How does an acceptance and acknowledgment of sexuality change development policy and practice? The Guardian reports a panel discussion on suggestions from development professionals:
Turn around the negative framing of sexuality in development: When development work deals with sexuality issues, the approach is often negative. Sexuality is seen as a problem: you hear about rape, violence, abuse, rather than pleasure, willingness, or happiness. Development work often also portrays women as powerless victims. It would be beneficial to include a feminist approach to sexuality and women’s empowerment.
Resource – how to factor sexuality into policy: One of the most effective tools we’ve been using at IDS recently is heteronormativity – the assumption that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation – as a framework to examine how policies that should allieviate poverty make presumptions about populations and family units. The outcome of not using this approach is that sexual minorities are excluded and invisible in development interventions.
NGOs and donors should facilitate, not lead: Community leaders are the best agents to lead change in this space. In Vietnam, changes are taking place thanks to the leadership of LGBT people. NGOs and donors should take a facilitating role only. It is important to give voice to communities as they know their concerns best.The question is, how to facilitate the leadership of LGBT groups? In our experience, thanks to the internet, many online communities have existed and developed to serve LGBT communities. It might start with dating, come-out experience sharing, or mutual support in health-care or coping with violence. As outsiders, NGOs and donors must be patient and respect the pace of LGBT leaders.