Advancing Equality - October 2018 newsletter


Dear friends, fellow activists and partners,

Shameful parts of an enduring colonial legacy are finally becoming history: courts ruled that consensual same-sex relations are no longer a crime in India and in Trinidad and Tobago.

All states and territories in Australia have now passed expungement bills for historical same-sex activity convictions, and voters in Romania boycotted a referendum to restrict the constitutional definition of family.

Chile and Luxembourg have implemented new laws regarding legal gender recognition, and a judge in Tunisia has allowed the change of gender markers in a claimant’s birth certificate. California has become the first US state to pass a resolution on intersex persons’ human rights, and the United Nations joined forces with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in calling for an end to human rights violations against bisexual persons.

We know all too well that our communities’ struggle to be recognised and accepted has never come without challenges. But when the path seems too bleak to thread, just remember: there are reasons for hope, and there is a whole global family standing with you!


Our first 40 years, and updates about the ILGA World Conference


In August, we reached an important milestone: ILGA turned 40 years old!

Many of the social, legal and political advances that have happened since it all started seemed unthinkable back then. ILGA has been there through all this, and nothing would have been possible without the work of our member organisations and our wider global communities.

It is now time to celebrate, and we launched a campaign to do just that!
How can you participate, you ask? There are three things that you can do.

Conferencia Mundial de ILGA en Nueva Zelanda inscripción abierta





Celebrations will culminate in March 2019 at the ILGA World Conference in Aotearoa/New Zealand: registration is now open, and we can’t wait to meet you all again!



Throughout these past months, ILGA continued to work at the United Nations, mobilising support for SOGIESC issues globally.

In July, we welcomed LBTI women’s rights defenders from Mexico, Cyprus and Australia to Geneva as they engaged with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

A few weeks later, we were present in full force at the 39th Human Rights Council, where we delivered statements, joined panel discussions, and assisted human rights defenders as they made their remarks during the adoption of their countries’ UPR outcomes.

We also organised a side event to look at the state of the global research on trans rights. In case you missed it, you can watch a recording here. 


As rainbow communities raise awareness of their human rights situations, countries continue receiving recommendations on SOGIESC issues at the United Nations. You can read more of the latest developments in our reports on the 30th session of the UPR and on the Treaty Bodies sessions and pre-sessional working groups that we engaged in.

Meanwhile, in New York, the General Assembly was presented with a new report by the UN Independent Expert on SOGI, focussing particularly on depathologisation and legal gender recognition. ILGA joined other organisations worldwide to congratulate Victor Madrigal-Borloz for “giving trans and gender diverse people’s human rights the careful attention they deserve.”

Promising times await for these final months of 2018, as we are gearing up for the 31st  session of the UPR Working Group, and for the upcoming 71st session of CEDAW. Stay tuned!


Human rights defenders by the Alley of Flags at the Palais des Nations in GenevaHuman rights defenders by the Alley of Flags at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

Are you planning to engage with a United Nations body?

Here are the dates and deadlines you need to consider for the Universal Periodic ReviewTreaty Bodies or Special Procedures (the full list of country visits is here). We are ready to assist you!



As we celebrate our past, we are also shaping our future together.

Led by our board, ILGA is drafting a strategic plan for 2019-2022, and member organisations were invited to input. The plan will be adopted at the next World Conference.

Meanwhile, the ILGA World team has definitely grown in the past few weeks!
We have been delighted to welcome three new persons in our Geneva office: our new incoming Director of Programmes Julia Ehrt, our Senior Research Officer Lucas Ramón Mendos and our Administrative Support Officer Paula Klik.

the ILGA World team during the staff retreat in September 2018the ILGA World team during the staff retreat, September 2018

Moreover, both Gabriel Galil and Zineb Oulmakki have joined the team as interns, supporting our work on UN advocacy and communications respectively. We also want to take a moment to thank both Callum Birch and Bernardo Fico for the great work that they have done in the past few months to support our UN Programme: we wish them all the best for their careers!

With such a reinforced team, we can now raise our members’ voices in international fora even louder, and empower our global LGBTI communities even better. This is an ongoing commitment for us.
During the past few months only, we have been in Vancouver, Canada as the Equal Rights Coalition meeting took place, ready to develop recommendations on how to advance human rights and inclusive development. We also welcomed to Mexico 19 LGBTI human rights defenders from 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean for a training on digital security, conducted with the support of

A group  picture at the ILGA Oceania regional conference in Samoa, August 2018

What about our regions? For the first time in the history of ILGA, one of our events was hosted in a Pacific country, as more than 100 human rights defenders gathered together in Samoa for the third ILGA Oceania regional conference.

ILGA-Europe is getting ready for its own imminent annual conference, and ILGA Asia has created a virtual space for the trans community in the region.

Pan Africa ILGA has started its own journey towards the adoption of a strategic plan, and the board of ILGALAC has met to discuss the human rights situation in the region and strategise about future advocacy work.

In North America,  we were able to witness both Secretary-General António Guterres and the newly-appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet unequivocally reiterating their support for LGBTI human rights during an event hosted by the LGBTI Core Group at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Indeed, these are exciting times ahead for our global family!



Meanwhile, the ILGA family has further grown in numbers and representation: more than 1,300 organisations from 141 countries across the globe now form this organisation committed to advancing LGBTI rights worldwide.

You can join us, too! Become a member

Help us support LGBTI communities and organizations around the world through advocacy, education and research.

Your donation helps grassroots movements build capacity and have a voice in global fora.


(newsletter prepared by Daniele Paletta,
edited by Zineb Oulmakki)

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