Our global programs support innovative advocacy and use our collective might to carry the voices of activists to advance equality and help end discrimination.
LBQ Connect is a global feminist program aiming at boosting the work and visibility of lesbian, bisexual, and queer activism around the world.
The program strengthens LBQ movements and makes a concrete difference in the lives of lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women by enhancing the capacity of LBQ activists, supporting the work of existing and new groups, collecting data, and raising the visibility of LBQ issues and leaders.
LBQ Connect refers to LBQ women as a term inclusive of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, including cisgender, trans, and intersex women, and all non-binary or genderqueer people on the gender spectrum who relate to an LBQ identity.
As the forms of marginalization experienced by LBQ women are multifaceted, the program uses different strategies to strengthen the work of the LBQ movement.
That’s why LBQ Connect is composed of 4 main components that are strongly interconnected:
- Learning and Mentorship:
The program's first step focuses on strengthening skills and capacities of LBQ activists. LBQ Connect is intended for new and aspiring LBQ activists and more experienced activists who feel they need to boost specific skills. We offer a range of training opportunities, workshops, and peer learning sessions using different formats and facilitation techniques to best meet the needs and learning styles of all participants. In the first year, we selected 50 LBQ activists accompanied by 50 mentors, LBQ activist with strong experience, who supported and advised them during the program. The mentorship builds solidarity and connection among different generations, forms of activism and regions and a stronger ecosystem within the global LBQ movements.
This second component shifts from the individual to the movement level. The grants support LBQ-focused projects of different kinds, e.g. establishment of new LBQ groups or strengthening existing organizations; mainstreaming of LBQ agendas in non-LBQ focused organizations (LGBTIQ, feminist, human rights, etc); building alliances with other movements and organizations around key issues; planning and implementation of advocacy and campaigning strategies. In the first cycle of the program we have supported 31 projects implemented by members of the LBQ Connect cohort. Projects last up to 12 months and are carried out with an organization.
Research and Documentation:
During the program, the Outright research and program teams, in cooperation with civil society partners, develop LBQ-focused research initiatives on topics identified based on a thorough assessment of needs and gaps and with input from program participants.
Data provided by the research component, as well as needs and priorities expressed across the learning and grant program, informs Outright’s LBQ advocacy agenda. Besides international advocacy within human rights mechanisms, the program contributes to the circulation and sharing of LBQ movements’ wealth of knowledge on national and regional advocacy. Throughout the program Outright and partners raise awareness about LBQ communities and issues, especially those most marginalized and structurally underfunded, with governmental funders as well as private donors.
Within global LGBTIQ movements as well as in feminist movements, democracy and human rights movements, and in society overall, LBQ women are routinely marginalized.
LBQ women and non-binary people confront misogyny, homophobia, and heteronormativity and often live in hostile contexts at the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability. These power dynamics and social norms expose them to a unique set of human rights violations, including particular risks of violence and discrimination in accessing education, health care, housing, and employment. Data on the experience of LBQ women is scarce, which has a negative impact on the visibility of LBQ issues and their relevance in advocacy agendas. As a consequence, the rights and issues of LBQ women are radically underserved - and under-resourced. Only 5% of global LGBTIQ funding (which itself represents less than 1% of all foundation and government funding) is specifically directed to LBQ issues, according to various sources like Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Mama Cash, and the Global Philanthropy Project.
In the last decade, LGBTIQ movements have greatly accelerated legal and social progress around the world, often led by extraordinary LBQ women activists doing groundbreaking work. Still, LBQ activists are made invisible, are disproportionately affected by restrictions on assembly and expression, and often cannot access policymakers or influential stakeholders. LBQ women also remain underrepresented in leadership roles, even among LGBTIQ civil society organizations. In some places, emerging organizations for LBQ women have vanished due to external opposition, and in other cases, LBQ women are never given the opportunity to have organizations of their own.
Outright believes that a strong LBQ movement is essential to advance human rights for all LGBTIQ people and to improve the lives of all women.
LBQ Connect is designed to strengthen LBQ activism and boost the visibility of LBQ issues and leaders around the world.
As such, the program's primary target is LBQ women. In the framework of the program, LBQ focuses on sexual identity and is inclusive of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, including cisgender, trans, and intersex, and non-binary people on the gender spectrum who relate to an LBQ identity.
For many people, labels are often inadequate or unwanted, language is limited, and gender exists on a continuum. LBQ in this context serves as the operational definition and as key inclusion criteria for participation in this program.
(This terminology is inspired by the recent Astraea report “Vibrant yet under-resourced: the state of lesbian, bisexual, and queer movements,” which in turn was based on a broad consultation with activists.) Outright recognizes that LBQ identities and experiences intersect with other markers of identity and experience such as race, nationality, age, religion, and economic background, and we prioritize marginalized LBQ women throughout our work.
In the LBQ Connect program, we welcome all participants who self-identify as LBQ women and who have some identification, affinity or attachment to LBQ issues, work and movement building. We discourage participants who exclude transgender, intersex or non-binary people in their work, as they are not a good fit for our program.
The LBQ Connect learning program is for all LBQ activists and aspiring activists who feel the need to strengthen their skills. It is also for LBQ women from other movements (climate, sexual and reproductive rights, anti-corruption, indigenous, etc.) who want to connect to LBQ activism.
The program is implemented by Outright with the support of a Sounding Board of LBQ activists.
LBQ Connect refers to LBQ women as a term inclusive of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, including cisgender,trans, and intersex women, and all non-binary or genderqueer people on the gender spectrum who relate to an LBQ identity.
Outright launched the second cycle of LBQ Connect in March of 2023 in conjunction with International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
2nd Cycle: March 2023 - September 2024
- March 8, 2023: Call for applications for 100 participants to the Learning and Mentorship program
- April 8, 2023: Deadline for the submission of applications.
- April 30, 2023: Selection of participants is completed.
- May 2023 - March 2024: Learning and mentorship program.
- August 2023: Call for project proposals for the grant program (only for participants in the learning and mentorship program).
- September 2023 - September 2024: Projects funded and implemented.
Research and advocacy activities will be conducted throughout the program period.
Do you want to be part of LBQ Connect?
- Please note that only participants in the learning and mentorship program will be invited to apply for the grant program. Participants may also have opportunities to participate in Outright initiatives such as UN Advocacy Week and an in-person convenings.
- Do you face any situation (security context, internet access, disability, etc.) that may present challenges for your participation in this program? If so, if you are selected for the program, Outright will work with you to identify solutions.
- Do you have questions regarding any aspects of the program, including accessibility? Don’t hesitate to send them to LBQconnect@Outrightinternational.org. We will also publish a Q&A in the coming weeks.
- If you want to learn more about the program, watch this intro session we hosted on March 15, 2023 (the webinar was interpreted in French and Spanish).
In 2019, Outright International, in partnership with three partner organizations – The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) in Nigeria, galck+, and Access Chapter 2 (AC2) in South Africa – commenced a project to document and end conversion practices, also known as conversion “therapy,” that impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.
Outright International’s pioneering report, Harmful Treatment: The Global Reach of So-Called Conversion Therapy, exposed that conversion practices aiming to change, divert, convert or suppress the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of LGBTIQ people, including with physical and psychological force, are prevalent across the world.
- Build a body of knowledge and evidence on conversion practices in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to ensure localized data on the manifestation of conversion practices in these countries.
- Raise awareness at national, regional, and international levels of the nature and negative impact of conversion practices.
- Build a broad base of support among relevant key actors who condemn these harmful practices and are willing to work towards establishing appropriate protections against conversion practices.
- galck+ is The National SOGIE Umbrella Body, Representing LGBQ Voices Across Kenya. The galck+ has been instrumental in establishing (and re-establishing) working relationships and alliances with Government institutions and Civil Society organizations through which to inspire a society that appreciates diversity and recognizes that everyone has a right to equal opportunities irrespective of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender, and expression. galck+ envisions a safe and enabling environment for all. A space where the fundamental principles of human rights, equality and non-discrimination and the protection of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Queer are guaranteed; that all Kenyans, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression are accorded their rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
- The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) is a Nigeria-based registered not-for-profit organization working to create a society where human rights are guaranteed regardless of status, identity, orientation and affiliation. We exist to protect, uphold and promote the rights and humanity of all Nigerians through advocacy, empowerment, education, and the provision of safe platforms of convergence. We were founded in 2005 as a response to the discrimination and marginalization of sexual minorities in both HIV prevention programming, human rights protection, advocacy, and mainstream human rights work
- Access Chapter 2 was initiated to promoting the human rights and empowerment of women and girls, and LGBTI+ person in all their diversities, facilitate the participation of civil society organizations at a local, national, regional and international level by creating space and coordinating platforms for engagement on governance, policy and accountability processes and by developing innovative and active empowerment for transformation knowledge for community systems strengthening and build solidarity within civil society and other various sectors.
- Pathways for Eliminating Conversion Practices: In recognizing the urgent need to respond to these harmful practices, Outright has carried out initiatives to contribute to the ongoing global efforts to challenge conversion practices. One of those initiatives was the convening of a series of expert meetings on pathways for the elimination of conversion practices. Through these meetings, we brought together LGBTQ activists, survivors of conversion practices, academics, legal professionals, medical and mental health practitioners, human rights experts, and faith leaders to identify a set of advocacy recommendations that could be used in a variety of settings to challenge conversion practices at local, national, regional, and international levels. This toolkit is informed by the knowledge and expertise of 111 experts from 40 countries who participated in global and regional consultations that Outright convened in 2021. The toolkit sets out some of the most effective advocacy strategies that have been implemented, as well as those actively being considered by various partners globally. These strategies can be used to address conversion practices everywhere. The content of this toolkit will also be valuable to anyone who wants to expand their understanding of advocacy to challenge conversion practices and how these strategies can be applied.
- Converting Mindsets, Not Our Identities: Although conversion practices have been well-documented over the last five decades in North America and Australia, no in-depth study has been undertaken to characterize the nature and extent of these damaging, degrading practices in any African country. The three research reports (galck+ report, The Initiative for Equal Rights report, AC2 report) that emerge as part of this project fill the knowledge gap by providing substantial data on conversion practices in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, and contribute much-needed evidence of harm to inform advocacy interventions to curtail these practices.
- The Global Reach of So-Called Conversion Therapy: This report draws on data from an extensive literature review, the first-ever global survey on the topic, and in-depth interviews with experts and survivors from various countries. In most countries around the world, discrimination, violence, and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics persist within families, faith communities, and societies at large. A manifestation of this ongoing rejection is that LGBTIQ people are considered disordered and therefore in need of “cure,” “repair,” or counseling to regain their presumed heterosexual, cisgender identities. The term “conversion therapy” is most widely used to describe this process of cis-gender, heteronormative indoctrination— that is, attempting to change, suppress, or divert one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The term, however, suggests that treatment is needed for a disorder and that people can be converted to cisgender heterosexuality through such “treatment.” Neither is true.
Global Trans Program
Outright International’s Global Trans Program works with Trans activists and advocates to support global movement building through research, advocacy, and funding.
Our goal is to increase visibility and meaningful engagement for trans people everywhere. Outright has long prioritized inclusion and centering trans activism, issues and voices.
- Build relationships across the global trans community and other stakeholders to foster relations and guide and set working parameters.
- Through grants, assist trans organizations and activists who are under-resourced.
- Create regional learning institutes aimed at cultivating strong, confident leaders to provide sustainability for the movement.
- Facilitate discussions, litigation strategies, advocacy, and lobbying to obtain legal gender recognition, inclusive health care, and social services for the global trans and gender diverse community.
For information on our Global Trans Program, please reach out to our Senior Advisor of the Global Trans Program, Rikki Nathanson, who works to build on these values while ensuring the visibility of all gender identities and gender expression in our programming.
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