Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Canada’s ‘Feminist’ International Assistance

Citation:

Aylward, Erin, and Stephen Brown. 2020. “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Canada’s ‘Feminist’ International Assistance.” International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis 75 (3): 313–28.

Authors: Erin Aylward, Stephen Brown

Abstract:

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), launched in June 2017, marks the first time that sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) have been mentioned in an overarching Canadian aid policy. The inclusion of SOGI in the policy document sent an important signal to domestic and international development partners on the need to consider these sources of discrimination and marginalization. This article asks two basic research questions. First, what is the place of SOGI in Canada’s “feminist” international assistance? Second, what additional steps does Canada’s development program need to take to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in the Global South? Based on an analysis of official documents and secondary sources, we argue that FIAP itself sends only a weak signal about the importance of SOGI-related concerns, but Canadian foreign aid has expanded its understanding of LGBTI issues and has begun to commit dedicated resources to addressing them. Nonetheless, the initial programming (2017–2019) was channelled in an ad hoc manner and through one, major stand-alone commitment, rather than through a broader framework that would guide SOGI’s integration into Canadian programs over the long term. If serious about addressing LGBTI rights more systematically, the Canadian government needs to expand its definition of what SOGI entails and move beyond niche programming to recognize the cross cutting dimension of LGBTI rights in foreign aid, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Keywords: foreign aid, sexual orientation, gender identity, LGBTI, Canada, feminism

Topics: Development, Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Health, Reproductive Health, LGBTQ, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Sexuality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2020

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