Sexual and gender minorities: worldwide protection from discrimination

September 21, 2011

Lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersexual persons (LGBTI) are subjected to special discrimination almost everywhere in the world, and in many places, they are politically persecuted and criminalized. Compared with other groups whose human rights are threatened or restricted, they receive far too little political or financial support.

This was confirmed today from the results of a study by the Deutsche Institut für Menschenrechte (DIMR) [German Institute for Human Rights] and the Dreilinden gGmbH in Berlin. The study, "Menschenrechte fördern! Deutsche Unterstützung für lesbische, schwule, bisexuelle, trans*- und inter* Menschenrechtsarbeit im Globalen Süden und Osten" [Promoting human rights! German support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender- and intersex- human rights work in the Global South and East] comes to the following conclusion: only nine of 16,500 German foundations and organizations support efforts to promote the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, and inter* persons (LGBTI) abroad.

“This is far too small a number,” states Barbara Unmüßig, Managing Board member at the Heinrich Böll Foundation. “We need large numbers of people to join the campaign to protect LGBTI people from discrimination and criminalization.” For years, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has been supporting networks and LGBTI groups in the nations of the Global South and in Eastern Europe. “All too often, we have been the sole foreign organization providing support for the socially and politically persecuted,” Unmüßig explains. “Financial and political support for LGBTI people should be an integral component of all human rights and gender rights policy efforts. The Heinrich Böll Foundation has anchored this in its mission statement.”

Through a total of 33 projects, the Foundation is demonstrably supporting the largest number of individual projects and with funding of 170.382 Euro, it is providing the second largest financial contribution for international LGBTI efforts. As a result of a gender recognition policy introduced in 2010, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has been able to disclose the amount of funds it has provided for these purposes. “We are pleased that the DIMR and Dreilinden gGmbH study appreciates our work on behalf of LGBTI. “This will serve to spur us on to further intensify our engagement,” explains Unmüßig, and it should encourage German ministries, especially the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), to “no longer confine their involvement in improved human rights protection for LGBTI people to mere lip service. We urgently need appropriate funding strategies and adequate financing.”

Executive Summary of the study "Promoting human rights! German support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender- and intersex- human rights work in the Global South and East":
In 2010, 17 German donors gave a total of 1,916,885 Euro to LGBTI human rights projects in the global South and East, 715,790 Euro of which were regrants. Compared to financial flows in 2008, covered in our 2009 study, LGBTI grantmaking has more than tripled. Since state actors participated in the survey for the first time, this increase is largely due to their involvement since they were the most generous donors. But even without considering the funding supplied by state actors, LGBTI grantmaking is shown to have risen modestly – from 622,200 Euro to 766,715 Euro. In addition, the number of donor organisations has increased to 17 (2008: 11) as has the number of projects funded (105 in 2010 from 47 in 2008) and the number of countries, from 11 in 2008 to now more than 30 countries worldwide. The detailed analysis of the figures demonstrates that the inclusion of LGBTI issues in HIV/AIDS programming has progressed greatly. Funding activity for direct services, organisational development and international networking could be increased. Countries in North Africa and Eastern Asia have not been targeted by German LGBTI funders. For the first time, lesbians and transgender people received specialised funding, which is an encouraging development. Intersex and bisexual people, as well as LGBTI people who suffer from multiple forms of discrimination, remain conspicuously absent from the list of grantmaking recipients.

LGBTI measures hbf 2010.pdf

Contact person:
Jana Mittag
Head of Democracy Promotion
030 285 34-305