How does a UN organization diversify its mission and practices?
UNFPA, or the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, has long worked to improve and maintain the human rights of every individual. Most of their work is focused on gender-based acts of violence and lack of proper sexual education and resources, but they are slowly looking to add more LGBT+ inclusive language and actions into their mission.
When asked about the current existence of queer identity and care in UNFPA, External Relations Associate Mette Strandlod explains that the topic of gender identity and gender care has always been part of the mandate. “We focus on human rights and providing people with the opportunity to live fulfilled lives. You can argue that transgender and queer care has always been there and implied, but now it is more pronounced.”
“Because we work with such delicate topics such as these, sometimes all we can do is spread the word and not take concrete actions like for example, giving out contraception,” she says.
UNFPA and its influence on its partner organizations and country governments creates the perfect opportunity to educate people across different platforms. UNFPA Nordic Office will creates exhibitions about gender identity, reaches out the press for coverage of queer education, and organizes world pride in Copenhagen.
“Right now there is a gap between the ideal and what actually happens with these topics. The issue is sometimes it is just a political debate. It doesn’t have to be if we can at least spread the message that gender expression, acknowledgment, and basic care is a human right while still practicing silent diplomacy,” Strandlod concludes.
This article is intended for readers of Denmark and neighboring countries.