Dear friends, fellow activists and partners,
As 2018 draws to a close, we are all too aware that the struggle towards equality is far from over: authoritarian leaders know how easy it is to target our communities; advances we have witnessed are resulting in backlash everywhere.
And yet, 2018 also gave us reasons to rejoice!
India and Trinidad & Tobago both decriminalised love. The World Health Organization ruled that being trans or gender-diverse is not a mental disorder. Intersex activists are coming together to make their demands heard.
ILGA is proud to have been by your side this year, supporting our global family in advocacy and with resources.
A moment of the plenary at the Pan Africa ILGA conference, Botswana, May 2018
Our global family
In August, ILGA turned 40 and launched a campaign (have you joined it yet?) to celebrate. The celebrations kicked off in the middle of the Pacific: literally on the other side of the world from where ILGA started in 1978, showing how global is our community!
In 2018 we grew to include more than 1,500 organisations from 150 countries and territories. A list of their names is now available on our website.
ILGALAC became the latest ILGA entity to be formally registered and all our regions continued to support ILGA members.
Our three regional conferences of the year - in Botswana, Belgium and Samoa - were an occasion for hundreds of activists to connect in real life. This is such a core part of being ILGA!
We also engaged the entire ILGA membership to help build our new strategic plan that we hope to see approved at the World Conference.
Human rights defenders at the SOGIESC UPR Advocacy Week, October 2018
We continued to conduct advocacy at the United Nations.
In 2018, ILGA co-organised four Advocacy Weeks - around both the Universal Periodic Review and on trans-specific issues – and focused its UN Treaty Bodies work on raising the voices of LBQ women.
We provided key input and guidance on the work of many Special Procedures, including the Independent Expert on SOGI.
In March, we hosted a side event at the Human Rights Council to talk about the human rights of bisexual people, and a few months later the UN started a dedicated campaign on bisexual human rights!
And we made sure LGBTI issues were high on the agenda in key international spaces, always working with others: ensuring intersex, trans and gender diverse voices were present at the WPATH Symposium in Buenos Aires; at the Human Rights Defenders World Summit in Paris; and at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
ILGA continued to bring visibility to groups often seen as at the margins, such as sex workers and indigenous persons, and we’re finding creative ways and places to talk about equality, such as in the area of Sports.
We continue to support and work with LGBTI human rights defenders worldwide!
Our resources for activism
Our staff are continuing to directly connect to communities around the world in exciting ways – be it a training in Mexico on digital security, a consultation in Jamaica on following-up UN recommendations, or a human rights advocacy training in South Korea.
We also provided technical advocacy resources to members: such as factsheets on Special Procedures, and reports on UN Treaty Body sessions.
And we provided input to media and numerous publications, including an upcoming one on criminalisation of trans persons.
As we rethink the scope of our global research, we are preparing new editions of the State-Sponsored Homophobia report and the Trans Legal Mapping Report, as well as a ground-breaking guide to analyse LGBTI cases before the UN Treaty Bodies.
ILGA World Board and staff during the July 2018 Board meeting
As we welcomed new board members, the ILGA World team grew to 11 staff!
In March, André du Plessis was appointed our new Executive Director. In September, Julia Ehrt joined us as Director of Programmes, and Lucas Ramón Mendos and Paula Klik took up the roles of Senior Research Officer and Administrative Support Officer respectively. We also said goodbye to Aengus Carroll who consulted with us for several years, heading-up and building our research work to new levels. Thank you Aengus!
A special thanks goes to the 8 interns that have worked with ILGA during the year: Bernardo (Brazil), Callum (UK), Daryl (Singapore), Gabriel (Brazil), Hua (Thailand), Lara (UK), Maria (Norway) and Zineb (Morocco).
Never has our team seen such an increase in capacity to assist our global family!
Wellington is getting ready for the 2019 ILGA World Conference!
(photos: ILGA archive; wellington2019.nz; Instagram/@justinlesternz)
An exciting 2019 awaits us all: we will meet soon at the ILGA World Conference in Aotearoa New Zealand (have you registered yet?), and we are looking forward to receiving nominations for board positions by 24 December!
In Wellington, our family will vote on our new strategic plan, elect the new ILGA World board, celebrate our first 40 years and discuss strategies for change!
With the renewal of the SOGI Independent Expert mandate, ILGA will also be working with partners to ensure that the rights of LGBT persons are protected at the highest levels.
With ILGA regional conferences also taking place in South Korea, Colombia and the Czech Republic, 2019 will be a busy year and will bring new challenges forward. But we are ready to face them. Together, as one family: one beautiful, diverse global movement.
How you can help
Contributing to shape our future direction is one way to help us grow. Another is to donate now to help us empower hundreds of LGBTI human rights organisations worldwide. In celebration of our 40th anniversary, you can also commit to donate €40EUR or more per month for a period of 1 year!
Where will your money go, you ask?
With a donation, you will help ILGA to support activists as they raise awareness of LGBTI human rights violations at the UN.
You will help us research laws impacting our communities and investigate attitudes towards them.
You will back us as we organise trainings and conferences, where activists can feel they are not alone in their fight.
Only together, we can bring about change. We are here to do our part: will you chip in?
Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, co-Secretaries General
on behalf of the Board and Staff of ILGA