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IMO considers LGBT+ community in gender diversity initiatives

20 October 2023

The importance of considering the LGBT+ community in attracting talented maritime personnel has been highlighted in a paper forming part of the agenda at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Technical Cooperation Committee in October 2023.

The information paper on diversity and inclusion was drawn up by seven member states and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), on the back of a new LGBT+ initiative, the I Exist Too project. That project is spearheaded by Nautilus member Gustavo Aguilar-Miranda, who is also a Panamanian PhD researcher on the LGBT+ community in maritime, based now in the British port city Newcastle.

The information paper is seen by the I Exist Too project as one of three key progress benchmarks the project aimed for this year. It was collectively submitted to the IMO 73rd Technical Cooperation Committee paper by member states Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Denmark, Malta, Netherlands, South Africa, and the ITF.

The paper aims to provide awareness on LGBT+ issues in maritime for improving diversity, equity and inclusion in any new industry initiatives. In particular, it calls on the IMO to consider the 'importance of considering diversity and inclusivity matters, such as the inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ community in its work', in order to 'attract talented personnel to the maritime sector'.

A lack of comprehensive studies keeps LGBT+ seafarers and issues impacting recruitment and retention 'on the margins', says the paper. Diversity, equity and inclusion 'could be seen as a key to a sustainable future for the global maritime industry.'

The paper's submission was highlighted by Mr Aguilar-Miranda at the recent Pride in Maritime Industry Roundtable, hosted by Maritime UK and chaired by Nautilus international's head of international relations Danny McGowan.