Bogotá City
Bogotá City - ©Image by Andres Martinez from

LGBTI public policy

Icons use case study city info



Icons use case study main actors

Main actors

City Government, Public Utility, other

Icons use case study project area

Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

Icons use case study duration


Ongoing since 2007/01

Promoting co-existence and respect for difference.

Aware of the vulnerability of rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersexual (LGBTI) citizens in Colombia, the District Administration of Bogotá initiated the implementation of a public policy to protect the rights of LGBTI persons. This policy is aimed at the transformation of imaginary and negative social representations towards sexual and gender diversity and eliminating the inequality and marginalization of LGBTI persons and social groups to achieve living conditions in accordance with the social Rule of Law - real and effective equality for all citizens.

Sustainable Development Goals

Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Guangzhou Award

This project was shortlisted for the 'Guangzhou Award' in 2018 in the following category: Deserving initiative.

Bogotá, Colombia

Size and population development
The city of Bogotá has a total population of 8,080,734, while its metropolitan area has a population of over 10,700,000. (world population review 2018)

Population composition
The 2005 census put the population density for the city at approximately 4,310 people per square kilometer. The rural area of the capital district only has about 15,810 inhabitants. The majority of the population is European or of European-mixed descent. The people of mixed descent are those of Mestizo origin. There is a small minority of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous people as well. The city has recorded significant growth for a number of years and is still growing at a rate of 2.65%, this is largely due to internal migration. Historically, Bogota’s main religion was Roman Catholic and the city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. In the most recent census, a large portion of the population declared they are non-practicing. (world population review 2018)

Main functions
Bogotá lies in central Colombia and is 2,640 metres about sea level in the Northern Andes Mountains. It is the capital and largest city of Colombia and the educational, cultural, commercial, administrative, financial, and political center. Bogotá is a territorial entity and has the same administrative status as the Departments of Colombia.

Main industries / business
Bogotá is the headquarters for all major commercial banks, and the Banco de la República, Colombia's central bank as well as Colombia's main stock market. As the capital city, it houses a number of government agencies including the national military headquarters and is the center of Colombia's telecommunications network. Additionally, most companies (domestic and international) in Colombia have their headquarters in Bogotá. Bogotá is a major center for the import and export of goods for Colombia and the Andean Community in Latin America and is the home of Colombia's tire, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Bogotá is the hub of air travel in the nation and the home of South America's first commercial airline Avianca (Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia). Railroads connect Bogotá with the Caribbean coast to the north and via (Puerto Beriro) with the Pacific coast to the west. Bogotá is on the Colombian section of the Pan-American and Simón Bolívar highways and has road connections with all major Colombian cities.

Sources for city budget
The City of Bogotá draws its budget for public expenditure largely from taxes, fees, fines, operating revenues.

Political structure
Bogotá, as the capital of the Republic of Colombia, houses the executive branch (Office of the President), the legislative branch (Congress of Colombia) and the judicial branch (Supreme Court of Justice, Constitutional Court, Council of State and the Superior Council of Judicature) of the Colombian government.

Administrative structure
The Mayor of Bogotá and the City Council, both elected by popular vote, are responsible for city administration. The City is divided into 20 localities and each of these is governed by an administrative board elected by popular vote, made up of no fewer than seven members. The Mayor designates local mayors from candidates nominated by the respective administrative board.

The human rights of citizens who identify as LGBTI in Colombia has generated concern both nationally and internationally since the 1980s. In 2014, it was recorded that 69.4% of LGBTI citizens who participated in the survey had been discriminated against or that their rights have been violated for some reason.  This is 28.7 percentage points below the 2010 survey, in which 98.1% of citizens surveyed said they had been discriminated against or that their rights were violated.

The 2014 assessment indicated that the percentages of discrimination are distributed as follows: lesbians of 62.6%, gay men of 70.5%, bisexual men of 44.9% and bisexual women of 67.1%. However, it is worth noting that it is transgender people, both women and men, who recorded the highest percentages of discrimination: 92.9% and 88.8%, respectively.

Regarding the social representations that the citizens of Bogotá have about citizens who identify as LGBTI, in 2014, 14.1% of the respondents considered that these people were a risk to the community, 5.7 percentage points below the 2010 figure of 19.8%. Those who answered that people who identify as LGBTI can be a risk to society were asked if they had ever spoken with an LGBTI person, and only 43% of the people surveyed had done so. This has led the District Administration of Bogotá to the conclusion that risk representation is not based on direct contact with people from the LGBTI communities, but on prejudices.

According to the District Development Plan "Bogota Mejor para Todos", by 2020 the LGBTI public policy will contribute to achieve two main objectives:

  • 18% reduction in discrimination perception, violence and social exclusion of people who identify as LGBTI.
  • 5% reduction in the number of people that consider LGBTI people a risk to the society.

Commencing in 2007, the LGBTI community in Bogotá have actively participated in focus groups and contributed to the development of the LGBTI public policy. A citizen consultation process that included representatives from different departments of the city administration and the private sector was also organized. These exercises served as the basis for formulating policy guidelines and contributed to the development of a number of participation processes and initiatives in support of the LGBTI community. An example of this is the creation of the first community center for the care of LGBTI people, to provide them psychological and legal support.

The Sexual Diversity Office is the agency in charge of leading the design and coordination of the LGBTI public policy. It comprises a team of professionals and administrative personnel that has increased over time as new tasks, responsibilities and challenges have arisen. Moreover, implementation of the policy involves the cooperation of 15 districts who adhere to an Action Plan. Some of the districts have a special team or an existing agency such as the Deputy Office of LGBTI Issues and the Women and Gender Management.

Additionally, within the framework of this policy, there are spaces for articulation with other actors, such as:

  • The Inter-sectorial Table of Sexual Diversity: with the participation of 15 district sectors, through which actions of coordination, execution and monitoring of the LGBTI public policy are carried out.
  • The LGBTI Advisory Board: This body is made up of 8 district sectors; 4 LGBTI people (with a representative for each of the 4 social sectors); 4 representatives of LGBTI persons who are experts in matters related to the defence of fundamental rights such as: access to health, education, work, life and security, and the right to participation and culture; and a representative of the Universities based in Bogota. This board analyses the main problems for the recognition, restoration and guarantee of rights for LGBTI people in the city and makes recommendations in this regard, together with the city administration.
  • Tables and local advisory councils: These tables are held locally. Representatives of LGBTI organizations, the mayor's office, the International Relations Office and the Institute of Participation and Community Action of Bogotá, participate in these meetings. The objective is to generate projects aimed to enhance the quality of life of the LGBTI population in the city.

Specific activities of the policy include:

  • Comprehensive care guides for victims of school harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Differential attention to lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.
  • Access to justice through the Houses of Equality of Opportunities for Women.
  • Two Community Centers located in Teusaquillo and the Martires.
  • Refugee House for the integral attention to victims of violence of the LGBTI sectors, (unique in Colombia and in Latin America).
  • Community dining room that serves people from the LGBTI sectors in food insecurity conditions. 
  • Unit Against Discrimination, whose purpose is to advise and legally accompany cases of discrimination;

The LGBTI public policy has its own budget allocation that comes from public funding. During the period from 2008 to 2016, 22 billion COP was allocated for activities that contributed to its successful development. Over time, this budget has increased as LGBTI rights has become a priority for the Districts development plans.

The implementation of the LGBTI public policy has reduced the indicator associated with the violation of LGBTI people rights from 98% to 69%. Likewise, the negative perception of the citizenship against LGBTI people, was reduced by 5 percentage points, from 19% to 14%.

In 2010, the construction of the baseline of the LGBTI policy was oriented to assess the following: 

  1. The social representations that the citizenship and public servants have about the people of the LGBTI sectors;
  2. The capacity of the Local Administration to implement the LGBTI public policy; and
  3. The current situation of the rights of LGBTI people within the community.

Additionally, the city administration sought to establish a starting point to generate, through strategic processes, actions that would allow:

  1. To increase support from District Institutions and their response to the violation of rights of LGBTI citizens; 
  2. The change of cultural representations that affect the rights of LGBTI people; and
  3. The development of a citizen culture that respects diversity, in sexual orientation and gender identity.

The challenges the implementation of the policy has faced are:

  • The lack of coordination and dialogue with conservative and opposition groups of the policy in order to build respect for difference.
  • The lack of a national LGBTI policy and coordination mechanisms between the national and local levels, even though the city of Bogotá has advised and participated in working groups with national entities to achieve guidelines for a national LGBTI policy.
  • The lack of understanding and ownership of the issue by public servants. This has been overcome through the Inclusive Work Environment strategy which in 2018 trained 892 people in the public, private and/or mixed sectors in a differential approach based on sexual orientation and gender identities and generated strategic alliances with the private sector for the inclusion of LGBTI people in the workforce.

The involvement of citizens and organizations from the LGBTI community and development of positive actions is a major factor in the success of the policy.

The Directorate of Sexual Diversity, as technical secretariat of public policy, has provided support to formulate policies at both the national and local level for the Ministry of the Interior and to other regions such as Cundinamarca Government (including Chia, Zipaquira and Madrid). Additionally, the Directorate has worked with Tolima and Huila governments to build a baseline for a multipurpose survey at the departmental level.

Moreover, the Directorate of Sexual Diversity has participated in different international conferences to present the development and implementation of the policy. During 2015-2017, Bogotá’s participation in events such as “Equality Week”, provided the opportunity to exchange experiences with South Africa, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Madrid, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires.

Coexistence and Respect for Difference, Guangzhou Award for Urban Innovation:

On the Map

Map placeholder

Want to know more about this project?

Guangzhou Award
Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou Award

Institution | Urban Award

Photo gallery