Diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, expression & sex characteristics (SOGIESC)

An emerging area of enquiry in the development and humanitarian sectors is the intersectionality of people with disabilities and diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). Many people with disabilities in development and humanitarian contexts experience prejudice, discrimination, exclusion and violence. The same can be stated for people with diverse SOGIESC – although people’s experiences of these issues may differ, those at the intersection of disability and diverse SOGIESC face greater barriers and discrimination.

According to an intersectionality perspective, discrimination is never the result of isolated, distinct factors, but rather is an outcome of the intersections of different social identities (i.e. gender, disability, race/ethnicity, geography, religion, etc.), power relations (i.e. laws, policies, religious institutions and economic unions among others) and experiences. Through such processes, interdependent forms of privilege and oppression shaped by colonialism, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and patriarchy are created.

People with disabilities and diverse SOGIESC are located at the complex intersections of multiple systems of social inequality including not only transphobia, homophobia, ableism and heteronormativity, but also sexism, classism, racism and ageism.

Within international development and humanitarian contexts, people with diverse SOGIESC are not recognised in many of the frameworks that currently exist. Additionally, the CRPD does not recognise diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sexual characteristics. Inclusion in the community, being important for full and effective participation of people with disabilities in society, may pose specific challenges for people with disabilities and diverse SOGIESC.

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A diagram of the linking relationships between disability, development contexts, and SOGIESC. In the middle of this is a red circle which interlinks them all to experience (e.g., discrimination and exclusion)