Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities around the world face stigmatization, harassment, violence and blatant human rights violations. To combat these horrific acts and to advance the cause of LGBT justice internationally, The Paul E. Singer Foundation is teaming up with the Daniel S. Loeb Family Foundation to award the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the education and research arm of United States’ largest LGBT civil rights organization, major grants over three years.
In keeping with HRC’s mission to end discrimination against LGBT people, the grants will help fund efforts to educate Americans on the human rights of LGBT people around the world; provide fellowships at HRC for foreign LGBT advocates; expose the work of prominent anti-gay American organizations that have pushed anti-gay laws and legislation overseas; and leverage its relationships with American policymakers, faith communities, corporations and other change agents to help protect the human rights of LGBT people abroad.
“Every day around the world, LGBT individuals face arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution just for being who they are,” said Paul Singer. “Some of the worst offenders in this area also happen to be the same regimes that have dedicated themselves to harming the United States and its democratic allies across the globe. As an organization that has been at the forefront of the equality movement for over three decades, the Human Rights Campaign is uniquely positioned to work in tandem with NGOs to empower LGBT and human rights advocates abroad and help stop these abuses.”
"I am proud to support HRC's new initiative to protect LGBT rights globally,” said Daniel S. Loeb. “The challenges the LGBT community faces are acute in many countries, where discrimination takes violent and sometimes deadly forms. As we witnessed in its successful campaign to advance marriage equality in the United States, HRC is a uniquely effective organization that achieves what it sets out to do. I am confident this new program will have an enormous impact in helping to end persecution and enforcing civil rights for LGBT people across the world."
“While great progress has been made in many places around the world, there are many countries where the human rights of LGBT people are violated on a daily basis,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Expanding HRC's ability to work in coalition with international LGBT human rights defenders will hasten the day when LGBT people are free from hate-based violence and equality is a reality for all.”
The need to support LGBT advocates and call out U.S.-based anti-equality organizations abroad has never been greater. Anti-gay organizations are exerting their influence around the world and have successfully pushed homophobic laws and legislation to criminalize homosexuality and deny LGBT human rights. Being gay is still criminal in 76 countries, and in five countries plus parts of Nigeria and Somalia, being gay is punishable by death. Some countries, like Uganda and Nigeria, are taking steps backward to further criminalize LGBT people. And countries like Russia have recently passed laws to criminalize support of the dignity and humanity of the LGBT community.
At the same time, opportunities exist for a global equality movement as a growing number of countries are passing pro-equality legislation and recognizing marriage equality. Seventeen countries around the world afford, or will soon afford, committed and loving gay and lesbian couples the legal right to marry.
A strong advocate for LGBT equality, Mr. Singer has most recently worked with HRC to advance LGBT rights in the United States, including the organization’s efforts to achieve marriage equality. He is also a founding member of American Unity PAC, an organization dedicated to supporting GOP candidates who support marriage equality.
A long-time advocate for human rights, Mr. Loeb worked closely with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature on the state's successful effort to legalize marriage equality in 2011. He has supported similar efforts throughout the country and helped return marriage equality to California by becoming an early funder in 2010 of the historic Perry lawsuit sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
HRC has a proven track record of exposing homophobia and advancing the cause of justice and full equality for LGBT individuals. HRC is also a founding member of the Council for Global Equality and became a member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in 2012.