Democratic systems are the foundation of free, just and inclusive societies in which all individuals have the potential to enjoy their human rights fully. To realize this potential, democratic systems must have strong institutions derived from the rule of law, accountability mechanisms, free and fair elections and respect for pluralism. Democracy may not be perfect, but it remains the most promising system for ensuring the rights and freedoms of all citizens.
However, the weakening of liberal democracies, the rise of authoritarianism and anti-gender movements, the rejection of multilateralism and the delegitimization of existing systems of protection of human rights are contributing to shrinking civic space, democratic decline and the erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Anti-gender and anti-LGBTIQ movements push anti-LGBTIQ rhetoric and policies that serve as a warning sign of further democratic backsliding and lay the groundwork for laws that infringe on all citizens’ rights. LGBTIQ communities are a scapegoat to divert attention away from leaders’ corruption, inefficacy and failure to deliver. LGBTIQ individuals and communities are often the first casualties of eroding democracies and the first line of defense. And, in too many countries, LGBTIQ people still face significant barriers to participation.
The lack of resources and capacity of many LGBTIQ organizations undermines the movement’s ability to push back on shrinking civic space and effectively advocate for inclusive democracy. The GLIDE Initiative seeks to fill these resource and capacity gaps and disrupt democratic backsliding and attacks on human rights by putting LGBTIQ communities at the helm of these democratic initiatives.