New database tracks global progress and decline on LGBTI+ rights

OUTinPerth – Over the past thirty years, 49 UN member States have decriminalised consensual homosexual acts, but criminalisation remain a reality for one-third of countries worldwide.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association has released a database examining the state of LGBTI+ criminalisation around the world, and track the progress or erosion of rights.

ILGA World is a worldwide federation of more than 1,800 organisations from over 160 countries and territories campaigning for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.

The ILGA World Database, a platform launched by ILGA World compiling laws, news, and references to human rights bodies and advocacy opportunities with the United Nations related to LGBTI+ people worldwide.

The free, interactive, and collaborative platform gives details insights on the state of laws and proposed legislation concerning sexuality, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics issues in 193 UN member States and 47 non-independent territories.

Hard-won advances are currently taking place in many UN member States: seven have introduced nationwide restrictions to unnecessary interventions on intersex minors; 20 allow for legal gender recognition based on self-determination; 11 of them ban so-called ‘conversion therapies’ at the national level.

Marriage equality is now a reality in 33 UN member States. Laws that protect people from hate crimes on the grounds of their sexual orientation exist in 58 UN member States, but only 37 do so based on gender identity, nine on gender expression, and five on sex characteristics.

“Accessing data about LGBTI populations – historically left out, uncounted, and unrepresented – has always been difficult,” said ILGA World research coordinator Lucas Ramón Mendos.

“Building upon four decades of experience that our organisation has in compiling this kind of information, ILGA World is now sharing it with everyone, giving free access to a platform that is grounded in data and research, and that systematises 4,300 legal sources and more than 7,000 references from United Nations mechanisms.”

The ILGA World Database features updated information about laws (including judicial decisions, executive orders and bills in the making) that affect LGBTI people worldwide – divided into 18 legal categories and more than 100 topics, and visualised in interactive global and regional maps.

Every State and jurisdiction worldwide has its own profile with laws, upcoming advocacy opportunities for human rights defenders, and a selection of the latest LGBTI+ news. Activists can track developments in every human rights body within the United Nations, monitor deadlines to engage with them, and integrate any entry into their research or policy work.

“Grassroots organisations often can only count on little resources to remain updated with global developments, or to find information that they can use in their advocacy or campaigning work”, commented Julia Ehrt, Executive Director at ILGA World.

“The ILGA World Database is a game-changing, powerful source of information in their hands.”

A simple look at data is all it takes to see how disparate LGBTI+ rights are globally: six UN member States legally impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts, and there is no legal certainty of its application in five more States. At least 51 countries have restrictions on freedom of expression related to sexual and gender diversity issues, including in educational settings.

“Simply put, this data speaks, and provides everyone accessing it with the missing pieces of evidence of how lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex persons are still left behind in many areas of life,” commented Luz Elena Aranda and Tuisina Ymania Brown, co-Secretaries General at ILGA World.

“With the ILGA World Database, our lived realities can be documented, programmes and services can be advocated for. The Database brings to light valuable data that is missing in current LGBTI advocacy.  Combining it with our stories and our activism is how we will make the world a better and more equal place for our LGBTI communities globally”.

The ILGA World Database is available here.