Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity should be treated equally

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“Plan International believes that everyone — regardless of their gender, age, sex, race, class, religion, ethnicity, ability, language, sexual orientation, or gender identity — should have equal access to opportunities and services, and their safety be prioritised and protected.”

We would like to remind our supporters that we believe in equality for everyone, regardless of gender or any other characteristic. See Plan International’s full statement here.

Since Plan International began its work in 1937, we have been committed to reaching the world’s most vulnerable and excluded people. This often includes the LGBTQI+ community as they face multiple and unique barriers and vulnerabilities around the world.

  • Girls, boys and youth who identify as LGBTQI+ are typically the most marginalized and excluded members of society and are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination.
  • Challenges related to identifying as LGBTQI+ often combine with other factors of exclusion, such as age, race, and religion, making gender inequality and exclusion worse.
  • They are at increased risk of being abandoned by their families.
  • LGBTQI+ youth can be rejected, barred, or deterred from accessing education, health facilities, and other essential services, that are essential for reaching one’s full potential.
  • They also experience increased levels of suicide and depression.
Person holding up sign

Youth Team Leader from Vietnam, who raises awareness about the prevalence of bullying, harassment, discrimination and gender-based violence at schools. Youth Team Leaders Clubs are part of Plan International Vietnam and the UN Trust Fund’s Gender-Responsive School pilot project, which works to ensure that all schools are safe, inclusive and free from discrimination.

In countries where being a member of the LGBTQI+ community is criminalized by law or socially/culturally unacceptable, youth face an increased number of challenges.

Programs reaching members of the Trans community

Plan International Thailand – Combating transphobia and homophobic bullying

Plan International Thailand in partnership with UNESCO and Mahidol University conducted comprehensive research on homophobic and transphobic bullying in secondary schools. The study led to recommendations for schools, policy-makers, research institutions and society at large. The results were used to design a three-year program, which aims to prevent school-related gender-based violence, including homophobic bullying and other forms of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Plan International Canada – HIV Prevention in El Salvador

In partnership with The Global Fund, Plan International Canada is working to prevent the spread of HIV in El Salvador and ensuring that marginalized groups are able to realize their rights to quality, responsive and inclusive care and services. One of the most vulnerable groups that we have identified as a key population for this project are transgender women. These women often struggle to find work, and resort to sex work to make ends meet. They are the targets of discrimination and abuse in alarming frequency. HIV prevalence in this group is more than 32 times higher than in the wider El Salvadorian population.

For marginalized populations, access to care is low and discrimination pushes people even further to the margins. Here are a few ways in which we are improving access to care, education and opportunities:

  • Mobile education units that offer HIV testing and counseling services
  • Distribution of tools for risk-reduction, such as condoms and educational materials
  • Entrepreneurship support, including training and seed capital, to provide safer livelihood options for at-risk populations
  • Peer-to-peer outreach to raise awareness including on gender equality and rights, promote healthier practices, and connect individuals to health services and support group networks

In the face of emerging forms of political and systemic discrimination, Plan International will not waiver on its commitment to gender equality and inclusion. The rights and well-being of members of the LGBTQI+ community are integral to a healthier, more prosperous society where everyone can learn, lead, decide, and thrive. More countries must begin to protect the rights of LGBTQI+ youth and countries that have protections in place, should safeguard these rights.