OutRight Action International was founded in 1990 as the first non-profit with the goal to advance international human rights for LGBTIQ people.
OutRight – originally the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) – provided its initial support to advocates for LGBTIQ rights in Russia. Now we partner with advocates from the Philippines to Colombia and Tunisia to Uganda. For the last 25 years, OutRight has fought to protect and advance the basic human rights of LGBTIQ people. We empower people on the front lines, hold leaders accountable at the United Nations and measure our impact through positive change in people’s lives.
OutRight staff work alongside LGBTIQ activists to help identify solutions and guide policymakers toward lasting change. We respond to emergencies. When someone is arrested, attacked, expelled or fired because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression we work with local activists and progressive institutions to quickly implement remedial action. We offer training in documenting abuses and other key areas to help them do their best work and elevate their needs and concerns where they can get global attention at the United Nations, before regional human rights monitoring bodies, and in the international media. OutRight is the only LGBTIQ organization based in the US with status to address the United Nations. This means we advocate at the United Nations headquarters year-round to protect LGBTIQ people around the world.
And that status is critical because in at least 76 countries globally, same-sex relations between consenting adults remains illegal; penalties range from corporal punishment to the death penalty. LGBTIQ people are subject to arrest, blackmail and harassment on frivolous charges such as ‘loitering,’ ‘vagabondry’ and ‘cross-dressing.’ Violence against those who are gender non-conforming are particularly frequent and widespread. Thus, advocates often cannot even seek justice inside their own countries. The UN can provide an avenue to hold other governments accountable for abuse and we ensure activists have this access while continually championing LGBTIQ human rights inside UN agencies and bodies.
When we began the fight for human dignity for LGBTIQ people, the cause did not have the visibility it has today. Nor had our community taken the strides toward equality and recognition we are seeing in many countries. But progress is uneven and this reality forms the core of our struggle. We strive for a world in which LGBTIQ individuals can live with dignity, achieve freedom and justice and are unencumbered by prejudice and discrimination to pursue their ambitions, wherever they are.