Tamara Adrián, who is the first openly transgender person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly, and Andrés Rivera, a trans and intersex activist from Chile, are among the 20 people who took part in the meeting with Kim that took place on April 11 during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings. Activists from Mexico, El Salvador, Bolivia, Brazil, Kosovo, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iraq, Senegal, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda and India also participated.
The Bank Information Center, an organization that works with advocates and civil society organizations that hope to influence World Bank policies, said in a press release that World Bank executive directors and board members from Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Chile attended the meeting along with Bono.
The Bank Information Center noted Kim announced during the meeting that the World Bank plans to hire a senior advisor to “coordinate” its work on LGBT-specific issues and “facilitate the relationship with the SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) community around the world.” He also said the World Bank would earmark $750,000 to fund three studies in Brazil, Chile and Venezuela to examine the economic cost of homophobia.
The meeting took place amid lingering concerns over the World Bank’s policies on LGBT-specific issues.
The institution in 2014 postponed a $90 million loan to the Ugandan government in response to President Yoweri Museveni’s decision to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Act. LGBT rights advocates in the U.S. and around the world continue to insist the World Bank has either not done enough to respond to human rights abuses based on sexual orientation or gender identity in recipient countries or have “ignored” them.
The Bank Information Center noted in its press release that Kim “noted the difficulty in passing a safeguard policy” with sexual orientation and gender identity because of “strong opposition” from Russia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
The organization said the World Bank is “set” to finalize the updated safeguards with LGBT-specific provisions later this year.