Today’s map comes from Outright International, a global LGBTIQ rights group. It shows countries where the legal registration of community groups that support LGBTIQ rights are curtailed by governments.
As you can see, there is great disparity around the world, with Europe, the Americas, India and China permitting LGBTIQ groups to register, while Russia, much of the Middle East and parts of Africa more hostile to legal rights for these groups.
The data was compiled for OutRight Action International’s Report, Global State of LGBTIQ Organizing: The Right to Register. OutRight found that of 194 countries surveyed, “only 56%, 109 countries, permit LGBTIQ organizations to legally register as LGBTIQ organizations. In just 28%, 55 countries, LGBTIQ organizations exist but they cannot legally register as LGBTIQ organizations. In these countries disclosing an intention to serve LGBTIQ people sets up a barrier to legal registration.”
Thus, many organizations pursue registration using more neutral language about their aims and objectives that do not identify that they work with LGBTIQ people. In 15% of the countries studied, OutRight could not identify any organizations working on LGBTIQ issues, whether registered or unregistered. In these countries, LGBTIQ people don’t have an organization operated by and for the community that can advocate for their rights. OutRight is concerned that LGBTIQ people in these countries may be at higher risk of discrimination and violence.
The report comes in the context of a global trend in which governments are increasingly restricting the ability of NGOs and civil society groups to freely operate. This is referred to as the “shrinking” of space for civil society and it has become a worldwide contagion. For groups that advocate on behalf of LGBTIQ this trend is paricularly worrisome.