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Economic justice and donors

Economic justice and donors

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movements, particularly in developed countries, have not always considered the intersections between social and economic class and sexuality. Yet for poorer people struggling to combat poverty, it is counterproductive to think of sexuality as something that does not link to their economic wellbeing.

There are many intersections between sexuality and the economy. If you are poor you can be more vulnerable to sexual rights abuses. Richer people may have more to lose in terms of social status if they refuse to conform. In some countries, such as China, access to social housing is dependent on being in a heterosexual marriage, in other places LGBT people may find it difficult to find work in the formal employment sector. There is a need to further explore the ways that conformity and non-conformity might affect access to education and income generating opportunities.

International development donor policy and the funding that follows from it can influence the ways in which heteronormativity plays out in different settings. There is very little critical reflection on how heteronormavity shapes the direction of policy or how the enforcement of this policy might reinforce those norms which undermine efforts to recalibrate sexual and gender relations.

Economic and poverty reduction policy and programming that fails to acknowledge the diversity of family and kinship relationships may not reach potential beneficiaries who do not conform to particular norms around gender and sexuality. Development interventions and research which are explicitly organised around ‘families’ and ‘households’ may fail to reach people who live in same sex couples, as single people or in broader kinship or occupational groups. This may entrench marginalisation and discrimination.

Image credits: Vinayak Das/ Flickr under Creative Commons License

Poverty and sexuality: what are the connections?
S. Jolly / Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency 2010
Although the interconnections between sexuality and poverty are under-studied, there is an emerging literature by researchers, activists and organisations, which has been drawn together in this Sida publication. It examines the relati...
Small Powers, Little Choice: Contextualising Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Slums in Bangladesh
S. Faiz Rashid / Institute of Development Studies, Sussex [ES] 2006
What do we mean when we speak of reproductive and sexual rights of women, particularly in the context of extreme poverty and rapid social and economic changes occurring in urban slums in Dhaka City? In this article, I would like to di...