Don’t Leave LGBTI Communities Behind in FP2030 Commitments

By Emily Young, FP2030 Intern

The commitment process for the FP2030 partnership is live, with governments and other stakeholders recommitting — or committing for the first time — to advancing rights-based family planning. In order to create a commitment that is truly rights-based, commitment makers should consider including specific provisions for LGBTI individuals in their commitments.

LGBTI communities have advocated for access to family planning and sexual reproductive health programs for decades. Due to stigma, lack of education or awareness, and discrimination, however, they’re often left out of family planning programming.

What Are the Family Planning Needs of LGBTI People?

While in some ways the needs of LGBTI populations are the same as those of cisgender and heterosexual women and girls, there are key family planning services that are particularly relevant to LGBTI populations, including:

  1. Integrated HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment with family planning.
  2. Inclusive and comprehensive information, including information and counseling regarding pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  3. Access to family planning services regardless of gender markers on identification.
  4. Freedom from stigma, as well as punitive legal measures, when accessing family planning and related services.
  5. Access to a full method mix, free of assumptions.
  6. Affordable, low-cost care.
  7. More inclusive language when accessing care.

The commitments toolkit will also be updated in the coming weeks with information on best practices for including LGBTI people and other highly stigmatized communities in FP2030 commitments. Additionally, track the approval and rollout of the Dual Protection Pill (DPP) — which will protect against HIV and unintended pregnancy — and consider policy and program changes that might be needed to add the DPP when it’s available to your country.

Meaningful Engagement and Partnership

Seeing LGBTI people as valid beneficiaries of family planning is only the first step. To best understand the needs of LGBTI people, they must be integrated as decision-makers and strategic partners into the family planning movement. To that end, LGBTI-focused civil society, youth-led, academic, multilateral, and funding organizations are encouraged to make commitments to FP2030. LGBTI-focused organizations and LGBTI people themselves are best positioned to know what is needed to serve their communities, and direct engagement with LGBTI people and organizations should be included in every step of the commitment-making process. Traditional family planning stakeholders should also recognize the needs of LGBTI populations and consider including programming that meets LGBTI needs as part of their commitments.

In building the next phase of the FP2030 movement, it is imperative that the partnership include the needs of the LGBTI community. We cannot claim to uphold rights-based family planning or support all girls and women everywhere without acknowledging the experiences and needs of LGBTI populations.

These recommendations not only lay the foundation for including LGBTI populations in the family planning movement, but also invite organizations that are already doing this work to join the FP2030 partnership. This ensures that all girls, women, and anyone who wants to control their own fertility have the freedom and ability to lead healthy lives, make their own informed decisions about using contraception and having children, and participate as equals in society and its development.

As governments and other stakeholders begin to map out their commitments to the FP2030 partnership, LGBTI people must not be left behind.