Education, Lifestyle

LGBTIQ+ Inclusion

Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves equal access to opportunities and services and their safety should be protected.

Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves equal access to opportunities and services and their safety should be protected.

However, young people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex or Questioning (LGBTIQ+) are among the most marginalised and excluded members of society. They are particularly vulnerable to stigma, violence and discrimination, due to their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

This can have lasting consequences on their social and psychological health and have substantial adverse effects on society as a whole.

What is the problem?

Legal challenges, combined with gender inequality, harmful social norms and practices towards people who identify as LGBTIQ+ fuels stigma, discrimination and violence, often to an extreme level. 

Challenges related to identifying as LGBTIQ+ often combine with other factors of exclusion, such as age, race, and religion, making gender inequality and exclusion often worse for LGBTIQ+ youth.

Harmful views are sometimes promoted to young people by those central to their lives, such as their peers, parents, teachers or religious leaders. However, these groups can also be valuable in driving the change in society that leads to inclusion for all children. 

What are the consequences?

Stigma and discrimination can negatively impact the rights of LGBTIQ+ youth. In addition to their fundamental right to live free from violence and discrimination, bullying can lead to an increased likelihood of avoiding school and of low personal and academic self-esteem. 

This can then also limit future employment options for LGBTIQ+ people. In some contexts, the challenges of identifying as LGBTIQ+ can lead to an increased risk of homelessness or increased likelihood of entering sex work as a means to survive.

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LGBTIQ+ youth are at higher risk of threats and verbal, physical and sexual abuse and yet may be unable to secure help and support from those whose duty it is to protect the community.  

There are often extra challenges in accessing proper sexual health services due to discrimination or lack of expertise among service providers. Sex education, if there is any at all, is often heteronormative (seeing heterosexuality as the norm in society) and not address the needs of LGBTIQ+ youth. 

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” – Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly.

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