacity of LGBT civil society organizations (CSOs), and integrate and elevate attention to LGBT issues in our work, resulting in more transformative development results.