Published on Voices

Three things we need to know about “SOGI”

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, or IDAHOT.
Why should we care about IDAHOT? Because sexual orientation and gender identity, or SOGI, matters.
Here are three things we need to know about SOGI: 
First, SOGI inclusion is about zero discrimination 
Despite some legal and social progress in the past two decades, LGBTI people continue to face widespread discrimination 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.

Second, it’s about fighting exclusion.
Where there is discrimination, there is exclusion. As a result, many LGBTI people suffer lower educational attainment, higher unemployment rate, and a lack of access to adequate housing, health, and financial services.
Third, it’s about ending poverty.
Due to discrimination and exclusion, LGBTI people are likely overrepresented in the bottom 40% of the population. In other words, they’re more likely to be poor.
A major barrier to tackling LGBTI exclusion and poverty is the lack of data on the lives of LGBTI people. At the World Bank, we’re working with countries and partner organizations to fill the data gap and improve LGBTI livelihoods. 

IDAHOT does not stop on May 17. As discussed in the “Inclusion Matters” report and during the 2017 World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings, social inclusion is essential for eradicating poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Looking ahead, we must ensure that SOGI and LGBTI issues are included across all areas of development work. 

Do you have a story on why #InclusionMatters ? Share it with us in a comment. Learn more about the World Bank’s work on SOGI inclusion here .


Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

Former Regional Director, Africa, Sustainable Development Practice Group

Clifton Cortez

Global Adviser on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI)

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