Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme

The Sexuality, Law and Poverty Programme provides new evidence-based knowledge and new policy options that support efforts to: (1) strengthen, through legal reform, the rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex) people and others marginalised because of their sexuality; and (2) support LGBTI people and others marginalised because of their sexuality to establish sustainable livelihoods. The theme produces risk-sensitive, practical approaches that can be implemented to achieve legal reform and tackle poverty among people marginalised due to their sexuality.

This programme will produce evidence-based, practical options for activists and policymakers for strengthening legal protection of LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, questioning) people and sexuality rights. A second aspect of the programme will focus on understanding the links between sexuality, gender plurality and poverty with the aim of improving economic policy and programming to support people marginalised because of their sexuality. Working closely with established networks and movements, approaches to protecting and respecting rights will be based on strategies drawn from local communities that are most affected.

IDS has strong connections with local actors, networks and institutions that work on sexuality and has a proven track record of convening global networks, for example the Pathways of Women's Empowerment RPC, and working with international development actors, for example donors from foundations such as the Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation, to develop effective policy options.

Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme website

The Sexuality, Poverty and Law website aims to keep you updated on sexuality and development issues, alongside research and policy recommendations in a rapidly changing and globally connected field of research. As well as including key issues guides, policy findings, and case studies, the site features our unique, free interactive Toolkit for Sexuality and Social Justice that shares learning on strategies to strengthen rights and improve the lives of those marginalised because of their sexuality.

Sign up to receive the IDS Sexuality and Development newsletter for the latest updates on our work.

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View all Research Programme's publications

Use this search to display this programme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.

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Gender, Sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Meta-Analysis of Mechanisms of Exclusion and Avenues for Inclusive Development

IDS Evidence Report 206 (2016)

Through its work, the Institute of Development Studies Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme provides new evidence-based knowledge and policy options support efforts to strengthen the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. More details


Avenues for Donors to Promote Sexuality and Gender Justice

IDS Policy Briefing 120 (2016)

Donor agencies agree that addressing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI) is not only an important human rights issue but is also integral to efforts to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development. More details

IDS Policy Briefing 118 Front Cover

Migration, Mobility and Marginalisation: Consequences for Sexual and Gender Minorities

IDS Policy Briefing 118 (2016)

As a strategy to avoid discrimination, violence and economic marginalisation, sexual and gender non-conforming people often turn to migration as a route to achieve independence and build social capital. More details

Front Cover_What’s law got to do with it?

Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What's Law Got to Do with It?

Edited Collection (2016)

The contributions to this Edited Collection reveal the complexity of the deceptively simple question posed by its title: Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s Law Got to Do With It? More details


Transgender at Work: Livelihoods for Transgender People in Vietnam

IDS Evidence Report 167 (2016)

The laws in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam promote equality for all citizens and refer to ‘persons’ rather than ‘men’ or ‘women’. However, because of traditional gender norms, transgender people in Vietnam are facing severe stigma and discrimination in public, in schools, at home and in the workplace (CCIHP 2011; Hoang 2012; ICS 2015; iSEE 2013). More details


Living on the Periphery: The Khawaja Siras of Pakistan

IDS Evidence Report 165 (2016)

Academic literature suggests that development is inherently heteronormative in its narratives, policies and practices: as a result, ‘heterosexuality is normalized, naturalized, and privileged in societies of the global South, in the international development field, and in colonial and post/neo-colonial narratives of the so-called Third World or global South’ (Lind 2010: 7). More details


Religion, Gender and Sexuality Workshop Report: 1–5 June 2015, Garden Court Hotel, Eastgate, Johannesburg

IDS Evidence Report 162 (2015)

Religious doctrine shapes and informs decision-making at the individual and collective levels, and sexuality and gender rights advocates must therefore work with faith-based organisations and religious activists to challenge harmful and discriminatory sexuality and gender norms and practices. More details


Sexuality, Development and Non-conforming Desire in the Arab World: The Case of Lebanon and Egypt

IDS Evidence Report 158 (2015)

In many developing countries, sexual rights are commonly depicted as trivial concerns pertaining to wealthy citizens of a ‘developed’ Western world. The ‘developing’ world is often thought to have more pressing problems to deal with, such as poverty, violence and corruption. More details


‘Leave No One Behind’: Gender, Sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals

IDS Evidence Report 154 (2015)

In an unprecedented move to eradicate disease, poverty and hunger, world leaders joined together in 2000 to sign into life the hotly contested but broadly agreed upon Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework. More details


Developing More Effective Strategies for Sex Work, Law and Poverty

IDS Policy Briefing 101 (2015)

The welfare of female sex workers in low-income countries has attracted significant attention in recent years. In line with human rights and development goals, advocacy focuses on decriminalisation of sex work, attaining economic rights, ending violence and improving sexual and reproductive health. More details


Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s Law Got to Do with It? International Symposium Workshop Report

IDS Evidence Report 145 (2015)

In March 2015, the Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme at the Institute of Development Studies brought together over 60 activists, lawyers, researchers and international advocates to critically assess the scope of law and legal activism for achieving social justice for those marginalised because of their sexual or gender non-conformity. More details


Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs April 2014 – March 2015

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2015)

In much writing about development, policy and practice are portrayed as if they are joined at the hip. Policy shapes practice, while learning from practice informs policy processes. In this portrayal, practice is usually understood to refer to development practice, or how development programmes and projects are implemented. More details


Sexuality, Poverty and Politics in Rwanda

IDS Evidence Report 131 (2015)

Recent legislative developments in Africa have focused international attention on the legal status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the continent. More details


BOOSHTEE! Survival and Resilience in Ethiopia

IDS Evidence Report 129 (2015)

Although homosexuality is illegal in Ethiopia, same-sex behaviour is not prosecuted because the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia views homosexuality as a low law enforcement priority. More details

This is the cover to the report 'Resue and Real Love: Same-sex Desire in International'.

Rescue, and Real Love: Same-sex Desire in International Development

IDS Report (2015)

Fifteen years ago, there was little space within international development policy circles within which we could talk about sexual rights, desire or pleasure. More details


How Filipino LBTs Cope with Economic Disadvantage

IDS Evidence Report 120 (2015)

After decades as the so-called ‘sick man of Asia’, the Philippines has adopted the export-driven model of economic development followed by wealthier Asian countries (Makabenta 2014) and has begun to address the pervasive corruption that has perennially deterred investment. More details


Same-sex Sexualities, Gender Variance, Economy and Livelihood in Nepal: Exclusions, Subjectivity and Development

IDS Evidence Report 109 (2015)

This case study explores the relationship between socioeconomic opportunity and exclusion in relation to minority gender and sexualities in Nepal. More details


Livelihood, Exclusion and Opportunity: Socioeconomic Welfare among Gender and Sexuality Non-normative People in India

IDS Evidence Report 106 (2015)

This case study explores the socioeconomic experiences of gender and sexuality minority peoples in India, especially in respect of ways in which sexual and gender ‘difference’ may be correlated to economic hardship and restricted opportunities for livelihood in the context of Indian socioeconomic ‘modernity’ More details

ER103 Front Cover

Policy Audit: Sexuality and Disability in Policies Affecting Chinese People with Disabilities

IDS Evidence Report 103 (2014)

This policy audit examines the cultural, political and economic spheres in China from the perspective of people with disabilities. More details


Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs November 2012 – March 2014

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2014)

Knowledge and evidence are important elements of all policy processes. While the availability of more or higher quality evidence does not guarantee better policy processes, it is difficult to imagine how development policy and outcomes can be improved without it. More details

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