Human Rights Campaign Honors International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) by Highlighting Impacts of Global Small Grants Program

by Kathryn Smith

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 third year of HRC Foundation’s Global Small Grants Program, which supported 20 initiatives to advance LGBTQ+ equality in 18 different countries.

Around the world, there are countless activists who risk their lives every day to create a better world for LGBTQ+ people in their country. This is especially important to remember as advocates in Uganda are fighting a battle against a draconian law that criminalizes their very existence. On this IDAHOBIT, we are reminded yet again that progress can only be achieved when we all work together.

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Every May 17, as we mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we are reminded of the importance of global action to fight against global inequality. Advocates around the world do incredible work fighting for LGBTQ+ people in their own communities, and HRC is honored to support their work through our Small Grants Program. IDAHOBIT serves as a reminder that countless LGBTQ+ people across the globe experience discrimination for being who they are on a daily basis – and provides an opportunity to do real, meaningful work to uplift our partners around the world

Jean Freedberg, Human Right's Campaign Director of Global Partnerships

HRC’s Global Small Grants Program builds upon the principles of IDAHOBIT and its 2023 theme, “Together Always: United in Diversity,” by supporting efforts to advance equality around the world. Each grant recipient received up to $5,000 to fund programs that fostered innovative movement-strengthening projects focused on engaging employers or people of faith as allies, strengthening racial equality for LGBTQ+ people, and building up trans leadership and advocacy.

The grants support alumni of HRC’s global programs - a growing network of 200 LGBTQ+ advocates from nearly 100 countries. This year’s grant recipients included five from Africa, four from Asia/Central Asia, six from Europe, and five from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some examples of the innovative programs conducted with the small grants include:

In Uganda, HRC Global Innovator Tom Twongyeirwe through Universal Coalition of Affirming Africans (UCAA) Uganda engaged faith leaders and people and communities of faith as allies for equality through a workshop to change hearts and minds. During this thought-provoking dialogue, they discussed faith-related issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda. focusing on debunking the lies and the myths that are especially prevalent following the recent passage of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

In Slovenia, HRC Global partner Legebitra organized a program to promote inclusive workspaces for transgender employees. Building on their previous efforts supported by HRC to recognize inclusive companies, Legebitra developed innovative educational materials focused on creating inclusive workplaces for transgender employees. They convened a workshop with 16 participants from eight companies to present these materials, and through the connections formed there they were able to identify further participants in this program.

In Panama, HRC Global Innovator Pau Gonzalez through his organization Hombres Trans Panamá in collaboration with PFLAG Panamá developed a project with six faith leaders to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in religion. Titled, "Faith Leaders and Families, Building Bridges of Love, Respect and Inclusion, for Discriminated People in Panama," the project developed a video campaign that featured faith leaders across different faiths emphasizing the values of love, respect, and inclusion. This video reached thousands of people on social media. They also conducted a workshop for lay advocates on how to engage people of faith as allies for equality. The participants came together at the end to present about their faiths and values of inclusion.

This year’s full list of recipients are: Alliance Against Discrimination of LGBT People (Albania), OMSA (Albania) Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO (Armenia), Pink Coconuts (Barbados), Fundación Sergio Urrego (Colombia), Diálogo Diverso (Ecuador), The Mediators Foundation (Ghana), Kyrgyz Indigo (Kyrgyzstan), LGBT Forum Progress (Montenegro), Bisi Alimi Foundation (Nigeria), Track-T (Pakistan), Hombres Trans Panamá/ PFLAG Panama (Panama), Legebitra (Slovenia), ECADE (St. Lucia), Queer Media (Sweden), NGO "LighT" (Central Asia), Equal Asia Foundation (Thailand), Bridge Initiative Organization (Tanzania/Zanzibar), Tanzania Trans Initiative (Tanzania) and Universal Coalition of Affirming Africans Uganda (Uganda).

The HRC Global Small Grants program is made possible with generous support from ADM and we are grateful for their partnership. You can read updates from more of the organizations here and learn more about the Global Small Grants program here.

Around the world, there has been tremendous progress in advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people, yet in virtually every country, countless numbers 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.

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. Each year, advocates and allies around the world commemorate the day by focusing on efforts to end violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

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