LGBT activists ‘under-resourced, isolated and vulnerable’
Activists fighting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans rights are under-funded, lack support and face “routine” violence, a report has said.
The Human Rights Watch report, published last week, claims that despite progress, campaigning groups are still at risk from “brutal violence”, especially those in the global south.
It found that such groups do not receive the necessary funding and support, even from fellow human rights organisations.
Citing an incident in Jamaica, where an angry crowd beat mourners at a gay man’s funeral, the report said campaigners “routinely face extraordinary levels of violence”.
HRW also highlighted the power of religious leaders and politicians, saying that sexuality had become a “battleground” in the fight for power.
Scott Long, director of the LGBT Rights Programme at HRW and the principal author of the report, said: “”Dozens of countries have repealed sodomy laws or enshrined equality measures, and that’s the good news as activists celebrate their successes during Gay Pride month.
“But visibility breeds violence, and there is a pressing need for new support and protection.”
The research was based on surveys and interviews with more than 100 LGBT activists around the world.
It found differing issues depending on regions. In Latin America, most sodomy laws have been repealed and new anti-discrimination protections being debated. However, the region still has repressive laws and pervasive violence based on gender identity and expression.
Those in sub-Saharan Africa were faced with violence, while extremist religious groups in North America were said to be actively promoting hatred.
The report also detailed successful strategies used by activists, citing Brazilian trans groups which organise monthly excursions to public spaces such as shopping malls or beaches.
The US was highlighted as having fewer LGBT equality protections than Brazil or South Africa.
“As the United States prepares to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its own gay rights movement, this report points to lessons of struggles and successes in other countries that everyone can learn from,” said Long.