Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world face discrimination, persecution and violence simply for expressing who they are and choose to love. Consensual same-sex conduct is criminalized in more than 70 countries, with punishment including fines, flogging, and imprisonment and in seven countries, the death penalty. Laws that treat LGBTI people as criminals dehumanize them, reinforce stigma and prejudice, and provide legal cover for serious human rights violations. LGBTI people are targets for torture or ill-treatment by the government not only for their political beliefs or activism but also for their identity. For many, violence begins at home, in the classrooms and halls of schools, at the workplace, and in the streets. Lesbians, in particular, are the victims of grave human rights violations, including “corrective rape,” forced pregnancy, and “honor killing,” not only because of their sexual orientation but also because of their gender. Transgender people face alarming levels of violence at the hands of law enforcement and individuals, with little accountability placed on the perpetrators. Those defending the rights of LGBTI people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, also risk harassment, threats to their lives and the security of their families, and official persecution.
Freedom House believes that LGBTI rights are a fundamental part of human rights. Through our programs and advocacy, we work closely with regional partners to fight discrimination and advance LGBTI human rights, and include coverage of global LGBTI human rights in our reports and analyses. Freedom House’s Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program provides emergency funding, advocacy and security support for human rights defenders and civil society organizations that are under threat or attack because of their work on LGBTI human rights.