SDGs India report: Enabling environment a must to make inclusion of diverse sexual and gender identities a reality

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NEW DELHI: Drawing upon community voices to create an enabling environment for

sexual minorities

and identities that comes under the umbrella of “LGBTQIA+”, India’s

review report

on progress towards Sustainable Development Goals 2030, by Niti Aayog, recommends the need for ensuring early gender sensitisation with respect to the community by making it part of the school and college curriculum and strict measures to prevent bullying and harassment.
These recommendations based on community and stakeholder consultations form part of a chapter “Leaving No One Behind: Voices from the Community” in the voluntary

national review

report presented by Niti Aayog at the

United Nations

High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development on Monday.
The report, Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local, emphasises how India is focussing on making the SDG monitoring and implementation more localised for better results. It maps India’s progress, challenges and the way forward on various SDG goals ranging from no poverty, zero hunger,

good health

and gender equality to sanitation, sustainable cities and reducing inequalities.
To make inclusion real for “LGBTQIA+” the stakeholder consultations also recommended that there is need for “transformative workplace policies which promote diversity, prohibiting conversion therapies, state assistance in and uniform guidelines for gender reaffirmation, state-supported shelter and helpline for addressing distress and a focus on mental health and well-being.”
The report highlights that the term LGBTQIA+ is intended to emphasise the diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures. It is pointed that to protect the interests of the community,

the Supreme Court of India



in 2018 by reading down Section 377 of the

Indian Penal Code

with respect to consensual homosexual sex between adults.
“In addition to this, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was passed in 2019 with the objective of protecting the rights of transgender people, promoting their welfare and other related matters. The Act aims at reducing stigma and discrimination faced by the transgender community in India and will aid in making them self-sufficient,” it is stated. The rules to implement the law are under preparation by the ministry of social justice and empowerment.
However, the report highlights the challenges. “The recent legislations in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community have no doubt been pivotal in addressing the exclusion issues of the community, yet, how the recognition of these rights are harmonised in different public systems, including data collection and enumeration, remains to be seen and will determine the way forward,” it is pointed.
It is emphasised that multifarious social challenges including and not limited to discrimination and stigma will not only require interventions by the state but also active involvement of the civil society and markets.

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