In order to end discrimination and achieve broad acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people across South Asia, coordinated and strategic advocacy efforts to advance both social and legal reforms are needed, said participants at a global forum in Kathmandu this week.
Forty-six LGBTI advocates from 17 countries joined the week-long Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, aimed at advancing legal and social equality for LGBTI people in South Asia. The forum, held from 24 February to 1 March, was organized by Salzburg Global Seminar in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the German Federal Foreign Office.
“On this 1st of March, international Zero Discrimination Day, we must remember that in 2015 every Member State of the United Nations committed to a new vision for development – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At its heart is the inclusion and protection of the most marginalized and vulnerable,” said Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative a.i., UNDP Nepal. “Public attitudes towards LGBTI people may be becoming more accepting and tolerant, but real equality still remains elusive and conservative attitudes prevail in many countries, backed up by biased media representation.”
The five-day forum brought together people from various professional backgrounds to collaboratively develop new projects and campaigns to advance legal and social equality in countries across South Asia and around the world. It provided an open platform for both activists and policymakers to discuss promoting inclusive national policymaking that benefits and protects sexual and gender minorities.