Leilani, IPPF
Fakaleiti (‘leiti’) is a Tongan word to describe transgender women, coming from the English word “lady”. In Tonga, the transgender community is organized by the Tonga Leiti Association (TLA). Leilani (pictured), who identifies as a leiti, has been working with TLA for many years to battle the stigma surrounding the leiti and LGBTI+ community in Tonga. Photo courtesy of IPPF.

Sub-Working Group


The IAWG Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer + (LGBTIQ+) sub-working group aims to improve quality, access and availability of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SHR) services in humanitarian settings for LGBTIQ+ populations by improving cross sector collaboration, ensuring inclusion through established technical standards, engaging LGBTIQ+ networks, and advocating with agencies working in SRH in emergencies.


  • To raise awareness about LGBTIQ+ needs in humanitarian settings within the field of humanitarian SRH and among global IAWG members;
  • To build and enhance the knowledge and capacity of IAWG members around the SRH-related needs, concerns and priorities of LGBTIQ+ persons;
  • To connect and build linkages and strengthen the meaningful cooperation and collaboration with LGBTIQ+ groups, other non-humanitarian actors with expertise working with SRH-related concerns for LGBTIQ+ populations, and the SRH humanitarian field; and
  • To advance inclusion of LGBTIQ+ populations, and integrate a consideration for their needs, in all phases of the emergency management cycle.

Activities in 2018-2019

  1. Develop a matrix tailored to IAWG sub-working groups (i.e GBV, adolescents, abortion, contraception, data, etc) to articulate how LGBTIQ+ populations are at increased vulnerability and face additional barriers in accessing services[1];
  2. Create a library of relevant guidance and best practices of SRHR from the development world;
  3. Gather resources and info graphics to showcase and describe the different LGBTIQ+ people and groups (e.g. lesbian, trans women, trans lesbians, etc.) to distribute among IAWG and partners;
  4. Produce a key advocacy messaging document on the need to focus on SRH for LGBTIQ+ persons in humanitarian settings[2]; and
  5. Develop a partnership list of LGBTIQ+ networks and organizations to engage with and reach out for collaboration.


Matthew Kusen (IPPF) and Rita Nehme (Women Deliver)


[1]  Inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people is required under existing humanitarian principles and human rights mandates – e.g. “leave no one behind”, evidence regarding key populations, etc. Addressing their unmet needs is critical and exclusion (intentional or ancillary) violates existing principles and mandates.

[2] This document aims to provide targeted advocacy and messaging for practitioners, policy makers and other key stakeholders.