Advocating for LGBTQI Inclusion in the Finance and Private Sector in Asia
In many Southeast Asian countries prevailing traditional values in the political, legislative, economic, social, cultural and family environment contributes to the legitimation of discrimination against LGBTQI people and anyone whose sexuality and/or gender is non-normative.
In 2018, APCOM launched Finance Inc., a three-year multi-country initiative, with the objective to engage financial institutions focused on international development as well as the private sector within the Asia Pacific region to be more inclusive of LGBTQI people’s rights, concerns and potential.
Finance Inc is anchored on the human rights principles of equality and nondiscrimination as expounded in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments which recognize that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ It is also anchored on The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) principle of ‘leaving no one behind.
Finance Inc. is a three year (2018-2020) multi-country project which is being implemented with our country partner organization in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and the Philippines.
Finance Inc. is implemented by APCOM and our country partner organizations in Cambodia (MRIF Cambodia), Indonesia (Suara Kita), Lao PDR (CHIAs), and the Philippines (Babaylanes). Finance Inc is supported by Voice Global, an initiative of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Voice Global supports projects which help the most marginalized and discriminated people in Asia and Africa with the aim of amplifying and connecting unheard voices in an effort to leave no one behind.
To learn more about Finance Inc, download Finance Inc Compass Series here:
The overarching long-term goal of Finance Inc. is to contribute to improved access of persons of diverse SOGIESC to economic and social services specifically health, education and financial resources and services. It also aims to contribute to increased participation of LGBTQI, communities in the conversations aimed towards inclusion.
Economic inclusion of LGBTQI people and communities is aligned with APCOM’s vision of “a world where all gay men, other men who have sex with men and people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression and sex characteristics can fully participate in and achieve sustainable development in all aspects of health, rights and wellbeing”.
 As defined by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development: The opening up of economic opportunities to under-served social groups, is integral to … sustainable market economies. An inclusive market economy ensures that anyone, regardless of their gender, place of birth, family background, age or other circumstance, over which they have no control, has full and fair access to labour markets, finance and entrepreneurship and, more generally, economic opportunity.
To achieve its goals, the strategies and components of Finance Inc included:
Engaging the Asian Development Bank
Capacity Strengthening of LGBTQI organizations
Engaging the private sector on diversity and inclusion
We realize that a lot still needs to be done and that we have embarked on a long journey. With our partners we need to strengthen advocacy and look further into processes and procedures. The project shows important evidence to the current barriers and opportunities for significantly advancing the economic inclusion of LGBTQI.
There is a need to scale up engagements with the private sector on LGBTQI inclusion, and ensuring that voices of LGBTQI communities are meaningfully involved in these engagements.
APCOM and our country partners are cognizant that changes especially those at the level of policies, attitudes, and behaviors take a long time.
And we are committed to this journey of contributing to the collective goal of ‘leaving no one behind.’
See our publication