by Meghan Olson •
WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, is commemorating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) by celebrating the innovative outcomes of the second year of HRC Foundation’s Global Small Grants Program, which supported 20 initiatives to advance LGBTQ+ equality in 20 countries.
HRC’s Global Small Grants Program builds upon the principles of IDAHOBIT and its 2022 theme, “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights,” by supporting efforts to advance equality around the world. Each grant recipient received up to $5,000 to fund programs that fostered creative programming (often virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic) focused on transgender rights, building allies among business, youth programming and other innovations.
The grants support alumni of HRC’s global programs - a growing network of 180 LGBTQ+ advocates from 90 countries. This year’s grant recipients included six from Africa, five from Asia, two from Europe, four from Latin America and the Caribbean and three from the Middle East and North Africa. Ten grants were awarded to initiatives serving the transgender community.
Some examples of the innovative programs conducted with the small grants include:
The first transgender roundtable in Panama, convened by Hombres Trans Panama, that brought together eleven trans organizations from across the country to draft the first comprehensive law to protect transgender people in Panama, including non-binary and intersex people. The roundtables included events with the deputy mayor of Panama; a member of the Congress; and a question and answer session with a representative from the Public Registry of Panama, giving trans advocates direct access to officials responsible for the registry system. “Thanks to the amazing support of the HRC team members, we were able to get a jumpstart to strengthen our trans leaders and our movement,” said HRC Global Innovator Pau Gonzalez.
In Quito, Ecuador, HRC Global Innovator Danilo Manzano, through his organization Diálogo Diverso engaged 15 local companies in support of the LGBTQ community to build inclusive workspaces, reaching small and large companies previously unengaged on these issues.
In Armenia, HRC Global Innovator Lilit Martirosyan, through her transgender focused organization Right Side NGO, organized a four-day Advocacy School for 18 LGBTQ+ youth across the country to provide them with human rights advocacy skills. At the end of the training, each advocate created a “Together We Can Change'' campaign, preparing short videos and posters and then distributing them on social media and among their peers. Together, these empowered students reached more than 210,000 people. “Once again, thank you HRC for our great cooperation and for making our LGBTQ+ movement stronger in Armenia, and for your support to each one of us,” said Martiroysan.
In Uganda, HRC Global Innovator Qwin Mbabazi supported a program to train 35 young transgender advocates from the east and south of the country on their basic rights, and digital and security competencies. Igniting Young Minds Tanzania, a trans youth-focused organization conducted a social media campaign raising awareness about violence against trans people in Tanzania. “Our online campaign has garnered support from other CSOs and LGBTI communities, key and vulnerable populations. We have been able to get allies to share our stories, posts, and messages on reducing violence and killings of trans people. We want to demystify stereotypes that lead to the killing of transgender people,” they said. In Mauritius, Anjelee Kaur, through her organization Rekonekt, brought together more than 15 businesses in support of creating inclusive workplaces on the island.
In Cambodia, HRC Global Innovator Srorn Srun conducted a program to engage elderly LGBTQ+ people in sharing their positive and hopeful stories with younger LGBTQ+, families, communities and authorities to build allies for future policy change.
This year’s recipients are: Open Mind Spectrum Albania (Albania), Right Side Human Right Defender NGO (Armenia), Somos - Communication, Health and Sexuality (Brazil), CamASEAN Youth’s Future (Cambodia), Diálogo Diverso (Ecuador), Alliance for Dynamics Initiative (Ghana), Red Dot Foundation (India), Helem (Lebanon), Lesbian Intersex Trans and other Extensions (Malawi), Rekonekt (Mauritius), Nassawiyat (Morocco), Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (Namibia), Track-T (Pakistan), Hombres Trans Panama (Panama), PRESENTE (Peru), Youth Voices Count, Inc. (Philippines), IGNITING YOUNG MINDS TANZANIA (Tanzania), UniKuir (Turkey), Queer Youth (Uganda) and one organization that requested to remain anonymous.
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 — in the U.S. and around the world.
Some of the numbers and trends HRC is monitoring across the globe include:
Marriage equality is now legal in 31 countries;
68 countries currently criminalize same-sex relationships, and in up to 9 countries, same-sex relationships may be punishable by death;
375 murders of transgender and gender diverse people were recorded around the world in 2021 - the highest number ever, however, the actual number is likely much higher.
IDAHOBIT 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 countless 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, Tom Healy and Fred P. Hochberg and the Metlife Foundation for their support of our global programs.
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