Quick Read
26 February 2016

Mainstreaming sexual and gender diversity in SRHR

A recent publication of the international SRHR Alliance highlights the lessons learned on how health services, healthcare and information should be more inclusive to reach LGBTQI-people (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, queer or intersex).

How can sexual and gender diversity be mainstreamed? A curious question that is often asked in the field when talking about and delivering sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) services.  The magazine produced by SRHR alliance provides some crucial answers by providing valuable lessons learned from organisations in Asia and Africa.

While sexual and gender diversity exists everywhere in the world and is from all times, LGBTQI-people are often faced with marginalisation, stigmatisation, discrimination and even criminalisation. The difficulty they faced hinders them to access crucial SRHR services in their communities, leaving them vulnerable.

The magazine captures the efforts of different SRHR organisations in Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania to be, or to become more, inclusive in their policies and programmes.

What is mainstreaming?

It means the integration of attention for specific groups, or specific themes in organisations and their regular programmes, to ensure that these become inclusive in policies and programming.

“Many SRHR organisations – even those with a strong human rights vision – do not fully apply their rights-based vision in practice and leave sexual and gender diversity untouched.”

The magazine mentions that “many SRHR organisations – even those with a strong human rights vision – do not fully apply their rights-based vision in practice and leave sexual and gender diversity untouched. Although sexual and gender diversity and same-sex practices are a part of traditional cultures in many countries, it is often a too sensitive and contentious issue for policy makers and civil society to speak about.”  But it also shows that organisations working on sexual- and reproductive health and rights, can make a difference and strive towards ‘protecting the rights of everyone, everywhere’.


The Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR Alliance), is an international alliance working with partner organisations in nine countries in Africa and Asia, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Member organisations of the SRHR Alliance in the Netherlands are Simavi, the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), dance4life, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and Rutgers (lead). The Alliance works in collaboration with over 60 local partners in Africa and Asia, who are united in their national in-country SRHR Alliances.

5 countries have the death penalty for homosexual behavior; 75 nations have laws that criminalise same-sex conduct.

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Lambert Grijns is the Dutch Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) & HIV/AIDS and Director of the Social Development Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We talked to him about his motivation  and  achievements as well as his ambitions and the challenges he sees.