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The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGBTIA, and in Europe ILGA) is an international organization bringing together more than 1,300 LGBTI groups from around the world. It continues to be active in campaigning for LGBTI human rights on the international human rights and civil rights scene, and regularly petitions the United Nations and governments. They are represented in 140+ countries, and are accredited by the United Nations for NGO Ecosoc consultative status.


ILGA was founded as the International Gay Association (IGA) in August 1978, at a fringe meeting of a conference of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality held in Coventry, England, at a meeting with representatives of 10 organisations from Australia, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands and the United States.[1] It changed its name to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) in 1986.

The Coventry conference also called upon Amnesty International (AI) to take up the issue of persecution of lesbians and gays. After a 13-year campaign AI made the human rights of lesbians and gays part of its mandate in 1991 and now advocates for LGBT rights on the international level.[2]

ILGA was involved in getting the World Health Organization to drop homosexuality from its list of illnesses.[3]

ILGA was the first lesbian and gay rights organisation to gain "consultative status" as a non-governmental organisation at the United Nations. Statements were made in the name of ILGA in the 1993 and 1994 sessions of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and in the 1994 session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. ILGA's NGO status was suspended in September 1994. However, in July 2011 ILGA regained its ECOSOC consultative status with the United Nations[4][5] allowing ILGA to attend UN conferences and events, submit written statements, make oral interventions, and host panels in UN buildings.

In 2005, it issued a press release stating that the election of Benedict XVI as Pope caused "hurt and pain" among LGBT people.[6]

World conference[]

According to its constitution,[7] ILGA has a world conference in which all of its member organisations can attend. The world conference normally sets the time and place for the next conference.[8] However, the Executive Board has used its power under the constitution to set an alternative venue, in the event the venue originally set becomes unviable, as was the case in 2008, when the originally chosen venue of Quebec had to be abandoned due to difficulties encountered by the local organizing committee in raising the necessary funds and the conference had to be held in Vienna instead. The 2010 ILGA world conference took place in São Paulo, Brazil, the 2012 Conference took place in Stockholm, and the 2014 Conference took place in Mexico City.[9]

Protests often made the conferences that the organization held more dramatic and having more negative attention then would've been wanted. A problem encountered was financial in nature which recently came to a head when an ILGA conference actually had to be postponed because of lack of funding.[10]

ILGA State-Sponsored Homophobia Reports[]

In 2011, ILGA released its State-Sponsored Homophobia Report[11] and map that brings to light 75 countries that still criminalize same-sex relationships between two consenting adults. These countries are mainly in Africa and in Asia.

In 2016, ILGA released an updated version of the State-Sponsored Homophobia Report. The Report found that "same-sex sexual acts" are illegal in 72 countries. These countries are 37% of the States in the United Nations. Of these 72 countries, 33 are in Africa, 23 are in Asia, 11 are in the Americas, and six are in Oceania.[12]

ILGA 2016 Global Attitudes Survey regarding LGBTI People[]

In 2016, ILGA published its 2016 Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People. The principal subject surveyed was attitudes about "sexual orientation."[13]

International Intersex Forum[]

File:Third International Intersex Forum.jpg

Third International Intersex Forum, Malta, December 2013

Main article: International Intersex Forum

With a move to include intersex people in its remit, ILGA and ILGA-Europe have sponsored the only international gathering of intersex activists and organisations. The International Intersex Forum has taken place annually since 2011.[14][15][16][17]

The third forum was held in Malta with 34 people representing 30 organisations "from all continents". The closing statement affirmed the existence of intersex people, reaffirmed "the principles of the First and Second International Intersex Fora and extend the demands aiming to end discrimination against intersex people and to ensure the right of bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination". For the first time, participants made a statement on birth registrations, in addition to other human rights issues.[17][18][19]

ILGA World Staff[]

The ILGA World Executive Director since 2018 is André du Plessis.

Current 2019-2021 ILGA World Executive Board[]

ILGA is managed by an executive board. The 2019-2021 ILGA World Board were all elected[20] in during the 2019 ILGA World conference [18-22 March 2019 (Wellington, New Zealand)].[21]

Position Delegate/s Alternate/s
Co-Secretaries General (General)
  • Tuisina Ymania Brown[22]
    (Pacific Human Rights Initiative, Samoa[23])
  • Luz Elena Aranda[24]
    (Teatro Cabaret Reinas Chulas AC, Mexico)
  • Barbra Wangare Muruga[25]
    (Eathan, Kenya[26])
  • Bisexual Steering Committee Chair
  • Rāwā Karetai[27]
    (Rainbow Lifestyle Protection, Aotearoa New Zealand)
  • Intersex Steering Committee Chair
  • Tony Briffa[28]
    (Organisation Intersex International Australia, Australia[29])
  • Trans Steering Committee Chair
  • Jabulani Pereira[30]
    (Iranti, South Africa[31])
  • Women's Steering Committee Chair
  • Cristina González Hurtado[32]
    (Corporatión Femm, Colombia[33])
  • Youth Steering Committee Chair
  • Martin Karadzhov[34]
    (Metro Centre Ltd and LGBT Consortium, United Kingdom[35])
  • Each region also has two representatives on the executive board, which can be elected at that region's own regional conference, or at the ILGA World Conference.

    Position Delegate/s Alternate/s Elected
    ILGA-Asia Representatives
  • Candy Yun[36]
    (Korean Sexual-Minority Culture & Rights Center, South Korea[37])
  • Shadi Amin[38]
    (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network [6Rang], Iran[39])
  • Ngo Le Phuong Linh[40]
    (ICS Center, Vietnam[41])
  • Charbel Maydaa[42]
    (Mosaic, Lebanon)
  • ILGA Asia Regional Conference
    [August 2019 (Seoul)]
    ILGA-Europe Representatives
  • Olena Shevchenko[43]
    (Insight, Ukraine[44])
  • Yuri Guaiana[45]
    (Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, Italy[46])
  • Annika Ojala[47]
    (Seta – LGBTI Rights, Finland[48])
  • Yves Aerts Jacobs [49]
    (Çavaria, Belgium [50])
  • ILGA Europe Conference
    [October 2020 (Virtual)]
    ILGA Latin America and the Caribbean Representatives
  • Ari Vera Morales[51]
    (Almas Cautivas, Mexico[52])
  • Darío Arias[53]
    (Conurbanxs por la Diversidad- Jóvenes por la Diversidad, Argentina)
  • Marlin González
    (Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panama, Panama[54])
  • David Aruquipa-Danna Galán
    (Comunidad Diversidad, Bolivia[55])
  • ILGA LAC Regional Conference
    [November 2019 (Bogotà)]
    ILGA North America & the Caribbean Representatives
  • Kimberly Frost[56]
    (OUTreach, United States[57])
  • Stephen Seaborn[58]
    (Pink Triangle Committee, Canada[59])
  • Winnie Luk
    (Rainbow Railroad, Canada[60])
  • Justin Tindall
    (It Gets Better Project, United States[61])
  • ILGA North America & the Caribbean Regional Conference
    [December 2019, (Virtual)]
    ILGA Oceania Representatives
  • Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat
    (Australia Greens LGBTI Members, Yupungathi and Meriam Nations - Australia)[62]
  • Ken Moala
    (Tungaru / Boutokaan Inaomataia ao Mauriia Binabinaine Association [BIMBA] Inc, Kiribati, Kiribati[63])
  • Iru Tau
    (Kapul Champions, Papua New Guinea)[64]
  • Miki Wali
    (Pacific Sexual & Gender Diversity Network [PSGDN], Pacific Islands)[65]
  • ILGA Oceania Regional Conference
    [29 August 2018 - 01 September 2018 (Virtual - Nouméa, New Caledonia / Sydney, Australia)]
    Pan Africa ILGA Representatives
  • Juliet Nnedinma Ulanmo[66]
    (International Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Nigeria[67])
  • Sheba Akpokli[68]
    (Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, West Africa[69])
  • Prior 2016-2019 ILGA World Executive Board[]

    The 2016-2019 ILGA World Board were all elected in 2016 ILGA World Conference [28 November 2016 – 02 December 2016 (Bangkok, Thailand)].[70]

    Position Delegate/s Alternate/s
    Co-Secretaries General
  • Ruth Baldacchino
  • Helen Kennedy
  • Ymania Brown[71]
    (Pacific Human Rights Initiative, Samoa[72])
  • Yahia Zaidi
  • Bisexual Secretariat
  • Frank Evelio Arteaga[73]
    (Manodiversa, Bolivia[74])
  • Hilde Vossen
    (LNBi, The Netherlands)
  • Intersex Secretariat
  • Miriam van der Have
    (NNID, The Netherlands)
  • Morgan Carpenter and Tony Briffa[75]
    (Organisation Intersex International Australia, Australia[76])
  • Trans Secretariat
  • Brenda Rodriguez Alegre
    (STRAP – Society of Transsexual Women Philippines, Philippines)
  • Jay Moulucha
    (Fem Alliance Uganda, Uganda)
  • Women's Secretariat
  • Jessica St Rose
    (United and Strong, Saint Lucia)
  • Ana Francis Mor
    (Teatro Cabaret Reinas Chulas, Mexico)
  • Controversy, loss and regain of UN consultative status[]

    In the summer of 1993, the ILGA gained consultative status on the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as a Non-Governmental-Organization, joining 3,000 organisations throughout the world. However, that status was suspended in 1994 after a campaign led by Jesse Helms focussing on NAMBLA's membership of ILGA.

    Following this, by a vote of 214–30, ILGA expelled North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), Vereniging MARTIJN and Project Truth in early 1994 because they were judged to be "groups whose predominant aim is to support or promote pedophilia." In October 1994, the executive committee of ILGA suspended the membership of VSG (Association for Sexual Equality), a gay group in Munich, Germany, due to its vocal solidarity with NAMBLA and its refusal to purge pedophile members. Its membership was suspended until the next Annual Conference of ILGA in June 1995 when the matter could be dealt with in accordance to ILGA's constitution, namely, expulsion. VSG left ILGA in April 1995 and in 1998 dissolved itself.

    ILGA applied to have its consultative status reinstated in 2000,[77] but on 30 April 2002 the United Nations' Economic & Social Council voted 29–17 not to grant this application,[78] "based on concerns raised about its member organizations or subsidiaries that promoted or condoned paedophilia".[79]

    One of the issues of concern was whether it was possible to verify that links with NAMBLA had effectively been severed due to ILGA not publishing its organisation membership list given fears for the safety of members living in countries where homosexuality is still criminalised.Template:Citation needed

    On 3 May 2003, ECOSOC voted to again decline consultative status to ILGA. ILGA submitted another application, along with another LGBT rights organisation but it was rejected on 23 January 2006 at the Committee of NGOs.[80] ILGA keeps the view that the summary dismissal of LGBT rights organisations' applications was influenced by Egypt and OIC.[81]

    • Ten countries voting against ILGA's application for ECOSOC included those that have the most negative evaluation by ILGA in its yearly report against discriminations of people living with HIV/AIDS: Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, United States of America, Zimbabwe;
    • Supportive states included: Chile, France, Germany, Peru, Romania;
    • Colombia, India, Turkey abstained;
    • Ivory Coast representative was not present.

    However, in the subsequent vote on the candidature of ILGA-Europe, the U.S. reversed its position, though the proposal was still defeated, with:

    • 9 countries opposing ECOSOC consultative status (Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Zimbabwe) and
    • 7 in support (Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, Romania, United States);
    • 2 abstentions (India, Turkey).[82]

    ILGA continued to state its opposition to pedophilia[83] and continued to seek ECOSOC Consultative status with the UN, applying once more in May 2009. The UN NGO Committee discussed ILGA's most recent application during its sessions in May 2010 and February 2011. During this session, the Belgian Mission at the UN asked for a vote on ILGA's application, because "The organization had applied for over ten years and met all prerequisites under the resolution. While aware of the divergent views on the organization, he asked that, given the NGO's lengthy history, the Committee make a decision during the current session."[84] A "no-action" motion, presented by the Sudanese Representative to counter Belgium's request for a vote, passed with nine Committee members voting in favour (Burundi, China, Morocco, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan and Venezuela), seven voting against (Belgium, Bulgaria, India, Israel, Turkey, Peru and United States), with Kyrgyzstan abstaining and Mozambique and Cuba not present. [84]

    On 11 December 2006, ILGA-Europe (along with LSVD and LBL) were successful in being granted ECOSOC consultative status.[85]

    On 25 July 2011, ILGA as a whole were successful in being granted ECOSOC consultative status,[86] with a vote of 30 in favour, 13 against, and five abstentions.

    See also[]


    • European Lesbian* Conference
    • International Lesbian Information Service (ILIS)
    • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex Law Association
    • Intersex human rights
    • LGBT social movements


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