Dear friends, fellow activists and partners,

A shameful history of pathologization, institutionalization, ‘conversion’ and sterilization has begun to come to a close: the World Health Organization has finally ruled that being a trans or gender diverse person does not mean to suffer a mental disorder.

This ground-breaking moment is only one among many reasons for hope that our communities have witnessed in the past two months, despite the setbacks and alarming news that continue reaching us from all over the globe.

The Kingdom of eSwatini recently held its very first Pride parade. Judges recognised gender identity for the first time as a ground in the murder of a travesti person, in the case of human rights defender Diana Sacayán: it had never happened before in Argentina. A resolution urging a delay of medically unnecessary intersex surgeries is advancing in California, and more states in Australia are scrapping the abusive ‘forced divorce’ precondition for a person to see their gender legally recognised. Europe indicated that the term ‘spouse’ includes same-sex couples for the purposes of freedom of movement across the continent, and trans people in Pakistan gained the right to self-declare their gender, as well as the right to vote and run for office.

We rejoice with you, and we stand by your side as we all keep pushing to bring about change. Here’s to more of these ground-breaking advances!



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

We have been present in full force at the 38th Human Rights Council: the Independent Expert on SOGI Victor Madrigal-Borloz presented his first report during the session (click here to consult our notes on the Interactive Dialogue at the Council), and the High Commissioner for Human Rights deplored “the openly voiced refusal of a number of States” to cooperate with the mandate.

Two among the many statements that we delivered during the session specifically addressed LBQ women’s rights, and had been prepared and delivered in cooperation with COC, ILGA-Europe and the European Lesbian* Network.

Trans activism and issues were also under the spotlight, as 23 trans and gender diverse human rights defenders from 19 countries gathered together in Geneva for the historic UN Trans Advocacy Week – a joint initiative co-organised by ILGA together with APTN, GATE, RFSL and TGEU.

Human rights defenders taking part in the UN Trans Advocacy Week,
together with the UN Independent Expert on SOGI Victor Madrigal-Borloz


14 countries also saw their human rights record reviewed during the 30th UPR Working Session. In the run-up to this session, ILGA and COC Nederland welcomed six human rights defenders to the United Nations in Geneva for a week of advocacy, where they raised awareness of SOGIESC issues in their countries and regions.


Human rights defenders debriefing after a day of advocacy at the United Nations

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!

Share your knowledge with us!
ILGA is collecting good practices of implementation/follow-up activities from organisations on the ground, after obtaining SOGIESC recommendations from:


Before diving into exciting months ahead, we wanted to have a look back at our 2017: the latest ILGA Annual Report wrapped up one year in our work to advance equality worldwide, offering a glimpse into our present impact and our future direction. Have you downloaded it yet?

On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we launched a new campaign raising the voices of LGBTI persons and human rights defenders who cast a light on how lesbophobia, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and interphobia have an impact on their lives and intersect with their identities. We speak up to silence the noise.

As rainbow communities raise awareness of their human rights situation, countries continue receiving recommendations on SOGIESC issues at the United Nations.
This is why we further expanded our reports on Treaty Bodies: here you can find highlights from the latest six sessions and pre-sessional working groups that we engaged in.

In more rainbow reading, many voices from the ILGA family were included in the special features that both the New York Times and El País published on the occasion of Pride month.


Our African region made history in the early days of June, as it organised one of the largest LGBTIQ events to ever take place in the continent: the Pan Africa ILGA regional conference, co-hosted in Botswana by member organisation LeGaBiBo, was attended by over 300 delegates from 33 African countries. We were there, too, providing trainings on intersectionality and advocacy at the United Nations.

The opening plenary at the Pan Africa ILGA 4th Regional Conference (ph. PAI media team)

LGBTI human rights defenders taking part in the human rights and advocacy training in South Korea


A few days earlier, we had reached Seoul, where we shared practical tools with defenders from Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong on how to engage with Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review. We also shared information about the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and follow-up strategies.
During this training, organised together with ILGA Asia and Rainbow Action of Korea, participants also had a chance to engage with the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing.

It has definitely been an exciting time for our regions: ILGA-Europe have released both their Rainbow Europe report and maps and a new position paper on the rights of LGBTI sex workers, while ILGA Oceania is gearing up for its regional conference – set to take place in Samoa at the end of August – and ILGALAC is partnering with SAGE on a landmark survey on LGBTI elders in Latin America and the Caribbean.

All of this is happening while we are moving towards drafting our new strategic plan: this week, we plastered walls and windows with dozens of post-its during our latest Board meeting, as we were working to outline the organisation’s priorities for the years ahead.

Board and staff members gathering together at the recent Board meeting in Geneva


And that’s not all. ILGA is just about to reach an important milestone: its first 40 years! Celebrations will kick off in August, and won’t end until we reach New Zealand for our first World Conference to ever take place in Oceania. Stay tuned: many more updates are coming up soon!


Would you like to join the ILGA World team? There are two exciting opportunities for you! We are looking for an Administrative Support Officer to assist the team with the organisations of events and with the smooth running of operations in Geneva, and for a Director of Programmes to head-up our programmatic work. Apply now: deadlines are fast approaching!

The ILGA family is always growing: in numbers, in capacity and strength.
1,322 organisations from 141 countries across the globe now form this organisation committed to advance LGBTI rights worldwide.

You can join us, too! Become a member

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