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Deconstructing barriers & eliminating binaries: the intersectional power of LGBTIQ youth

For centuries, the cultural belief and social system of “the gender binary” has defined both historic and contemporary impassable delineations between “man” and “woman”. Across the world there are social, political, and cultural practices which are understood as aligned with the expectations of one of two binary genders, and people are judged according to how close they get to these two manufactured binary models. This oppressive system is rooted in patriarchal practices that have been spread and enforced in different cultures through colonialism. This harmful binary has been used to criminalize gender non-conforming persons, and  erases them in conversations about gender equality.


An example of the erasure of gender diverse identites may be found in discussions regarding the gender pay gap, which often focus only on the experience of cis-women compared to cis-men, and do not take into account the marginalization of trans or non-binary persons. This is regrettable as the difficulties experienced by cis women and gender diverse persons in the labor market are rooted in the same harmful gender norms.


Generation Z - understood as including young people born between 1997 – 2012 have grown up in a world of unprecedented gender fluidity, with more access to information on bodily autonomy, awareness on LGBTIQ issues and often surrounded by gender diverse role models in pop culture. With that, the majority of young people nowadays is moving away from the colonial construction of the gender binary, and agree that gender does not define a person as much as it used to in the past. Additionally, around 52% of young people between 13 and 20 years old feel confident in their non-heterosexual identity. 


This growing diversity of gender, sexual orientation and gender expressions, have made clear that discussions focused mainly on the feminine-masculine binary are no longer - and most likely have never been - enough to address the different structures of oppression that reinforce gender inequalities. Decolonising non-binary and intersectional lens have, with time, became fundamental in feminist discussions.  Acknowledging and undoing the damage of colonial practices is a way to decolonise ourselves and our practices, and is the way to truly move away from lgbtiqphobia.


This session of the Queer Youth Dialogues took place on March 22nd 2022, it was an intergenerational dialogue divided in two main themes. First, speakers were invited to discuss the decolonization of the gender binary, and what that means in practice for the future of conferences such as the Commission on the Status of Women. Following that,  speakers reflected on how the different viewpoints held by this generation of young people regarding the importance of gender roles impact the fight for gender equality and climate justice. Further discussed in this session was how a diverse understanding of sexuality and gender affects the priorities of these movements, and what does all of this mean mean for the future of feminist leadership and activism.

You can watch the full recording of this session below in English & Spanish/

Session objectives: 

By joining the session:


  • Participants will have increased knowledge about how feminist movements have been adapting and including the views of the current generation of young people about gender roles and identities

  • Connections are made between LGBTIQ and feminist activists 

  • Attendees will deepen their knowledge about decolonisation and LGBTIQ rights

  • LGBTIQ youth are empowered and inspired to engage and influence the conversations that impact their lives.

Watch the event:



If you are interested in attending other sessions of The Queer Youth Dialogues, including sessions and opportunities not publicly advertised, you can sign up to our dedicated mailing list or join our Signal group.

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