On 29 April 2014 in Brussels, Belgium, IGLYO held the first roundtable in its 2014 Roundtable Series on Intersectionality. Representatives from the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), the European Youth Forum, the European Regional of the International LGBTI Association, Avvocato di strada (Bologna, Italy), LGBT Youth Scotland, and RFSL Ungdom (Swedish LGBTQ Youth Organisation) met to discuss the intersections of sexual orientation, sexuality, gender identity and expression, youth, and socioeconomic status.
IGLYO convened the roundtable on socioeconomic status to recognize the diversity of LGBTQ young people concerning financial means and the ability to live autonomously. The roundtable went into in-depth discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression and their impact on accessing the labour market and realising full social autonomy. All participants of the roundtable acknowledged the lack of attention to overlapping area and identified intersectionality as a way to discuss the complexity of identity.
Above all, participants supported a rights-based approach in both sectors, pointing out that those without the means to secure housing or food are often at greater risk of violations of fundamental rights due to sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Additionally, sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression can be risk factors that drive individuals into challenging socioeconomic situations, including unstable or unsecure housing.
The roundtable saw a need for building the capacity of service delivery across sectors, ensuring that those who seek support receive a tailored response regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or socioeconomic status. In particular, support for homeless people needs to have youth-specific services that take into account the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Ensuring the inclusiveness of services will also build the confidence of LGBTQ young people who might avoid accessing support due to previous homophobic or transphobic experiences.
The participants of the roundtable recognized the barriers to participation in activities of the LGBTQ youth and student movement due to socioeconomic status, and the need to make organisations and programming accessible to all people. In this regard, efforts need to be made to include young LGBTQ people from all socioeconomic backgrounds in the leadership and decision-making structures of the movement.
After the roundtable, IGLYO calls for more research on the impact of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and age on socioeconomic status and autonomy. We encourage close partnerships between organisations working on poverty, homelessness, sexual orientation and gender identity at all levels to exchange expertise and promote inclusion across both sectors.
IGLYO extends its thanks to the participants of the roundtable for the rich discussion regarding socioeconomic status. Through the Roundtable Series on Intersectionality, IGLYO will host further meetings on gender, ethnicity, and disability, along with a concluding roundtable bringing together rapporteurs from each of the meetings.
For more information, please contact Jordan Long, , IGLYO Programmes and Policy Officer.