OutRight Action International

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OutRight International
Formation1990; 34 years ago (1990)
PurposeLGBT human rights
HeadquartersNew York City[2]
Region served
Board Co-Chairs
Kathy Teo, Elliot Vaughn[3]
Executive Director
Maria Sjödin
16 – 20

OutRight International (OutRight) is an LGBTIQ human rights non-governmental organization that addresses human rights violations and abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. OutRight International documents human rights discrimination and abuses based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics in partnership with activists, advocates, media, NGOs and allies on a local, regional, national and international level. OutRight International holds consultative status with ECOSOC.[4]


The IGLHRC at the 1993 March on Washington for LGB Equal Rights and Liberation

OutRight International, formerly known as International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC),[5] was founded by Julie Dorf[6] in 1990, and incorporated as a non-profit organization on November 7, 1990. Though initially focused on LGBT human rights abuses in Russia, the organization is now active in many parts of the world, including the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. OutRight International is headquartered in New York City with satellite offices on the West Coast and in Spain, and Manila.[1] OutRight International has a digital archive of their LGBT human rights documentation and education materials for research.

On July 19, 2010, the United Nations Economic and Social Council voted to accredit IGLHRC as one of the NGOs granted consultative status with the international organization. This allows IGLHRC to attend U.N meetings, contribute statements, and collaborate with United Nations agencies.[7][8]

In 2010, IGLHRC contributed in forming "An Activist's Guide" of the Yogyakarta Principles.[9]

In 2015, on the 25th anniversary of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the organization changed its name to OutRight Action International[5] to make it more inclusive.

In 2015, OutRight's executive director Jessica Stern presented the first United Nations Security Council briefing on LGBTI human rights violations.[10][11]

In 2015, OutRight in partnership with CUNY Law School[12] started a one-day conference on Human Rights Day called OutSummit.[13]

In 2016, as a member of the United Nations LGBTI Core Group (LGBT rights at the United Nations), OutRight took part in a high level UN event that included the 8th Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 47th United States Vice President Joe Biden, President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet and Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg[14]

In 2017, OutRight challenged the inclusion of C-Fam to the US delegation at the UN CSW 2017.[15][16]

In 2018, Neish McLean, executive director of TransWave and OutRight Caribbean Program Officer, presented the intervention statement on behalf of the Major Groups and Other Stakeholders in response to Jamaica's Voluntary National Reviews at the United Nations.[17][18]

In 2019, OutRight worked with UN Women to be a part of a historic panel[19] at the United Nations on "Gender Diversity: Beyond Binaries"[20][21]

In 2022, OutRight dropped "Action" from its name, formally becoming OutRight International.[22]


OutRight's work is organized in four regional programs (Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean), and cross-regional programs focused on the United Nations, global research and safety and security for LGBTIQ activists.[23]

Work in the Asia region promotes acceptance of sexual and gender diversity at all levels of society. The 2014 Report "Violence: Through The Lens of Lesbians, Bisexual Women And Trans People in Asia"[24] collected and reviewed data from five countries in the region. Recent projects focused on domestic violence protections for LGBT in the Philippines[25] and Sri Lanka.[26]

Work in the Caribbean region supports organizations to achieve legal registration and provides support in establishing and building the capacity of newly founded organizations as well as combating gender-based violence.[27]

Research program[edit]

OutRight International's Research Program collects quantitative and qualitative data through surveys and case studies to promote global LGBTIQ advocacy and address issues on religion, culture, policy, government, and social norms of gender sexuality, gender expression, and sexual orientation. This research is analyzed for use by local, regional, international and communications fronts.

  • Outright conducted the first-ever global survey in 2019 "Harmful Treatment: The Global Reach of So-called Conversion Therapy"[28] on the causes and effects of "conversion therapy" using interviews with experts and survivors around the world. The report dives into its main justifications by perpetrators, the most common conversion therapy practices used, and includes cases studies from people who have been through such programs. The survey provides insight on the social, cultural, and religious norms which undermine the identities and sexualities of LGBTIQ people.[29]
  • A survey in 2018 "The Global State of LGBTIQ Organizing: The Right to Register"[30] in 194 countries and found that only 56%, 109 countries, permit LGBTIQ organizations to register as so. In just 28%, 55 countries, LGBTIQ organizations exist but they cannot legally register. OutRight is concerned that LGBTIQ people in these countries may be at higher risk of discrimination and violence, as well as lack resources and funding.
  • Partnered with local LGBTIQ groups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with a focus on Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, to support activists and allies. The 2018 report "Activism and Resilience: LGBTQ Progress in the Middle East and North Africa"[31] explains how activism in the region leads to progress on LGBTQ issues, and how challenges are met with the resilience by the movement.

United Nations program[edit]

OutRight is the first and only U.S.-based LGBTIQ human rights organization to obtain consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). OutRight uses its status to work as an organizer[32] convening of groups and activists coming to New York to conduct advocacy on LGBTIQ issues at the United Nations. OutRight does direct advocacy work across the United Nations with a focus on the General Assembly, Commission on the Status of Women, and High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Two OutRight events bridge UN direct advocacy work with global LGBTIQ activists and advocates: Advocacy Week[33] and the UN Religious Fellowship.[34] OutRight engages relevant national, regional and international stakeholders, including UN member State missions, UN special mechanisms, UN agencies and the UN Secretariat to support LGBTIQ rights at UN headquarters, including the United Nations LGBTI Core Group.[35]


Felipa de Souza Award[edit]

Since 1994, OutRight confers an annual award, the Felipa de Souza Award, to honour a human rights activist or organization.[36]

Year Award Location
1994 Juan Pablo Ordonez
Lepa Mladjenovic
South Africa
1995 Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Group (TGLRG)
Luiz Mott
1996 No award
1997 Demet Demir
Genc Xhelaj
Sister Namibia Collective
Wilfredo Valencia Palacios (honourable mention)
El Salvador
1998 Circulo Cultural Gay (CCG)
Dr. Tal Jarus-Hakak
Dede Oetomo
Nancy Cardenas (1934–1994, posthum)
Carlos Jáuregui (1958–1996, posthumous)
1999 Aung Myo Min
Prudence Mabele
Kiri Kiri and Chingu Sai
Simon Nkoli (1957–1998, posthumous)
South Africa
South Korea
South Africa
2000 Dejan Nebrigić (1970–1999, posthumous)
Ditshwanelo - The Botswana Center for Human Rights
Intersex Society of North America (ISNA)
William Hernandez
United States
El Salvador
2001 Companions on a Journey and Women's Support Group
Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag)
Luis Gauthier (1950–2000, posthumous)
Sri Lanka
2002 Elizabeth Calvet (posthumous)
Marta Lucia Alvarez Giraldo, Marta Lucia
Tamayo Rincon and Alba Nelly Montoya
Cui Zi En
Maher Sabry

2003 Lohana Berkins Argentina
2004 Gender/Sexuality Rights Association Taiwan (G/STRAT) Taiwan
2005 GALZ (Gays & Lesbians of Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe
2006 Rauda Morcos (ASWAT) Israeli Palestinian activist from Haifa, Israel
2007 Blue Diamond Society Nepal
2008 Iranian Queer Organization
Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte
Canada / Iranian Diaspora
2009 Helem Lebanese Protection for LGBT Lebanon
2010 Colombia Diversa Colombia
2011 LGBT Centre Mongolia Mongolia
2012 Karen Atala Chile
2013 Yasemin Öz Turkey
2014 Gay Japan News; KRYSS; O; Rainbow Rights Project (R-Rights); Women's Support Group Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka
2015 Chesterfield Samba, GALZ (Gays & Lesbians of Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe
2016 Arus Pelangi, National Federation of LGBTI Communities in Indonesia Indonesia
2017 Caleb Orozco Belize
2018 Georges Azzi
2019 Rikki Nathanson Zimbabwe/US

Outspoken Award[edit]

OutRight occasionally presents the Outspoken Award to special honorees. The Outspoken Award "recognizes the leadership of a global ally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community whose outspokenness has contributed substantially to advancing the rights and understanding of LGBTI people everywhere."[37]

Year Presented Award
2005-2011 The first Outspoken Award was presented in 2005 to the Honorable Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In 2008, IGLHRC presented its second Outspoken Award to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.[38] The 2010 Outspoken awardee was Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS. The 2011 Outspoken awardee was journalist and author Jeff Sharlet.[39]
2016 United Nations Free and Equal Campaign,[40] Randy Barry, US Special Envoy for the human rights of LGBTI people,[41] and Dan Bross, Microsoft executive, and LGBT rights advocate.[42]
2017 Logo TV was accepted by Pamela Post, Vice President of original programming and series development, and OutStanding Awardee Blanche Wiesen Cook, prize-winning biographer of Eleanor Roosevelt.[43]
2018 Lois Whitman, a children's human rights activist.[44]
2019 Cast of the TV series Transparent.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "OutRight Action International". Charity Navigator.
  2. ^ "OutRight". Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Outright International Announces New Board Co-Chairs". 16 April 2023.
  4. ^ From list of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC
  5. ^ a b Lavers, Michael K. (28 September 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: IGLHRC to change its name". Washington Blade.
  6. ^ Founder of IGLHRC
  7. ^ Lederer, Edih M. (July 19, 2010). "US gay rights group gets UN accreditation". HuffPost. Archived from the original on Feb 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "U.S. Gay Rights Group Gets U.N. Accreditation". CBS News. July 19, 2010.
  9. ^ "An Activist's Guide to The Yogyakarta Principles" (PDF). Yogyakartaprinciples.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  10. ^ Bruni, Frank (2015-08-22). "Opinion | Gay and Marked for Death". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  11. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (August 24, 2015). "Islamic State focus of U.N. Security Council's first LGBT meeting". Washington Blade.
  12. ^ First Annual OutSummit Conference
  13. ^ OutSummit One Day Conference
  14. ^ Biden made the comment during an event that the U.N. LGBT Core Group
  15. ^ Percelay, Rachel (2017-03-16). "Reuters Foundation Exposes An Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group Representing America At UN Women's Rights Event". Media Matters for America.
  16. ^ Trump Sends Anti-trans Pro-lifer Bethany Kozma to Women's Rights Conference at the U.N.
  17. ^ Jamaica presents national statement on SDGs to UN this week
  18. ^ Response to Jamaica's voluntary national review statement
  19. ^ video of "Gender Diversity: Beyond Binaries"
  20. ^ Beyond the binary. Seen. Included. Empowered.
  21. ^ Cultural Visibility vs Political Rights
  22. ^ "Outright International Unveils New Branding | Outright International". outrightinternational.org. 4 October 2022. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  23. ^ OutRight's executive director, Jessica Stern, on Radio Qtopia
  24. ^ LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence
  25. ^ Cristobal, Ging (July 10, 2019). "Philippines' role in leaving no LGBTIQ person behind". Asia Times. Archived from the original on Jun 19, 2021.
  26. ^ Enhancing Domestic Violence Protections for LGBT in Philippines and Sri Lanka
  27. ^ Neish McLean Caribbean Program Office at UN
  28. ^ "The Lies and Dangers of "Conversion Therapy"". Human Rights Campaign.
  29. ^ How to Tackle Conversion Therapy in Asia
  30. ^ "Countries use registration laws to hinder LGBTI advocacy"
  31. ^ Middle Eastern LGBTQ Activism Produces Progress, Inspiration
  32. ^ UN New Yorker 7th Edition
  33. ^ Global LGBTIQ Voices From 36 Countries Heard at the United Nations
  34. ^ "Meet OutRight's 2018 Religion Fellows". Outright International. February 1, 2018. Archived from the original on Aug 11, 2022.
  35. ^ United Nations LGBTI Core Group
  36. ^ The Felipa de Souza Award ~ OutRightInternational.org
  37. ^ OutRight Honors LGBTIQ Human Rights Defenders
  38. ^ Tutu Condemns Gay Persecution
  39. ^ International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Honors Dartmouth Professor
  40. ^ United Nations Free and Equal Campaign OHCHR Receives OutSpoken Award
  41. ^ Special Recognition Awardees Randy Barry
  42. ^ Dan Bross, Microsoft executive, and LGBT rights Advocate
  43. ^ OutRight Honors LGBTIQ Human Rights Defenders at United Nations
  44. ^ OutRight Action International Honors the Fight for LGBTQ Equality in the Middle East
  45. ^ OutRight Action Gala Highlights Trans Lives

External links[edit]