Earlier this year, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, Colombia Diversa, and Red Sin Violencia LGBTI created a space for dialogue and action, open to all people interested in participating in the creation and implementation of a regional data agenda that promotes the use of information to guarantee rights and improve the lives of LGBTIQ+ people.

Understanding the challenges for LGBTIQ+ data in LAC

Having better data on LGBTIQ+ people is essential to effectively address human rights violations in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. Currently, while there is an obligation for States to collect and record information on such events, despite efforts, there is still no coordination between all the relevant stakeholders.

Further, in order to achieve equitable and sustainable development addressing the needs of LGBTIQ+ people in public policies and legislative reforms is necessary. As such, it is vital to generate accurate and representative data in a systematic and coordinated way to allow for informed decision making, policy design, and reporting.

Understanding the situation of LGBTIQ+ individuals can be achieved through methods such as census data, perception surveys, and other studies. However, in the LAC region, these processes must be conducted with great care. In certain countries, particularly in the Caribbean, laws criminalizing LGBTIQ+ individuals hinder secure and reliable data collection. Meanwhile, social prejudices often discourage LGBTIQ+ individuals from participating in these processes.

To achieve change and better data, it’s essential there is collaboration and coordination  between civil society organizations (CSOs), statistical institutes, academia, human rights institutions, multilateral organizations, the state, and other actors. This requires the consolidation of robust data systems, and for statistical institutes to take into account diverse differential perspectives.

Creating a space for coordination and innovation

The Commission has consistently called upon States to implement data collection policies and safeguard human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons. For this reason we really appreciate spaces like this one with the participation of State statistical institutions and civil society organizations together as they allow us to discuss how data collection efforts should be shaped. 

Roberta Clarke, President and LGBTI Rapporteur of the IACHR

In March 2024 the first virtual meeting took place, creating a platform for discussing the formation of a regional LGBTIQ+ data agenda. The event brought together representatives from 19 countries in the LAC region to discuss pathways for regional collaboration to enhance the representation and inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people in data processes. 

There is a lack of data. But it goes beyond just data. It's necessary to reflect different population groups in the data, empowering citizens to be agents of change. 

Haoyi Chen, UNSD

As a testament to the productive discussions and shared commitment, the meeting produced promising results. For example, ideas on how to improve the availability of quality data for LGBTIQ+ people were transformed into proposals centered on a participatory approach, in line with the latest advancements in statistics using a Citizen Generated Data approach. 

Following the dialogue, an action plan was proposed and will be implemented through the ongoing collaboration between the network of representatives, including in further dialogues throughout 2024. Importantly, these actions can also be done by anyone who is interested in promoting and participating in the creation and implementation of this regional LGBTIQ+ data agenda:

5 Steps towards a regional LGBTIQ+ data agenda 
  1. Recognize previous measurement exercises, collecting examples, and identifying good practices, lessons learned, and challenges. 
  2. Learn from global perspectives on citizen generated data, and formulate and implement an LGBTIQ+ data framework in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  3. Address the challenge of humanizing data, to understand that behind the information collected and computed there are real life stories. 
  4. Promote collaboration between stakeholders to guarantee that data produced is available for the purposes of  improving the well-being of the LGBTIQ+ population.
  5. Identify opportunities for strengthening capacities on methodologies, technicalization of information systems, etc., for stakeholders interested in data production processes.

We encourage all persons and institutions to participate in this space leading to joint efforts and concrete actions to overcome the statistical invisibility of LGBTIQ+ people. If you would like to receive information about upcoming discussions and know more about the progress on this initiative, click here.