SOGIE-based stigma and discrimination resulting in exclusion has economic impacts on the lives of LGBTQI. This illustrates the interdependence between civil and political rights and economic rights. The results of the landmark study of Prof Lee Badgett on the economic cost of homophobia in India certainly contributed to drawing attention and discussions to economic and financial inclusion of the LGBTQI.
This and advocating for LGBTQI inclusion in financial institutions were the centerpiece of discussions during the Finance Inc. Inception meeting and the session at the Civil Society Forum of the World Bank last October where Babaylanes Inc had the opportunity to participate in.
Babaylanes, Inc had the opportunity to be part of Finance Inc’s Inception Meeting last October. With identified countries in the ASEAN region, the group was able to reflect on the efforts extended by communities to make financial policies inclusive. How is this going to happen? We recognize the position of multilateral development banks (MDB) in influencing setting global and regional standards through their policies, which can create a ripple effect. Finance Inc has also provided us with new approach in our present advocacy on the SOGIE Equality Bill. MDBs are potential powerful allies in lobbying for non-discrimination. Once MDBs adopt SOGIE-inclusion in its systems, this can possibly influence the public and private sectors to institute SOGIE-inclusive and SOGIE-responsive standards and policies like the SOGIE Equality Bill.
The inception meeting was also an opportunity for Babaylanes, Inc. to learn from the experiences of other countries and for us to share about our own experiences. The inception meeting gave us a better grasp of how far we’ve come as a country in advancing SOGIE-inclusion and how much more we need to do. While we may have realized it before, the meeting concretized our belief that the work we do – organizing and empowering LGBTQI students – has a huge economic impact too.
We’re also hopeful with how the World Bank has started to include SOGIE in their policies. Such initiatives to LGBTQI inclusion present both challenges and opportunities – challenges on how the community can acquaint ourselves with financial institutions and structures, and opportunities for asserting LGBTQI inclusion in these spaces.
Operationalizing the Sustainable Development Goal catchphrase of ‘no one left behind’ should include inclusion and participation of the LGBTQI community, both in the areas of civil, political, and economic aspects of our lives.