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LGBTIQ Youth at the 2022 SDG Action Zone

Logo of the SDG Action Zone

From September 21st to 23rd 2022 the SDG Action Zone brought together the highest levels of UN leadership, activists, government officials, business leaders, changemakers and disruptors in a virtual collaborative space which highlighted ecosystem-wide solutions, plans, and investments needed to positively impact people’s lives and the future of our planet. Running concurrently with the UN General Assembly, the three days were focused on issues of poverty and inequalities, gender, and climate respectively. Although the range of topics and intersectional issues explored over the course of the SDG Action Zone are as diverse as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, calls for cross-issue solidarity and advocacy resonated throughout the three days of programming.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.


Opening the second day of this online gathering, Anbid Zaman (All pronouns) ILGA-Europeyouth representative and co-chair of the Global Queer Youth Network, participated in the opening plenary of the day Gender – The Big Picture. Joined by activist and actor Lily Cole (she/ her) and the former vice president of Panama Isabel Saint Malo (she/her) , the discussions in this plenary explored the contemporary situation of gender equality. Anbid saliently raised the point that it is vital to consider gender equality from an inclusive and post-binary perspective: it is already the case among youth globally to consider gender from a more diverse entry point and to be mindful of the wealth of experiences of sexual and gender identity and expression. This lively and passionate panel continued to explore what meaningful inclusion of youth LGBTIQ voices practically looks like, and how intersectional advocacy is the only way to achieve a future where all of the SDGs are realised for everyone. Anbid passionately discussed the need for intersectional justice and intersectional joy, and pointed out how the rebellious act of community celebration is a valid protest worthy of support. Our joy cannot be separated from our push towards achieving an equal future for all.  


The day continued with panel discussions reflecting on topics such as sustainable peacebuilding and achieving economic justice, with speakers from around the globe. Martin Karadzhov (he/ him) participated in the closing plenary, he was joined by Amonge Sinxoto (she/her), and Hallima Nyota Ang'uria (she/ Her). As the chair of the ILGA World Youth Steering Committee and through his experiences as one of the co-chairs of the Global Queer Youth Network, Martin was asked to explore the reality of what meaningful allyship looks like, challenges faced by LGBITQ youth globally, and how all of this interacts with the common agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. On meaningful allyship, Martin reflected on how performative many allies are when it comes to LGBTIQ youth issues: our rights are often the victims of selectivist allyship from stakeholders – deemed as too complex or too divisive to include. Further, Martin contributed that while it is the responsibility of the LGBTIQ activist community to educate allies, it is of the utmost priority that allies do the work. From regressive politics, higher criminalisation of our communities, the rollback of reproductive rights, and higher reports of violence against trans and gender nonconforming people globally – our allies cannot be complacent and we all must work intersectionally.    Martin closes with a call for solidarity: as an attack on one human right follows with another, the domino effect of this indiscretionate regressive political ideology is a risk to us all.


Closing this day’s program, all speakers were invited back to an Ask Away Session. Here they answered questions and reflected on input shared by the live audience throughout the day. You can find these sessions and the entirety of the three days of the SDG Action Zone online and free to access. You can find out more about the Global Queer Youth Network here and explore the Sustainable Development Goals here, and if you want to know how you can participate in upcoming events related to the SDGs follow this link

Watch the event:

Opening Plenary: Gender The Big Picture

Closing Plenary: Gender

Ask Away: Gender

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