Pride 2021 and the Global State of LGBTIQ Equality

31 May 2021

Pride 2021 and the Global State of LGBTIQ Equality

Pride marches are a central element of the global LGBTIQ movement, loudly and visibly affirming the existence of LGBTIQ people, and demanding recognition of our human rights. June 1 marks the start of Pride month, which, although Pride events happen year-round across the world, is symbolically marked to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots. 

Usually the month is filled with marches and events, in many places celebrating diversity and progress, in many more protesting violence, harassment and discrimination of LGBTIQ people. In numerous places Prides face backlash, restrictions and even bans. 

This year the majority of Pride events will be held virtually due to the continuing pandemic, reflecting the key challenge facing LGBTIQ communities worldwide. COVID-19 has amplified the marginalization and exclusion experienced by LGBTIQ people on a day-to-day basis, leading to a devastation of livelihoods, higher rates of domestic violence, heightened challenges accessing healthcare, and increasing mental health issues. LGBTIQ people have also been blamed and scapegoated for COVID-19, further increasing already prevalent levels of LGBTIQ-phobia around the world, and excluded from humanitarian interventions which often use narrow definitions of family, binary definitions of gender, unsafe locations, or biased staff.


  • 67 countries around the world continue to criminalize same-sex relations;
  • 13 countries (Brunei, the Gambia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, South Sudan, Tonga, and the United Arab Emirates) have laws explicitly criminalizing trans people, a further 37 criminalize trans people through vagrancy, prostitution, morality, public nuisance or other laws
  • Only five countries (Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Taiwan and Germany) explicitly ban sexual orientation and gender identity change practices, or so-called “conversion therapy”;
  • Over the last year the Parliament of Uganda passed the Sexual Offences Bill enhancing criminalization of same-sex relations, so-called “LGBT-Free Zones” expanded across Poland, activists were arbitrarily arrested in Ghana for holding a meeting on protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people, trans women were jailed in Cameroon for “attempted homosexuality”, and many other attacks on LGBTIQ equality took place. 

Executive Director of OutRight Action International, Jessica Stern, comments:

“Pride is the most visible symbol of the global movement for LGBTIQ equality, affirming our existence, demanding recognition of our rights, and celebrating progress. Over the last year, among other wins, Gabon and Bhutan decriminalized same-sex relations, and the new administration in the US re-committed to LGBTIQ equality. However, LGBTIQ people continue to face amplified effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are too often excluded from recovery efforts. This is a sobering reminder of how marginalized our communities around the world continue to be. As such, we must continue to fight for our rights to be recognized and protected.”

Throughout June OutRight is marking our second Pride With A Purpose™ campaign to commemorate the history of Pride, to celebrate progress in recognition of the rights of LGBTIQ people to be who we are, and to draw attention to and raise funds for the immense challenges still facing us around the world, especially in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

For an overview of the situation for LGBTIQ people in different countries, see our "at a glance" tool. 



OutRight Action International works at a global, regional and national level to eradicate the persecution, inequality, and violence lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people face around the world. From its offices in 7 countries and headquarters in New York, OutRight builds capacity of LGBTIQ movements, documents human rights violations, advocates for inclusion and equality, and holds leaders accountable for protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people everywhere. OutRight has recognized consultative status at the United Nations.