This paper sets out the theoretical framework for formulating an international development agenda for sexual and gender minorities. The audience for this paper includes researchers, development practitioners, human rights advocates and those in the LGBT community interested in the growing field of human and economic development.
According to this paper, issues of sexual orientation and gender identity have advanced much more rapidly in the human rights arena than in the human development arena. This paper compares the two frameworks, sets out a pathway to formulate development priorities for sexual and gender minorities, and reviews the role of sexual and gender minorities in relation to economic growth. Relying heavily on empirical research of sexual and gender minorities, the paper reviews the unique development needs of sexual and gender minorities, and identifies legal and cultural barriers to full human development. Additionally, various methods of defining “sexual and gender minority” are provided for the purposes of choosing target populations for development programs.
The paper incorporates the capabilities approach to determine development priorities. Capabilities are sets of options and freedoms that each person should have in order to experience well-being and live a full and satisfying life. The analysis proposes a sexual and gender minority development agenda based on the set of capabilities identified by local communities. The paper gives examples of several important capabilities from a development perspective:
• Live a healthy life
• Learn and receive an education
• Determine and express one’s own identity.
• Affiliate and relate to others
• Have adequate resources for living
• Participate in governance
The paper also evaluates the level of empirical data about sexual and gender minority populations currently available and suggests potential priorities.