Today, the Human Rights Campaign is commemorating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) by celebrating the innovative outcomes of HRC’s inaugural Global Small Grants Program, which supported 19 initiatives to advance LGBTQ equality in 17 countries.
HRC’s Global Small Grants Program builds upon the principles of IDAHOTB, and its 2021 theme “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing,” by supporting efforts to advance equality around the world. Each grant recipient received up to $5,000 to fund programs that fostered virtual programming in a COVID-19 environment; or boosted initiatives to build allies among communities of faith or in business.
The grant recipients came from a diverse global network: six from Africa, five from Asia, two from Europe, six from Latin America and the Caribbean. In its first year, the grants supported the development and creation of: three video series, two magazines, six forums between LGBTQ and faith leaders, three professional development programs for LGBTQ workers and engaged 35 international companies to adopt LGBTQ inclusive policies and practices.
One of the recipients, The Bisi Alimi Foundation in Nigeria, organized a groundbreaking virtual business roundtable. The Foundation brought together workplace equality experts to meet with 30 stakeholders to discuss the role businesses can play to support LGBTQ rights in Nigeria.
“The Human Rights Campaign grant enabled the Bisi Alimi Foundation to hold our first ever Business Roundtable to discuss the challenges to LGBT inclusion in Nigeria, what we can do to support it, and crowdsourced good practices towards achieving equality in the workplace,” said Judith Airiohuodion, Country Director of the Bisi Alimi Foundation. “Regardless of our nationalities, we can all play a part in raising awareness, visibility and spreading love especially during the IDAHOTB celebration.”
Another grant recipient was Equal Ground in Sri Lanka; the organization created a social media campaign titled, “Who Are We?” to portray that the LGBTQ community is fully integrated into Sri Lankan society. Equal Ground interviewed three successful LGBTQ Sri Lankans, created animated videos, and created a photo montage video of famous and influential LGBTQ Sri Lankans. On Facebook alone, the campaign reached a total of more than 145,000 people and more than 17,000 people engaged with the content.
“In Sri Lanka, most LGBTIQ persons think they cannot succeed in life because of who they are,” said Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, Executive Director of Equal Ground. “Our campaign showcased the vibrant individuals from our own community, who have been very successful here in Sri Lanka —we can be what or whoever we want to be. Thanks to HRC and the opportunities it has provided us, we are able to engage globally and locally to make real positive changes.”
Human Rights Campaign President, Alphonso David, will be joining Dignity Network Canada and BlackCap for a conversation with Black leaders from Canadian, Dutch and British LGBTQ organizations to mark IDAHOTB and discuss global challenges and trends. The virtual event will take place Monday, May 17th at 11am EDT. David will be joined by Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah from Kaleidoscope Trust, United Kingdom and Marie Ricardo from COC Nederlands. Register for the event here.
Millions of LGBTQ people around the world are making tremendous progress in advancing their rights, yet in virtually every country, they still lack fundamental rights and protections, and are at risk of violence, and in some cases, death. In particular, transgender people face an epidemic of violence — including in the U.S, where this year alone, HRC has tracked more deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people than at the corresponding point in any previous year.
Some of the numbers and trends HRC is monitoring across the globe include:
IDAHOTB marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. The move followed a similar decision by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. In 2004, LGBTQ activists gathered for the first time to mark this date with rallies in support of equality. The anniversary is now marked by celebrations, governmental proclamations and renewed efforts to end the discrimination and violence that LGBTQ people throughout the world still face.
HRC Foundation is grateful to Open Society Foundations, Fred Hochberg, Metlife Foundation and The Walt Disney Corporation for their support of our global programs.
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