Working for LGBT Rights Around the World


Nearly 80 countries criminalise consensual, adult same-sex activity, or use other laws to marginalise and persecute Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. These laws targeting LGBT people attack their dignity, undermine their safety, and violate their human rights. In some cases, same-sex acts can be punished with the death penalty. 2.79 billion people or 38% of the world’s population still reside in places where being gay can lead to prison or death.

Sexual orientation laws in the world — Criminalisation — ILGA 2016

We believe that everybody has the right to be included in development, no matter what their background, gender identity or sexual orientation. We have an approach of inclusive development for all those who may be socially, politically or economically excluded. We raise our voice wherever discrimination occurs. We have a longstanding tradition of upholding human rights around the world.

In recognition of the importance of protecting LGBT rights, we specifically reviewed our work on LGBT issues and developed an approach. This focuses on building a solid evidence base to underpin our work, strengthening southern voices and developing new partnerships and strengthening international negotiations.

We funded Sexuality, Poverty and Law Research Programme that looked explicitly at the links between development and sexuality to address evidence gaps on the relationship between sexuality and development in the Global South.

Progressive change for LGBT people in developing countries must be driven by local change. This includes shifts in social attitudes and increased political support for human rights. Experience from the significant recent progress on Female Genital Mutilation has shown that supporting change to deeply sensitive issues requires first listening to and supporting Southern leadership and voices for change. Our efforts will focus primarily on catalysing a similar movement for LGBT. We will work centrally and at country level to build linkages and to understand opportunities for leverages, including working with different voices to affect social change, and to build more constructive dialogue on LGBT rights within national and international politics.

There are many groups which can play an effective role influencing decision-makers and changing social norms and attitudes. These groups include: international LGBT groups, international development organisations, faith groups, trade unions, foundations and, private companies.

We believe that no one’s sexuality orientation or gender identity should prevent them from achieving their potential and sharing in progress.

Further Information