ASPIRE Guidelines on COVID-19 response and recovery free from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

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These guidelines are relevant for humanitarian and development practitioners, as well as for policy makers at the State level, because it synthesises the experiences of the global diverse SOGI community into specific guidance on a current crisis. The recommendations within the ASPIRE Guidelines are not only critical for the COVID-19 pandemic and eventual recovery, but can be applied in non-pandemic health settings as well.

The ASPIRE Guidelines were developed through consultation with global diverse SOGI activists and advocates. Published through the office of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the ASPIRE Guidelines offer high-level advice for policy makers on inclusive COVID-19 response.

ASPIRE stands for: Acknowledge that LGBT persons are everywhere (and that they are hard-hit by the pandemic); Support the work of LGBT civil society and human rights defenders (and learn from their significant achievements); Protect LGBT persons from violence and discrimination in the pandemic context (and prosecute perpetrators); Indirect discrimination is a real and significant risk (and exacerbates stigmatisation against LGBT persons); Representation of LGBT persons in the process of design, implementation and evaluation of COVID-19 specific measures is key (and reflect their voices); and Evidence concerning the impact of COVID-19 on LGBT persons must be gathered (and States must follow good practice).

The ASPIRE Guidelines open with an overview of the consultation sessions and the current global crisis. Each section of the guidelines, headed by one of the above mandates, identifies specific instances of discrimination and cases where specific protection and purposeful inclusion is necessary. The importance of State engagement with LGBT organisations and networks is emphasised throughout the guidelines.

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"As a result of the history of violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT persons have in many cases developed particular mechanisms of survival, coping and thriving that will not be immediately evident to those not belonging to the communities, or having had interaction with them over time. Policymakers should not rely on intuitive thinking when designing responses that will impact the LGBT community."

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The ASPIRE Guidelines were developed through consultation with global diverse SOGI activists and advocates. Published through the office of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the ASPIRE Guidelines offer high-level advice for policy makers on inclusive COVID-19 response.

ASPIRE stands for: Acknowledge that LGBT persons are everywhere (and that they are hard-hit by the pandemic); Support the work of LGBT civil society and human rights defenders (and learn from their significant achievements); Protect LGBT persons from violence and discrimination in the pandemic context (and prosecute perpetrators); Indirect discrimination is a real and significant risk (and exacerbates stigmatisation against LGBT persons); Representation of LGBT persons in the process of design, implementation and evaluation of COVID-19 specific measures is key (and reflect their voices); and Evidence concerning the impact of COVID-19 on LGBT persons must be gathered (and States must follow good practice).

The ASPIRE Guidelines open with an overview of the consultation sessions and the current global crisis. Each section of the guidelines, headed by one of the above mandates, identifies specific instances of discrimination and cases where specific protection and purposeful inclusion is necessary. The importance of State engagement with LGBT organisations and networks is emphasised throughout the guidelines.