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LGBTQ+ Experience in International Development Fields with Juan Miguel Sánchez Martín

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Produced by Lucy Lu and Maria-Jose Alvarez

This #PrideMonth, the Re: Project will be highlighting the experiences of the #LGBTQ+ community in International Development.

LGBTQ+ issue is such an important intersection topic yet it has rarely been discussed in the ID field. Through this *Diversity-Inclusion-Intersectionality* special podcast series, we hope to shed light on LGBTQ+ achievements in the sector to date, the changes that are waiting to happen, and the challenges they still face.

The series will feature our mentors' personal experience and stories about being LGBT+ working in the International development field and working on LGBT+ agendas in developing countries or working for international organizations!


Our second speaker is Juan Miguel Sánchez Marin, Head of Programmes at The Kaleidoscope Trust, a UK-based, registered charity that works to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people globally.

In this podcast, Juan shares his journey and struggles working in the international development field as a gay man and his experience working around the world with his identity, the changes of perspective towards the LGBT+ community in the global development sector, and ways we can support the LGBT community.

With 15 years of international experience operating at the intersection of advocacy, policy and programming to create positive change for those most vulnerable, Juan is a law-based human rights and development specialist, holding a B.A in Law, a Master in Development Studies, a Diploma in Human Rights Law. Originally from the South of Spain, Juan spent most part of the last decade working with - and amplifying the voice of - human rights defenders, youth activists and civil society champions in different countries of South-East Asia and Central America. Currently, he serves as the Head of Programmes for the Kaleidoscope Trust, the UK’s leading LGBT+ international charity fighting for the human rights of LGBT+ people across the Commonwealth.

❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜Learn more about: The Kaleidoscope Trust

❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜Donate to support💜💙 💚💛🧡❤️


[00:57] Juan’s introduction

[03:05] Tell us about the exciting LGBT+ initiatives that you worked on throughout your career

[06:00] How is it like navigating you career path as a gay man in the international dev and humanitarian field?

[08:42] Based on your experience and observation, what area in humanitarian and international development sector do you think has the most room for improvement in terms of LGBT+ inclusion?

[14:16] Having worked in the international development sector for over a decade. How has the sector’s approach toward the LGBTQ community in the aid sector changed over the years?

[18:30] What can one do to support the LGBT+ community daily? Where do you see support for the community being most valuable?

[23:08] What advice would you give to some from the LGBTQ community who wish to work in the international development sector?

[26:05]Any final thoughts

Advice from Juan to other LGBTQ+ individuals who wish to work in Development:

  1. Be yourself, and never never give up!

  2. Look for organization that actually have an enabling environment for you to thrive.

Juan‘s advice on what can one do to support the LGBT+ community daily? Where do you see support for the community being most valuable?

  1. Empathize the LGBTQ+ community on a human level, educate yourself on what are the challenges and what can be done.

  2. Give voice to LGBTQ+people, use your privilege to hold space for them, don’t speak for them, but bring them to the table.

  3. Give technical or financial support to a cause that you feel connected to.

  4. Be a line of defense for the LGBT+ community, speak out against injustice and discrimination where ever you see

If you are also interested in being featured in a podcast and sharing your story and help us bring more visibility to the LGBTQ+ community in the international development field, sign up here!


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Our mission is to re-think, re-skill, and re-imagine the future of work for those in social science-related fields, with a focus on International Affairs and Development. We believe that technological changes have radically altered the way we work by disrupting skills requirements, creating challenges for young social scientists who largely rely on soft skills. Therefore, those pursuing generalist or qualitative disciplines will have to re-skill in an oversaturated job market favoring STEM and tech.

However, most universities’ career services do not yet offer such robust training for students. At RE: Project, we seek to help millennials and Gen Zs not only find a job, but build dynamic, “future proof” careers. We offer an active platform that demystifies career possibilities, helps build professional networks, and supports re-skilling for a changing job market.

At our core, we seek to reduce growing unemployment among young social scientists in an increasingly technologised job market. Our cutting-edge content allows our community members to stay current and learn from experts at the forefront of their industry.

In the short-run, we offer tailored career support by creating curated real-life, authentic content generated by real people of the millennial generation working the industries. Practitioners with 4–7 years of experience can offer as many insights (or more!) as 50-year-old CEOs and Directors about how to break into the industry.

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