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Beyond Gender: A Call for Inclusive Humanitarian Aid for All Women (and the LBTQ+ Spectrum They Represent)



As a global gender diversity consultant, writer, and speaker, I’m passionate about creating a more just world. Recently, I’ve noticed a powerful convergence around gender diversity, LBTQ+ inclusion, and the need for change within humanitarian systems. This convergence became apparent as I attended events like the UN Women CSW68.


Queering Humanitarian Aid

While focusing on women’s empowerment, these events highlighted a critical need for ‘queering humanitarianism’. This approach challenges traditional humanitarian practices, urging us to consider the unique experiences and needs of LBTQ+ people during crises. It’s about ensuring that aid reaches marginalised groups equally. Organisations like Outright International are making great strides in this area with their LBQ Connect program, designed specifically to address the needs of LBTQ+ women in crisis. The LBQ Connect program supports LBTQ+ women activists through training, mentorship, and grants.


LBQ Connect fosters a future where LBTQ+ women are leaders, their voices are heard, and their rights are fully recognized.

Where Traditional Aid Falls Short

Despite some progress made towards gender equality, humanitarian aid often fails to consider the needs of LBTQ+ women adequately. In societies where queerness is not the norm, LBTQ+ individuals face difficulties when seeking humanitarian aid, as the systems in place to support them often reject and oppress them. To address this issue, we need to work towards queering humanitarianism and ensuring that LBTQ+ women have access to safe spaces, healthcare that is sensitive to their unique identities, and protection from violence based on their sexual orientation.


Integrating the principles of queer humanitarianism into the ongoing advocacy for gender diversity is crucial. Advocating for women is not enough; we must ensure our efforts specifically include and protect those within the LBTQ+ spectrum.


Let’s go beyond general advocacy and take specific actions!

  • Support LBQ Connect: Donate to Outright International’s LBQ Connect program – your support will directly empower LBTQ+ women during crises.

  • Amplify the Message: Share this article on social media, tagging relevant hashtags to broaden the audience.

  • Become an Ally: I offer training and workshops for organisations and policymakers on allyship and understanding gender privilege gaps. Contact me cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com) to learn more.


Let’s use our voices, platforms, and resources to demand humanitarian systems that respect and serve all women. Only then can we create a truly just and compassionate world.


 

With over 25 years of dedicated leadership in the corporate, feminist, and LGBTQ+ realms, with a profound commitment to LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, I’m thrilled to be recognised by the British Diversity Awards. I stand ready to support, consult, educate, and advise on your next diversity challenge. Your journey towards inclusivity begins with a conversation.

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