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UN Sustainable Development Goals and the LGBTQIA+ Community

Amy Bryant

June marks the 53rd year of Pride in the United States inspired by the Stonewall uprising. Many strides have been made since, however there is a movement against the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide which threatens this progress. From anti-trans bathroom bills to the rise of hate crimes, the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals are steadily being eroded. However, we can look to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guarantee human rights for this community. While all SDGs can and should be applied to the LGBTQIA+ community and often overlap, I would like to touch on SDG 11 in this post. This goal focuses on making cities safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable for housing, transportation, safe public spaces, and calls for the inclusion of all individuals regardless of their identities including sexual orientation and gender identity. Compared to the general population, LGBTQIA+ people have higher rates of poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, and poorer health due to negative social attitudes against them and discrimination. This community also has their unique needs overlooked in developmental initiatives. We can address this through advocating for the repeal of legislation that discriminates against LGBTQIA+ people that limits their potential for economic and human development. Promoting full legal protections for safe and affordable housing access that is culturally competent, employment protections, and advocating for hate crime legislation is necessary to lower the rates of poverty, homelessness, and promote the health and well-being of this community. There are many challenges we face, both as LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies which seem daunting but there are further ways to advocate for this community. Using the correct pronouns may seem minor, but for the person being addressed it is significant. This signals respect and a willingness to go through the difficult process of unlearning social programming and its male/female binary. It allows them to feel safe to be their authentic selves without fear of discrimination. You may share your pronouns which is a simple way to show that you recognize different pronouns exist and are open to hearing theirs. You may accidentally forget to use the correct pronouns at times which is ok! A quick apology and correction is usually all it takes to get back on track. You can join the UNA-USA Pride Affinity Group that takes action to support the LGBTQIA+ community. You can also find LGBTQIA+ organizations to see if they need volunteers or accept donations. Supporting LGBTQIA+ owned businesses helps reduce economic insecurity among this community. Staying aware of both local and national laws that affect the LGBTQIA+ community and writing representatives takes less time than you may think. There are websites such as the Equality Federation and the Movement Advancement Project. You can sign up for their mailing lists to get the latest news on legislation, and you can easily find your representatives’ contact information for the U.S. House and Senate. Although there are a multitude of challenges, we must and can rise to meet them with our strength, patience, kindness, and courage. The state of the world calls for urgent action to eradicate discrimination and promote positive regard for LGBTQIA+ individuals to prevent further harm. LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights, and we must advocate with this community to guarantee their ability to thrive, live where they wish, and love who they wish. Amy Bryant uses they/them pronouns, holds a Master of Social Work and is a United Nations Association National Council member. They have done extensive research on the LGBTQ+ community and written several academic pieces on the challenges they face in addition to being a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Amybryant.unausa@gmail.com

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