ILGA World

by The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)
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ILGA World
ILGA World
ILGA World
An affirmation of feminist principles
An affirmation of feminist principles

Dear Donors

The enormity of the challenges that face our planet, societies and LGBTIQ persons can seem overwhelming. In the ongoing world pandemic, 2021 has been a year of sustainably adapting to new realities and finding creative and new ways to advance change.

The power of cross-border, cross-movement and cross-identity solidarity, allyship and community has never been more needed. This is what ILGA World has strived to do in 2021.

As we look back on this year, we pause in remembrance and gratitude to those we have lost on the way, and we also thank you for your work for the rights of all: for holding on, pushing forward, speaking out, and sometimes simply being alongside LGBTIQ persons.

Feminist and gender-inclusive values guide our work

2021 was a year that saw amplified attacks against gender-inclusivity from many angles. In a ground-breaking initiative, ILGA World worked together with women, feminist, LGBTIQ, and trans-led organisations to launch the Affirmation of Feminist Principlesoutline values that are fundamental to the achievement of gender equality, and amplify the inclusive historical positions that feminists have taken in relation to understanding gender, sex, and sexuality.

At the United Nations, ILGA World supported the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’s two reports looking at the inclusive framework of gender and the current hostility against gender identity and trans persons, and this is something we will do even more on in the coming years.  

Our world

Our member organisations – now numbering 1,739 from 168 countries and territories – continued to change the world in a myriad of ways.

We are working especially on LGBTIQ youth issues together with the Global Queer Youth Network (GQYN) in the run-up to the ILGA World conference next year, which will be held under the theme ‘LGBTIQ Youth: Future Present Change’. With the GQYN, we have launched  the Queer Youth Dialogues: a series of programmatic events, trainings, and connection opportunities which invite LGBTIQ+ young people from around the world to engage, build capacity, network, and share their experiences. 

We continue to centre the diversity of our member organisations’ experiences and voices, for example with a two-day conference on the occasion of Trans Day of Remembrance, with a new magazine to celebrate LGBTIQ women in our movement, and with a moving piece for Bi Visibility Day.

We showed global intersex allyship with a powerful video, and talked about how depathologisation is a path to trans justice.

Many of our member organisations also met at online ILGA conferences: Pan Africa ILGA in August, and ILGA-Europe in October. ILGA World supported the “Queer Democracy in Action” of board elections at these conferences, a core part of keeping our membership lead the way for our organisation.

Our advocacy

We also continued to co-organise virtual Advocacy Weeks at the United Nations, gathering activists to engage in either the Universal Periodic Review or on trans-specific issues. We provided key input and guidance on the work of many UN Special Procedures, and supported activists worldwide as they raised important human rights concerns with the UN Treaty Bodies.

Intersectionality is a lens that continues to guide us in everyday activities, making sure more voices are heard. In 2021 we worked more closely with LGBTI persons with disabilities to challenge ableism and cisheteronormativity through human rights mechanisms. We are increasingly adding sign-language, closed-captioning, and other accessibility functions to our events and online tools.

We worked behind the scenes to help make reality an historic first: 53 States calling to protect the human rights of intersex people at the United Nations.

Beyond the UN, we made sure that LGBTI issues were high on the agenda in key international spaces, speaking powerfully for inclusion at a high-level gathering of world leaders to commemorate the Holocaust, and pushing to make sports a safer and more accessible environment for all, including at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and for trans and intersex athletes generally. Our presence in the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality, the Sports and Rights Alliance and the Centre for Sport and Human Rights helps us continue to address these issues at the global level.

Our resources for activism
We expanded our services and published more research in 2021.

Building on the analyses of criminalisation from our existing Trans Legal Mapping Reports and State-Sponsored Homophobia reports, we issued a brand-new publication – Our Identities Under Arrest – offering a global overview of the enforcement of laws criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults and diverse gender expressions.

We are also preparing for very significant changes in how our research is structured and presented. This will be launched in early 2022 and will cover the whole scope of the laws around the world that affects people with diverse sex characteristics, gender identities and expressions, and sexual orientations. We can’t wait to show you!

The change we see

The work that our communities are doing is bringing about change!

In 2021 we saw the coming into effect of laws decriminalising consensual-same sex sexual acts in both Bhutan and Angola, and in November the Botswana Appeals Court upheld the High Court's ruling to the same end. We saw marriage equality passed in both Switzerland and Chile. So-called “conversion therapies” were banned in Canada; other jurisdictions worldwide are heading in the same direction, and France is only one presidential signature away from it.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, parliament unanimously passed sex self-identification law making it easier for a person to amend their birth certificate to correctly identify their gender, and the Netherlands formally apologised to trans and intersex persons for forcing sterilisation on those who wanted to rectify their gender markers.

With regressive laws and violent actions by State and private actors alike also threatening LGBTI persons around the world in all regions, we remain vigilant and committed to fighting and pushing to see positive change happening everywhere!

Our office

All of this work would not have been possible without our 19 Board members and 35 committee members who volunteer their time, energy, skills and passion to keep ILGA a truly movement-owned organisation.

Probably the biggest change of the year at the office was the selection of Julia Ehrt as ILGA World’s new Executive Director. Julia replaces André du Plessis who now leaves after more than 8 years in the organisation.

Earlier in the year we also welcomed a new person to the staff team: Eli Rubashkyn, who leads our work on intersex rights within our Gender Identity & Expression and Sex Characteristics team. We also advertised for four new positions at ILGA World, and as the year closes, we will soon be announcing our new team members!

We are so grateful to the ongoing work of all the members of our staff - who also include AndrewChamindra, Daniele, Gabriel, Kseniya, Lucas, Natasha, Paula and Polyxeni.

A special shout-out also to the 12 persons that interned with us this year:

Amira (Egypt), AR (Philippines), Demet (Turkey), Diego (Peru), Farai (Zimbabwe), Francisco (Spain), Guillermo (Mexico), Hazel (Botswana), María (Argentina), Nazl (Turkey), Tofunmi (Nigeria) and Tristán (Guatemala), as well as all the consultants and volunteers who have made our work possible!

As we head into 2022, our internship programme will be re-named “International Junior Professionals Programme”, continuing to welcome to our team persons who are at an early stage of their career.

Into 2022

2022 will also be the year when our global family will gather together again! The next ILGA World Conference will take place from 2nd to 6th May 2022 in LA Long Beach, hosted by the It Gets Better Project. As it will take place during the ongoing pandemic, we have made contingency and safety plans for the conference, which will include some chance for digital participation.

We received 295 session proposals and 721 people applied for scholarships to attend, and we have worked with these LGBTI activists from around the world to make the ILGA World 2022 conference as diverse, strategic, and celebratory as we can.

Later during the year, we will be supporting the International Intersex Forum, deepening our work on global decriminalisation, tackling the global backlash against gender, working hard to ensure that the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on SOGI is renewed at the UN Human Rights Council, and connecting and supporting our global network of regions even more.

We extend our warmest thanks and appreciation on behalf of the ILGA World Board, ILGA World staff to all of you who have contributed to this year’s success.

With best wishes to all for rainbow peace and joy during the holidays and festive season.

HRC46 SIDE EVENT: LGBTI and Disability
HRC46 SIDE EVENT: LGBTI and Disability
Intersex Awareness Campaign by ILGA World
Intersex Awareness Campaign by ILGA World

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Annual Repot Cover
Annual Repot Cover

Executive Summary of the ILGA World 2020 Annual Report

#InThisTogether

2020 has been a year like no other: the Covid-19 pandemic has affected life everywhere, and ILGA World was no exception. When the emergency clearly became global, we quickly moved to adapt our work to continue supporting our communities worldwide. 

At a time of forced distancing, “we are #InThisTogether” became more than just a public campaign: it solidified as the guiding principle to all our work. Our staff made sure to remain closely connected from their home desks, supporting each other’s wellbeing through virtual coffee breaks and periodic check-ins. Our Board continued to lead our global family, at times connecting over 20 different time zones.

We had to make difficult decisions: many of the gatherings we had planned have had to be cancelled or postponed, including our next World Conference – now scheduled for Spring 2022 in LA Long Beach, California, United States. ILGA World is a global family, and our family needed – and will continue to need - each other's support as we navigate this global struggle.

Knowing that the pandemic would have impacted the work of our members, we worked on new ways for them to come together – including a series of roundtables and advocacy webinars, and a collection of resourc­es for their remote working and well­being. We were a platform for the world to share positive messages for our communities and continued to engage with international fora and media to make sure LGBTI voices were represented amid the global crisis.

This solidarity and support strengthened the relationship within the ILGA World membership, and our membership grew to 1,676 organizations from more than 160 countries and territories worldwide. 

These members, supported by our six regions, are the founda­tion of the LGBTI movement. Through their activism, the global ILGA family advances LGBTI human rights from the grassroots level to the United Nations and back.

Throughout 2020, ILGA World offered institutional, strategic, and finan­cial support to our regions and together have ensured that regional and international levels have impact on, and are informed by, communities on the ground. Despite the challenging year, ILGA-Europe and ILGA Oceania held virtual conferences to share knowledge, strategise a way forward for the region, and elect their representatives.

At the ILGA World office, we streamlined our internal processes to liaise with our membership, and established new policies on procurement and travel, with whistleblowing and anti-corruption policies to follow. And we created a new Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics (GIESC) programme to streamline all the work that ILGA World does on these issues.

This is the last time I am will be prefacing this kind of report. After eight years in this organization, I have made the decision to move on to a new chapter in my life later in 2021. I have had the privilege to at first lead our United Nations programme, and then to serve as the Executive Director of this diverse organization: one that is truly making an impact. The people I’ve met, the triumphs we shared, the losses we mourned, and the hope that carries us all forward will be with me forever. My personal thanks to all the ILGA World family – people past and present – my fellow staff members, Board and Committee mem­bers, interns, consultants - and to each and every member organization and person who has left a mark in our collective struggle. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this organisation, our communities and the world. I know we will prevail.

André du Plessis
Executive Director, ILGA World

An Overview of 2020

JANUARY

We kick off the year with new activities to support local organizations as they follow up on LGBTI recommendations from the Treaty Bodies. Throughout 2020 ILGA World and our allies made sure to keep raising queer voices at the United Nations!

FEBRUARY

We launch an extensive global research into laws banning ‘conversion therapies’. Protection from similar ineffective and cruel treatment is as urgent as ever!

MARCH

The world comes to a grinding halt as the Covid-19 pandemic erupts. Even during these difficult days, we have continued to support our global family with our #inthistogether campaign, offering wellbeing and practical resources, stories of LGBTI organizations at the frontlines of providing support to our communities on the ground, a series of advocacy webinars, and a postcard initiative to raise the spirits of our LGBTI communities in this tough time.

APRIL

As everything turns virtual, our communities remain connected: ILGA World holds its first-ever online Board meeting, and hosts roundtables discussing the impact and response to the COVID-19 pandemic among LGBTI organizations.

MAY

We celebrate an important anniversary: 30 years ago, the World Health Organization finally decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. We bring our global family together with a campaign to break the silence on LGBTI-phobia, and say loud and clear: “We are here!”.

JUNE

We take part in Global Pride, an unprecedented event reaching more than 57 million viewers over 24 hours. To celebrate this historic happening, we launch our World Map on Sexual Orientation laws in 20 languages.

JULY

We rejoice with our global community, as Sudan abolishes the death penalty for consensual same-sex relations, and Gabon decriminalises them.

As many interactions moved into the virtual world, many LGBTI persons have experienced particular isolation and vulnerability due to the digital divide. We addressed this during RightsCon 2020, the leading conference on human rights in the digital age.

AUGUST

The world celebrates International Youth Day, we continue to remind the world that LGBTI youth voices need to be heard. During the year, we collaborated with the UN Envoy on Youth and saw LGBTI youth appointed in two key initiatives by the United Nations.

SEPTEMBER
Amidst backlash and attacks on trans communities worldwide, we release our latest Trans Legal Mapping Report, detailing the impact of laws and policies on trans persons in 143 UN member States across the globe.

OCTOBER

In a historic step forward, 36 States from all regions of the world call on the UN Human Rights Council to urgently protect intersex persons in their bodily autonomy and right to health.

Meanwhile, our communities come together for the International Intersex Virtual Forum, and for two virtual ILGA regional conferences for Oceania and Europe & Central Asia.

NOVEMBER
Time to announce the theme of our next World Conference: we’ll convene in May 2022 in LA Long Beach, United States, under the banner “LGBTI youth: future present change”!

DECEMBER

As 2020 comes to an end, our latest State-Sponsored Homophobia report paints a vivid picture of the progress and setbacks that happened across the world during the year.

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Organization Information

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)

Location: Geneva - Switzerland
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ILGAworld
Project Leader:
J. Andrew Baker
Geneva, Switzerland
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