The beauty of human kind is our diversity. Who you love, what your gender identity is, and how you express this are all essential parts of you. This should be reason for pride, and certainly not a reason to hate.
But throughout the world millions of persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) face stigma, exclusion, discrimination, or even violence. This makes it impossible for them to openly love their partners or freely express who they are. People living with HIV, sex workers, and (young) women experience similar attitudes.
Hivos believes that guaranteeing a person’s sexual rights is no different from upholding his or her human rights. And that respect for sexual rights and diversity means letting people have control over their own bodies, their sexual identity and their relationships. Exercising these rights is vital to achieving true equality.
What we are up against
Conservative groups and anti-rights movements are increasingly targeting LGBTI people simply because of who they are. These groups generally also want to limit the power of (young) women to decide over their bodies and sexual and reproductive health. Their views are often echoed by societal leaders, the media, local authorities or lawmakers, instigating further exclusion and hate, and limiting access to sexual health or support services.
Even though ever more civil society organizations are fighting this situation, they often stand alone in their struggle and face attacks by conservative forces.
What Hivos strives for
Hivos strives for a world where LGBTI people, people living with HIV, and sex workers can successfully claim their rights. A world in which societies recognize and accept all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
Watch our video, “Who owns Identity”
Our three-step approach starts with providing skills, training and support structures for innovative individuals and organizations who dare to challenge the heterosexual norm in their fight for sexual rights and diversity. We also look out for their safety and wellbeing.
Then we focus on connecting organizations, persons and groups to create strong alliances, while building movements that may include unusual allies. These can include religious groups, companies, doctors and journalists. Together they create a critical mass of allies that oppose discrimination and work for the social and economic inclusion of these vulnerable groups.
Our third step is advocacy. We lobby local and international governments and influencers to respect and defend the human rights and dignity of LGBTI people everywhere.
This thematic area contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).