Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Outright International Publishes New Report Revealing the Challenges and Triumphs of LGBTIQ Organizing Worldwide

Outright International has released a groundbreaking (embargoed until September 14, 2023) report titled "The Global State of LGBTIQ Organizing: The Right to Register and the Freedom to Operate 2023." This comprehensive study sheds light on the state of LGBTIQ organizing worldwide, highlighting regional trends and providing insights into the challenges faced by LGBTIQ organizations in different countries.

The report underscores the vital role of LGBTIQ organizations in documenting human rights violations, advocating for inclusion and equality, and providing direct services. It emphasizes the importance of supporting these organizations to ensure their ability to operate effectively and make a meaningful impact.

One of the report’s key findings is that LGBTIQ organizations face significant legal hurdles in registering and operating. In many countries, LGBTIQ organizations encounter barriers to registration, which restricts their ability to access funding, engage in advocacy, and provide essential services to their communities.

It provides valuable insights into the unique contexts and struggles faced by LGBTIQ organizations in these regions, as well as the progress and successes achieved.

"We hope this report will serve as a wake-up call to governments, funders, the wider civil society, and the international community," said Ohotuowo Ogbeche, Outright International’s global researcher. "It is crucial that we recognize the vital role of LGBTIQ organizations and work together to overcome the barriers they face. By supporting and empowering these organizations, we can create a more inclusive and equal world for all."

The report is based on extensive research, including a targeted survey of 71 LGBTIQ activists in 35 countries, 18 interviews with LGBTIQ activists and organizations, as well as an analysis of registration processes and legal frameworks. It examines regional trends in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Eastern Europe. It provides nine country case studies highlighting LGBTIQ organizations’ conditions in Algeria, Angola, China, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. Our 2023 research found that LGBTIQ organizations exist and can register openly as LGBTIQ organizations in 94 countries, while in 74 countries, LGBTIQ organizations exist but cannot register and operate freely. In two countries, nascent groups exist, but it is unclear if registration as openly LGBTIQ organizations is possible. However, in 26 countries, we did not identify any LGBTIQ organizations.

The documentation includes positive developments. For instance, LGBTIQ organizations have successfully fought for their right to register and operate freely, with the Botswana Court of Appeal ordering the registration of the Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) in 2016, Kenya’s Supreme Court upholding the right of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) to register, and the Supreme Court of Eswatini setting aside the refusal of the Registrar of Companies to register the Eswatini Sexual and Gender Minorities group, both in 2023. But this progress has been tempered by regression in countries like China, where several LGBTIQ organizations were forced to shut down, and in so-called LGBT-free zones in Poland.

“The increase of countries that have LGBTIQ organizations, registered or not, is a sign of progress. LGBTIQ organizations are fundamental in creating societies that are inclusive, respectful, and accepting of LGBTIQ people,” said executive director Maria Sjödin.

Sjödin added that the report points to restrictive government policies, societal discrimination, and the closure of organizations as significant obstacles to their work. "The Global State of LGBTIQ Organizing" serves as a crucial resource for understanding the current landscape of LGBTIQ rights and the role of organizations in advancing equality.