International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
FormationAugust 1978; 45 years ago (1978-08)
Legal statusUN Ecosoc Consultative Status
PurposeLGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) rights
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland[1]
Region served
155 countries and territories
1,593 organisations in 155 countries
Official language
English and Spanish
Co-Secretaries General
Luz Elena Aranda and Tuisina Ymania Brown

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA[2]) is an organization which is committed to advancing human rights to all people, disregarding gender identity, sex characteristics and expression. ILGA participates in a multitude of agendas within the United Nations, such as creating visibility for LGBTI issues by conducting advocacy and outreach at the Human Rights Council, working with members to help their government improve LGBTI rights, ensuring LGBTI members are not forgotten in international law, and advocating for LBTI women's issues at the Commission on the Status of Women.


The International Lesbian and Gay Association was founded in 1978 by activists from United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere. Finding it difficult to repeal the criminalization of homosexuality based on the common law tradition, the activists adopted a human rights based framing and focused on international courts, especially the European Court of Human Rights as it was easier to access. ILGA was involved in the Dudgeon v. United Kingdom (1981) and Norris v. Ireland (1988) cases that led to the repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. At the same time, it worked on cases related to unequal ages of consent, military service, transgender rights, asylum and housing rights, but these did not lead to a successful outcome.[3]

ILGA was formerly known as International Lesbian and Gay Association, it adopted its current title in 2008. ILGA has grown to include 1,600 organizations from over 150 countries to fight for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.

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, following the Brazilian Resolution,[4][5] now advocates for LGBT rights on the international level.[6]

ILGA obtained consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in mid-1993. 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 due to the group's perceived ties with pro-pedophilia organizations such as the North American Man/Boy Love Association.[7] In 1994, these groups were expelled from the organization,[8] and in June 2011, the ECOSOC granted consultative status to ILGA after a 29 to 14 vote, despite the strong opposition from African and Islamic countries.[9] Consultative status gives the ILGA the ability to attend and speak at UN meetings and participate in Human Rights Council proceedings.[citation needed]

ILGA was involved in getting the World Health Organization to drop homosexuality from its list of illnesses.[10][non-primary source needed]


According to its constitution,[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14] In 2022, ILGA held its first world conference since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Long Beach, California.[15]

International Intersex Forum[edit]

Third International Intersex Forum, Malta, December 2013

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.[16][17][18][19]

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.[19][20][21]


ILGA's main source of income are donations from governments, organizations, private foundations, amongst the contribution of individuals. In 2020, the total income of ILGA amounted to 2,213,268 CHF.[citation needed]


State-Sponsored Homophobia[edit]

In 2011, ILGA released its State-Sponsored Homophobia Report[22] 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, 33 are in Africa, 23 are in Asia, 11 are in the Americas, and six are in Oceania.[23][24]

Historian Samuel Huneke criticized ILGA maps for showing most Western and non-Western countries in different colors, stating that while "This division probably make sense to the casual observer... queer scholars and activists have noted that it also has colonial overtones".[25]

Curbing Deception[edit]

In February 2020, ILGA launched Curbing Deception - A Comprehensive Global Survey on Legal Restrictions of 'Conversion Therapies'.[26] This research report examines laws at both national and subnational levels that prohibit efforts to change sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Additionally, the report delves into a wide range of techniques historically and currently employed in an attempt to modify the sexual orientation of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, impede transgender youth from transitioning, induce detransitioning in transgender individuals, or enforce adherence to societal stereotypes of masculinity and femininity regarding gender expression and roles.[27]

Our Identities under Arrest[edit]

Our Identities under Arrest is the first publication specifically focusing on the enforcement of laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual acts and diverse gender expressions at a global level. It goes beyond the black letter law to track how these provisions are effectively enforced. The first edition was published in December 2021 and it reviewed over 900 instances in which law enforcement authorities have subjected LGBTQ+ and gender-diverse individuals to fines, arbitrary arrests, prosecutions, corporal punishments, imprisonments, and potentially even the death penalty.[28][29]

The report provides evidence revealing the significant underreporting of arrests and prosecutions across different countries. It highlights the notable gap between official records on enforcement published by certain governments (such as Morocco, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, and Sri Lanka) and the number of instances documented through alternative sources collected by ILGA World for this report.[30] The report also found that judicial prosecution is a poor indicator to assess levels of enforcement, as arrests and detentions without formal judicial proceedings are the predominant methods of enforcing criminalizing provisions. In many countries, individuals can be detained for extended periods, ranging from several days to weeks or even months, without any form of judicial or administrative review.[30]

The report also highlights the fluctuating nature of the enforcement of criminalizing provisions, which can vary in frequency and intensity over time, with periods characterized by a significant increase in documented instances, followed by periods with no recorded or documented cases of enforcement. The report found that in many criminalizing countries, authorities and law enforcement officials sporadically enforce these provisions in ways that are often unpredictable. Even countries that are considered "safe" or where little information on enforcement is available can experience sudden and unexpected shifts in their approach to these provisions.[30]

Global Attitudes Survey[edit]

In 2016, ILGA published its 2016 Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People. The principal subject surveyed was attitudes about "sexual orientation."[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About ILGA – The only worldwide federation campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights. Since 1978". ILGA. Archived from the original on 2014-01-17. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
  2. ^ "The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)". ILGA. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  3. ^ Davidson-Schmich, Louise K. (2017). "LGBT Politics in Germany: Unification as a Catalyst for Change". German Politics. 26 (4): 534–555. doi:10.1080/09644008.2017.1370705. S2CID 158602084.
  4. ^ "UN language versions Brazilian resolution". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2023-02-06.
  5. ^ "UN Brazilian resolution". ILGA. Archived from the original on 2009-10-30.
  6. ^ Archived February 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "U.N. Suspends Group in Dispute Over Pedophilia". New York Times. 18 September 1994.
  8. ^ "U.N. Suspends Group in Dispute Over Pedophilia". The New York Times. 1994-09-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-02-27.
  9. ^ "ILGA Granted UN Consultative Status". Freedom House. Archived from the original on 2014-05-03.
  10. ^ "Sexual Orientation in International Law". Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  11. ^ ILGA World Constitution, clause 7
  12. ^ ILGA World Constitution, clause 7.2
  13. ^ "ILGA World Conference 2014 "Decolonizing our bodies" Mexico City: Results and Acknowledgments – ILGA". 24 November 2014.
  14. ^ "ILGA decided to postpone the Conference". 2008-03-07. Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  15. ^ "LGBTQ leaders warn of renewed wave of hostility - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East". Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  16. ^ "First ever international intersex forum | ILGA-Europe". Retrieved 2019-12-25.
  17. ^ First ever international intersex forum Archived 2014-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, ILGA, 7 September 2011
  18. ^ Public statement by the third international intersex forum, Organisation Intersex International Australia, 2 December 2013
  19. ^ a b Global intersex community affirms shared goals, Star Observer, December 4, 2013
  20. ^ "3rd International Intersex Forum concluded | ILGA-Europe". Retrieved 2019-12-25.
  21. ^ (Chinese) 2013第三屆世界陰陽人論壇宣言, Oii-Chinese, (tr. "Declaration of the 3rd World Intersex Forum 2013") December 2013
  22. ^ "State-Sponsored Homophobia report | ILGA". 14 September 2017. Retrieved 2019-12-25.
  23. ^ State-Sponsored Homophobia 2016 (ILGA, May 2016), 36–37.
  24. ^ "Anti-LGBT views still prevail, global survey finds". The Guardian. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  25. ^ Huneke, Samuel (23 March 2021). "Beyond Gay Imperialism". The Baffler. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  26. ^ "'Conversion therapy': ILGA World releases extensive global research into laws banning the discredited practice". ILGA World. 2020-02-26. Retrieved 2023-05-30.
  27. ^ Mendos, Lucas Ramón (February 2020). Curbing Deception: A world survey on legal regulation of so-called "conversion therapies" (1st ed.). Geneva: ILGA World.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  28. ^ "Arrests and prosecutions of LGBT and gender-diverse persons continue worldwide, new report shows". ILGA World. 2021-12-15. Retrieved 2023-05-31.
  29. ^ "LGBT people still arrested and prosecuted worldwide". Mamba Online. 18 December 2021.
  30. ^ a b c Botha, Kellyn (2021). Our identities under arrest: A global overview on the enforcement of laws criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults and diverse gender expressions. Geneva: ILGA World. pp. 18–28.
  31. ^ "The ILGA-RIWI 2016 Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI (2016). Retrieved October 9, 2016" (PDF).

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]