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Celebrating 25 years of LGBT+ advancements at the World Bank Group

Emily Bartels Bland's picture
Kristalina Georgieva, Interim World Bank Group President and World Bank CEO, at the 25th anniversary of GLOBE, the World Bank Group Employee Resource Group for LGBT+ staff members. © World Bank
Kristalina Georgieva, Interim World Bank Group President and World Bank CEO, at the 25th anniversary of GLOBE, the World Bank Group Employee Resource Group for LGBT+ staff members.
© World Bank

GLOBE, the World Bank Group Employee Resource Group for LGBT+ staff members, turned 25 this year. On February 19, we held a reception to celebrate our achievements in improving equality and protections for LGBT+ employees at the World Bank Group and discuss the challenges that are ahead of us.

We are a group of LGBT+ employees and allies who have been doing this work for the last 25 years. GLOBE stands on three legs. Firstly, we are a community for LGBT+ staff and employees and allies, secondly we work closely with our partners in HR to make this a more inclusive workplace, and thirdly we work on sexual orientation and gender identity in operations.

Leaving No One Behind - SOGI, Data, and the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework

Maninder Gill's picture
Leaving No One Behind - Photo: Jake Fagan/ World Bank
Photo: Jake Fagan/ World Bank.
Today, I’m participating in the “” conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and reflecting on what it takes to do just that – to ensure no one is left behind.

The fact that this conference is about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and how governments and development institutions can address exclusion based on , causes me to reflect on those who have to face this stigma because they do not conform to the expectations of society.

Too often, the world can feel like a harsh and non-inclusive place for people who don’t fit others’ ideas of how they should look, think, speak, feel, behave – how they should “be”.  I firmly believe that this has real impacts on individuals, communities, and economies.

However, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide great opportunity for more inclusive development – opportunity for a seismic change in human development.  After all, the overarching principle adopted with the SDGs is the theme of today’s conference – “leaving no one behind”.  Whether it’s the SDGs, or the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity, I strongly believe that these lofty goals can only be achieved through economic and of the most marginalized.

Building LGBTI alliances isn’t just for solidarity, but key to shared prosperity

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Also available in: Español | Français 

Show your support for LGBTI Inclusion by tweeting as a #RainbowAlly. (Photo: World Bank)

On May 17, we will join individuals, families, and organizations around the world to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, or IDAHOT.

The annual IDAHOT commemoration is an important reminder – to all of us – that . It matters because it is about fighting discrimination and promoting social inclusion. It matters because it is key to ending poverty and building shared prosperity.

What do we know about the development outcomes of LGBTI people?

Dominik Koehler's picture
We all know, sadly, that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people suffer discrimination and stigma. This happens around the world, particularly in developing countries.  But how does this discrimination affect their lives, their development outcomes? 

Let’s find out.
Shutterstock.com

Three things we need to know about “SOGI”

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture


May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, or IDAHOT.
 
Why should we care about IDAHOT? Because , or SOGI, matters.
 

 
First,
 
Despite some legal and social progress in the past two decades, LGBTI people and violence in many countries. Sometimes, being LGBTI is even a matter of life and death. They may be your friends, your family, your classmates, or your coworkers.

The economic benefits of LGBTI inclusion

Georgia Harley's picture
Civil Rights Defenders/Photo: Vesna Lalic
Civil Rights Defenders/Photo: Vesna Lalic
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people is an all too familiar story. Members of this community are frequent targets of violence and other human rights abuses, and often face prejudice and hardship at work, in their communities, and at home.

Action is needed to address these problems and ensure that everyone – regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity - has an equal chance to live a healthy and prosperous life
This is not only the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense: a growing body of evidence indicates that discrimination against LGBTI people has a negative economic impact on society.

To fight discrimination, we need to fill the LGBTI data gap

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Despite some progress in the past two decades, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Many of them suffer from punitive laws and policies, social stigma, and even violence. They may also be subject to , as well as unequal access to housing, finance, and social services. As a result, LGBTI people are likely overrepresented in the bottom 40% of the population.
 
The adverse impacts on the health and economic wellbeing of LGBTI groups—as well as on economies and societies at large—tell us one thing: exclusion and

We’ve already taken the first steps to address this issue, such as , but there is still a long way to go. Robust, quantitative data on differential development experiences and outcomes of LGBTI people is crucial, but remains scarce especially in developing countries. Such a research and data gap poses a major constraint in designing and implementing more inclusive programs and policies.
 
The World Bank’s SOGI Task Force—consisting of representatives from various global practices and country offices, the , as well as the GLOBE staff resource group—has identified the need for quantitative data on LGBTI as a priority. 
 
On Zero Discrimination Day, the World Bank’s Senior Director and SOGI Advisor explain the urgent need to fill the LGBTI data gap. They’ve also discussed , as well as what can be done to end poverty and inequality for LGBTI and other excluded groups.

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Embracing diversity through new LGBTI surveys in Thailand

Piotr Pawlak's picture
Photo: Talashow / Shutterstock


, and a major player in poverty alleviation.
 
, World Bank

 
As we observe the this month, let’s remind ourselves that tolerance for diversity represents the first step on the path to social inclusion, and that .
 
Yet, around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) people confront multifaceted challenges that prevent them from fully participating in markets, services, and spaces. In some countries, although tolerated, these groups are often at risk of increased discrimination, exclusion, violence, and other vulnerabilities. This robs them of dignity and prevents them from capitalizing on opportunities to lead a better life.
 
For instance, Thailand is a country with multiple regional linguistic, geographical and socio-economic diversities, natural beauty and historical riches, and many localized traditions and cultural practices. Often called the “Land of Smiles,” Thailand, in the eye of the outsider, is a paradise of tolerance, where many sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions are truly to be seen. However, while the demand and support for positive self-identity are growing in Thailand, people with diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions, and identities experience varying degrees of social inclusion.

Gender-based violence: lesbian and transgender women face the highest risk but get the least attention

Saurav Jung Thapa's picture

 
​Strategies to curb violence against women too often exclude the experiences of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women.  is marking this year’s by highlighting the disproportionate violence and discrimination that many lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women face, and calls on the World Bank to develop policies that consider the unique needs of these women.
 
The laws are changing but the violence remains
 
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have made great strides in the fight for full equality. As of today, 34 countries permit or civil unions for same-sex couples, and many other countries have passed vital non-discrimination protections. For example, in the United States, the expanded non-discrimination protections for LGBT people to prohibit shelters and other domestic violence services from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
 
Sadly, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women at the hands of both strangers and intimate partners.  A recent  noted that LGBT people are at a disturbingly elevated risk of homicidal violence, highlighting the increased risk that lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women face because of gender-based discrimination. by the Human Rights Campaign and the estimates that transgender women in the United States face 4.3 times the risk of becoming homicide victims than the general population of women. Factors such as poverty or belonging to a racial minority exacerbated the incidence and rates of violence experienced. Transgender people are also more likely to experience violence from law enforcement, in homeless shelters, and in healthcare settings. The recent served as a stark reminder that transgender people around the world face disproportionate levels of violence: in the United States alone, at least 21 transgender people have been in 2015.

Let love rule: Same-sex marriage in the U.S. and the world

Nicholas Menzies's picture

Celebration in front of the White House on
Friday, June 26.
By the World Bank Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Taskforce*

This past Friday, June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court issued an historic decision in favor of equality – recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to get married across the entire United States. This is a moment of personal joy for thousands of families but also a momentous declaration of what equal protection of the law means. As a global development institution, the World Bank has an international workforce that reflects the diversity of its member countries. We welcome this decision of the US Supreme Court - not only for the justice it brings to LGBT staff, but also because it exemplifies principles that are fundamental to inclusive and sustainable development.

Along with the recent referendum in Ireland, same-sex marriages are now performed or recognized in 24 countries across every region of the globe, except for most countries in Asia – from South Africa to Mexico; Argentina to New Zealand.

Why is marriage important? In the words of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who wrote for the majority in the historic decision of the US Supreme Court, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. ” And through the institution of marriage, LGBT families become visible to the state, and thus entitled to receive the benefits and protections that come with such recognition.

However, the decision on Friday is bittersweet.

Progress in the US and elsewhere comes against a backdrop of continuing – and in some cases worsening – discrimination in many parts of the world. 81 countries criminalize some aspect of being LGBT. ‘Anti-gay propaganda’ laws have rekindled ignorance, fear and prejudice in too many countries, and in 10 countries you can legally be killed simply for being who you are.

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Kristalina Georgieva
Interim President of the World Bank Group and Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank
Annette Dixon
World Bank Vice President, Human Development

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