The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are globally touted as an opportunity for more strategic policy and programmatic focus on marginalized groups, including sexual minorities.
To explore Togolese, Nigerian, and Ugandan policy-makers’ views and experiences of harnessing SDG-era national policies and programmes to address the exclusion and marginalization of sexual minorities
Methods and approach
We relied on qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews (IDIs) with key policy-makers in the study countries.
Policy officials acknowledged the wide range of challenges facing LGBT people in their countries, disapproved of LGBT-privileging SDGs policies, and challenged the notion that LGBT inclusion in SDGs policy-making requires their targeted integration in policies. Policy-makers’ anxieties and apprehension that LGBT-favouring SDGs policies will indicate national support for homosexuality prompted them to equate defence of heteronormative SDGs policy-making with the defence of their countries’ civility and sovereignty. Their efforts to include LGBT people in SDG policies involved a dialectical dance, in which they showed neither vested interest in troubling existing homophobic narratives nor in preserving them using policies and programmes.
Translating the aims of the SDGs into reality for LGBT people in countries with homophobic laws would require supporting policy-makers to navigate the challenges they face in balancing the policy needs of marginalized groups and local mores and politics, even as pressures for legal change continue to build.