Restructuring the LGBT agenda: A strategic approach

LGBT rights are a human right struggle, a political struggle, NGO’s (CAEC, PILS, Amnesty Mauritius…) struggle, and a citizen struggle. It is important to bear in mind that various actors are involved in the process, and not just LGBT organisations.

Planning the agenda and seeking support from numerous other groups will help reach goals easily, for LGBT fight is a PROGRESSIVE approach; especially in developing and African Countries.

  1. Planning the plan
  2. Preparing the plan
  3. Implementation of the plan

 

PLANNING THE PLAN

1.      Plan to Plan –

  • How many objectives are to be reached?
  • What is the time-duration for each objective? (Prepare a Gantt chart)
  • What is the financial implication of each objective? Is the funding relative to the time for implementation or strategies around each agenda?
  • Gather required human resources: NGOs, Political parties representatives, Social Actors, Influential People (Singers, journalists..), Mass media, International Organisations, Specialists (Lawyers, Doctors…), University groups, Student groups, etc.
  • Energy to the agenda: Sustain the agenda with resources and commitment. Also, ensure that each agenda, once achieved is monitored afterwards to see if it works well.

 

PREPARING THE PLAN

2.      Structure and Schedule the process

  • Role allocation – Who does what? Is the main LGBT movement the core? Is the core a committee comprised of representatives from different actors? Who will carry out tasks? Who will approach the media? Who will fund the agendas? Who will formulate advocacy plans? Who will set-up the agendas? Who will bring the matter in front of parliament?
  • Approach – Bottom-up or Top-down: Will the agenda be set-up by the political parties or by LGBT movements? Or will the different actors consult before setting the agendas?
  • Format the plan – Classify each agenda as per chapters, in terms of their human rights approach, the social impact, the economic impact, the legislation needed to be amended or brought forward, strategies for each agenda, the expert opinions, the progress in other countries, effect of current situation in the region/country, effect after successfully implementing agenda, proposals, etc.

3.      Gather and analyse data

  • What is the current barometer of LGBT rights in the country? What is the trend? Is there scope for change? Is the change easy or difficult to occur? Who are willing to help? Where to get the fund?
  • What is the cultural background of the country? Is the country a heavily religious one? What are the attitudes of the people relative to LGBT issues?
  • respect to LGBT issues? How can LGBT contribution be made visible? What is the literacy rate?

4.      Identify Problems, Issues and Concerns (PIC)

  • Perform a SWOT analysis. Are religious bodies interfering against LGBT rights? Is the problem a political one? Are there oppressions towards LGBT people? Is there lack of leaders to fight for LGBT rights? What is the networking of LGBT organisations?
  • Change identified weaknesses to strengths, threats to opportunities! Develop agendas to form leaders in various LGBT related issues. Use mass media to form public opinion. Engage opposition and government parties in signing memorandum of understanding at local and international levels. Alert international and public opinion of oppressions. Develop networking with international as well as regional organisations, NGOs, influential people, etc.

5.      Develop a vision for the plan

  • Prepare a ‘vision statement’ having the goals and objectives, for instance: Vision – “Equal Rights, No more, No less”. Goals – Right to vote, Right to equal access to work, Right to equal access to education, Right to equal access to public health, Right for security, Right not to feel harassed, Right not to be discriminated based on sexual orientation, Sexual Minority Rights, Rights for Love, Rights for Sexual and Reproductive health, Right for Marriage, Right for adoption, etc. Objectives – Participation in public sphere and decision making process, Productive labour force, Reduce unjustified harms to LGBT, Promote tolerance, acceptance, individual freedoms, etc.
  • Involve various actors through joint agendas, through mutual support, group sessions of debates, experience sharing, support groups, advocacy (GLAD: Gay and Lesbians Advocates and Defenders) etc.

6.      Develop Plan

  • Be more specific in goals and objectives (easier to accomplish if vision was easily accepted). For example; Goal: Protection from harassment due to sexual orientation. Objectives: Media censorship, revise internet laws, revise civil protection laws, create special units to handle LGBT related issues in police force, etc.
  • If government is proposing a law on protection from harassment or based on race, ethnicities, gender, grab the opportunity to include sexual orientation. Do not fight for LGBT marriage which is more difficult to be accepted; postpone it for later. Create successive laws and structures which will make LGBT right for marriage easier in the end. E.g. Through media censorship, in case LGBT marriage is evoked, the previous laws protecting from harassment due to sexual orientation will not ‘pollute’ people’s minds from ‘biased’ anti-LGBT hate-speeches.

7.      Generate and evaluate plan options

  • Draft the plan
  • Justify each chapter as per its purpose
  • Formulate series of approaches and priorities
  • Involve various actors in generation and evaluation of plan

8.      Select and develop a preferred plan

  • Select preferred approach as per majority and ease of adopting (E.g. Racial discrimination through hate speech: Include LGBT rights and support racial minorities. Mutual support will make LGBT rights easier to obtain)

9.      Adopt the plan

  • Conduct a seminar with different representatives, LGBT persons and associates.
  • Submit plan implementation schedule and strategies.

 

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN

10.  Implementation

  • Commitment, accountability through progress reports, and regularly updated

(i)     Involve actors and politics:

  • Meetings, forums, media coverage, walks, parades.
    Political process for implementation; thus, who in charge?
    Make actors ‘dream’ with a flow of proposal to implementation. E.g. No harassment: Live freely, walk in the streets without fear of being insulted, assaulted, together with boyfriend or girlfriend. Respect; help others to do their coming-out. Feel in symbiosis with the community. Feel like being accepted.

(ii)   Convey Message:

  • Market the plan through clear and comprehensive plans

(iii) Commitment to Outcomes

  • Support plan through resources and continues support by implementing structures surrounding plans.
  • Sustain the plan when implementation completed by surveys, identification of new needs and address these new situations.

(iv) Develop an Implementation Schedule

  • Prioritise plans as per short, medium and long term with ease of implementation and acceptability (e.g. Sexual orientation harassment first, then right to employment, then right to sexual practices, afterwards right to marriage, then right to adoption, etc)

(v)   Assign Implementation Responsibilities

  • Who in charge of what? Who in charge of networking? Who in charge of funding? Who in charge of media? Who in charge of contacting political parties? Who in charge of formations? Etc.
  • For transparency and accountability (To keep record of progress and cope with any difficulties arising en route. Also, to be accountable to partners and associates after each plan is successfully implemented).

(vi) Establish Timeframe

  • Develop and implementation schedule and deliver progress reports
  • Inform associates, partners and civilians and public of progress

(vii)                       Link Plan with Budget

  • Ensure organisational back-up money and resources (human and others) for plan for successful implementation, else, plan remains at ‘dreaming’ stage

(viii)                     Document the Difference

  • From plan to as-made, list the changes en route and after implementation
  • List the expected goals and objectives not achieved and postpone them for another time.

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