Queering the SDGs

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were generated during the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, under the professed theme that sustainable development should “Leave No One Behind”.  This was reiterated within the Ministerial Declaration from the 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development which emphasizes the importance of “putting the furthest behind first” (Ministerial Declaration, 2017). Despite this emphasis on inclusion, Canada has not meaningfully incorporated lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and Two Spirit (LGBTQI2S) communities within the Federal Sustainable Development Agenda.

Noticing this gap, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust (Egale) took on the task of assessing how LGBTQI2S communities fit into Canada’s commitment to ‘leaving no one behind’. To do so, we strategically chose to focus on the seven specific SDGs (1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 16) that address the most pressing areas of concern for LGBTQI2S communities in Canada. It is important to note that the Federal Sustainable Agenda developed by the Canadian government solely focuses on goals 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14 and 15 which prioritise climate, resource management/development, and infrastructure sectors. While we recognize that environmental factors within sustainable development are key, solely focusing on these areas, as the Canadian government has done, results in a deficit by which pressing issues facing LGBTQI2S communities are erased.

We intend for this document to highlight this gap with the hope of encouraging the federal government to expand their development scope to create more comprehensive and, ultimately, more inclusive policies for LGBTQI2S communities. Accordingly, this report functions as an analysis of Canada’s commitment to the implementation of the SDGs in a way that is inclusive of LGBTQI2S communities and their experiences. By queering the SDGs, Egale provides data and evidence that informs detailed recommendations on how to meaningfully and intentionally include LGBTQI2S communities in Canada’s plans for sustainable development.