Quezon City: An Example of SDG 11 in Practice

The United Nations slogan, as part of the commitment to Agenda 2030, to “Leave no one behind,” should mean no one is forgotten, marginalized, or forced to be silent. “Leaving no one behind,” means inclusion and the need for consultation from all those concerned when programs and standards are set by cities and states.

Such is the case in Quezon City, Philippines, where OutRight Action International partnered with EnGendeRights, Inc. and the Office of the Vice Mayor of Quezon City, to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons are not only recipients of services provided by the city, but are also partners in creating an inclusive city where everyone is an active player in development. The project’s aim was to improve and broaden the service and intervention on domestic violence and family violence of barangays, which are the smallest government unit in the community. This included creating a protocol to standardize sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE)-inclusive services in handling domestic violence/family violence cases experienced by LGBTI persons. It meant capacitating barangay service providers and educating the barangay staff and the community about LGBTI issues and strengthening the partnership and support of barangays to LGBTI organizations in their community. In this way, we pave the way for Barangay services to be LGBTI friendly, and at the same time capacitate LGBTI persons in the community to be part of the Barangay’s initiatives and the wider community the Barangay services.

While barangays are the first responders in any domestic violence/family violence complaints, second responders are police officers, who as documented cases have shown , have been one of the top three perpetrators of violence and abuse against LGBTI persons. Since 2013, OutRight has been engaging with the Philippine National Police and providing workshops to change and improve the attitude and behaviors of police officers in their interactions with LGBTI persons. In Quezon City, we provided a 3-day workshop to police officers to ensure that access to justice for LGBTI persons will not be compromised because of inefficient and discriminatory police officers. In addressing the root causes of bias by sensitizing police officers, OutRight works to ensure safer and more inclusive spaces for LGBTI persons in Quezon City.

The Vice Mayor of Quezon City has not only been a champion for LGBTI issues and to making the city more LGBTI friendly, she has also initiated programs to service and rehabilitate other marginalized communities, including for those who use drugs. In contrast to the brutal and deadly campaign employed by the Philippine President against those who use drugs, the office of the Vice Mayor of Quezon City set aside funds for rehabilitation programs as well as other opportunities to improve the lives of those who use drugs, including employment programs.

Quezon City is an example of Sustainable Development Goal 11, which promotes sustainable states and communities, in action. Under SDG 11 and the “leave no one behind” principle, all members of society should be given the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their communities and to a movement of sustainable development.