International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
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|Legal status||UN Ecosoc Consultative Status|
|Purpose||LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) rights|
|155 countries and territories|
|1,593 organisations in 155 countries|
|English and Spanish|
|Luz Elena Aranda and Tuisina Ymania Brown|
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGBTIA, and in Europe ILGA) is an international organization bringing together more than 1,300 LGBTI groups from around the world. It continues to be active in campaigning for LGBTI human rights on the international human rights and civil rights scene, and regularly petitions the United Nations and governments. They are represented in 140+ countries, and are accredited by the United Nations for NGO Ecosoc consultative status.
ILGA was founded as the International Gay Association (IGA) in August 1978, at a fringe meeting of a conference of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality held in Coventry, England, at a meeting with representatives of 10 organisations from Australia, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands and the United States. It changed its name to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) in 1986.
The Coventry conference also called upon Amnesty International (AI) to take up the issue of persecution of lesbians and gays. After a 13-year campaign AI made the human rights of lesbians and gays part of its mandate in 1991 and now advocates for LGBT rights on the international level.
ILGA was the first lesbian and gay rights organisation to gain "consultative status" as a non-governmental organisation at the United Nations. Statements were made in the name of ILGA in the 1993 and 1994 sessions of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and in the 1994 session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. ILGA's NGO status was suspended in September 1994. However, in July 2011 ILGA regained its ECOSOC consultative status with the United Nations allowing ILGA to attend UN conferences and events, submit written statements, make oral interventions, and host panels in UN buildings.
According to its constitution, ILGA has a world conference in which all of its member organisations can attend. The world conference normally sets the time and place for the next conference. However, the Executive Board has used its power under the constitution to set an alternative venue, in the event the venue originally set becomes unviable, as was the case in 2008, when the originally chosen venue of Quebec had to be abandoned due to difficulties encountered by the local organizing committee in raising the necessary funds and the conference had to be held in Vienna instead. The 2010 ILGA world conference took place in São Paulo, Brazil, the 2012 Conference took place in Stockholm, and the 2014 Conference took place in Mexico City.
Protests often made the conferences that the organization held more dramatic and having more negative attention then would've been wanted. A problem encountered was financial in nature which recently came to a head when an ILGA conference actually had to be postponed because of lack of funding.
ILGA State-Sponsored Homophobia Reports
In 2011, ILGA released its State-Sponsored Homophobia Report and map that brings to light 75 countries that still criminalize same-sex relationships between two consenting adults. These countries are mainly in Africa and in Asia.
In 2016, ILGA released an updated version of the State-Sponsored Homophobia Report. The Report found that "Same-sex sexual acts" are illegal in 72 countries. These countries are 37% of the States in the United Nations. Of these 72 countries, thirty-three are in Africa, twenty-three are in Asia, eleven are in the Americas, and six in Oceania. The full report can be read at State-Sponsored Homophobia 2016 (ILGA, May 2016).
ILGA 2016 Global Attitudes Survey regarding LGBTI People
In 2016, ILGA published its 2016 Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People. The principal subject surveyed was attitudes about "sexual orientation." The document can be read at 2016 Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI.
International Intersex Forum
With a move to include intersex people in its remit, ILGA and ILGA-Europe have sponsored the only international gathering of intersex activists and organisations. The International Intersex Forum has taken place annually since 2011.
The third forum was held in Malta with 34 people representing 30 organisations "from all continents". The closing statement affirmed the existence of intersex people, reaffirmed "the principles of the First and Second International Intersex Fora and extend the demands aiming to end discrimination against intersex people and to ensure the right of bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination". For the first time, participants made a statement on birth registrations, in addition to other human rights issues.
The Executive Director since 2018 is André du Plessis.
ILGA is managed by an executive board composed of:
- Co Secretaries General: Ruth Baldacchino (Malta) and Helen Kennedy (Canada). Their alternates are Ymania Brown (Samoa) and Yahia Zaidi (Algeria/Belgium).
- Intersex Secretariat: NNID (The Netherlands), represented by Miriam van der Have. Organisation Intersex International Australia, represented by Morgan Carpenter and Tony Briffa, is its alternate.
- Trans Secretariat: STRAP – Society of Transsexual Women Philippines, represented by Brenda Rodriguez Alegre. Fem Alliance Uganda, represented by Jay Moulucha, is its alternate.
- Women's Secretariat: United and Strong (Saint Lucia), represented by Jessica St Rose. Teatro Cabaret Reinas Chulas (Mexico), represented by Ana Francis Mor, is its alternate.
- Bisexual Secretariat: Manodiversa (Bolivia), represented by Frank Evelio Arteaga. LNBi (The Netherlands), represented by Hilde Vossen, is its alternate.
All were elected in Thailand in December 2016. In addition, each region has two representatives on the executive board:
- ILGA-Asia: representatives Hiker Chiu (Taiwan) and Manisha Dhakal (Nepal) elected in at the ILGA Asia conference in October 2015.
- ILGA-Europe representatives Anastasia Danilova (Moldova) and Martin K.I. Christensen (Denmark) elected at the ILGA-Europe conference in October 2016.
- ILGA Latin America and the Caribbean representatives Josefina Valencia Toledano (Mexico) and Beto de Jesus (Brasil) elected at the ILGA LAC conference in May 2014.
- ILGA-North America representatives Dominique Dubuc (Canada) and Yazmeen Nunez (US) elected at the ILGA World conference in December 2016.
- ILGA-Oceania representatives Tuisina Ymania Brown (Samoa) and Rawa Karetai (New Zealand) elected at the ILGA Oceania conference in March 2016.
- Pan Africa ILGA representatives Naoufal Bouzid (Morocco) and Nnedinma J. Ulanmo (Nigeria) elected at the Pan Africa ILGA Conference in June 2018.
Controversy and loss of UN consultative status
In the summer of 1993 the ILGA gained consultative status on the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as a Non-Governmental-Organization, joining 3,000 organisations throughout the world. However, that status was suspended in 1994 after a campaign led by Jesse Helms focussing on NAMBLA's membership of ILGA.
Following this, by a vote of 214–30, ILGA expelled North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), Vereniging MARTIJN and Project Truth in early 1994 because they were judged to be "groups whose predominant aim is to support or promote pedophilia." In October 1994, the executive committee of ILGA suspended the membership of VSG (Association for Sexual Equality), a gay group in Munich, Germany, due to its vocal solidarity with NAMBLA and its refusal to purge pedophile members. Its membership was suspended until the next Annual Conference of ILGA in June 1995 when the matter could be dealt with in accordance to ILGA's constitution, namely, expulsion. VSG left ILGA in April 1995 and in 1998 dissolved itself.
ILGA applied to have its consultative status reinstated in 2000, but on 30 April 2002 the United Nations' Economic & Social Council voted 29–17 not to grant this application, "based on concerns raised about its member organizations or subsidiaries that promoted or condoned paedophilia".
One of the issues of concern was whether it was possible to verify that links with NAMBLA had effectively been severed due to ILGA not publishing its organisation membership list given fears for the safety of members living in countries where homosexuality is still criminalised.
On 3 May 2003, ECOSOC voted to again decline consultative status to ILGA. ILGA submitted another application, along with another LGBT rights organisation but it was rejected on 23 January 2006 at the Committee of NGOs. ILGA keeps the view that the summary dismissal of LGBT rights organisations' applications was influenced by Egypt and OIC.
- Ten countries voting against ILGA's application for ECOSOC included those that have the most negative evaluation by ILGA in its yearly report against discriminations of people living with HIV/AIDS: Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, United States of America, Zimbabwe;
- Supportive states included: Chile, France, Germany, Peru, Romania;
- Colombia, India, Turkey abstained;
- Ivory Coast representative was not present.
- 9 countries opposing ECOSOC consultative status (Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Zimbabwe) and
- 7 in support (Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, Romania, United States);
- 2 abstentions (India, Turkey).
ILGA continued to state its opposition to pedophilia and continued to seek ECOSOC Consultative status with the UN, applying once more in May 2009. The UN NGO Committee discussed ILGA's most recent application during its sessions in May 2010 and February 2011. During this session, the Belgian Mission at the UN asked for a vote on ILGA's application, because "The organization had applied for over ten years and met all prerequisites under the resolution. While aware of the divergent views on the organization, he asked that, given the NGO's lengthy history, the Committee make a decision during the current session." A "no-action" motion, presented by the Sudanese Representative to counter Belgium's request for a vote, passed with nine Committee members voting in favour (Burundi, China, Morocco, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan and Venezuela), seven voting against (Belgium, Bulgaria, India, Israel, Turkey, Peru and United States), with Kyrgyzstan abstaining and Mozambique and Cuba not present. 
On 25 July 2011, ILGA as a whole were successful in being granted ECOSOC consultative status, with a vote of 30 in favour, 13 against, and five abstentions.
- European Lesbian*Conference
- International Lesbian Information Service (ILIS)
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex Law Association
- Intersex human rights
- LGBT social movements
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