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This programme aims to support civil society organisations to address discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and communities in sub-Saharan Africa. It focuses particularly on lesbian and transgender communities.

Discrimination against LGBTI people violates basic human rights. It is also increasingly evident that it hampers wider social and economic development, impacting negatively on health outcomes, poverty and disadvantage.

However, experiencing harassment, discrimination and violence because of your sexual orientation or gender identity is a daily reality for many people in sub-Saharan Africa. Thirty-eight countries in the region criminalise consensual same sex acts in private. In some countries the legislation is recent and increasingly harsh.

Despite the hostile climate, local activism for LGBTI rights by civil society has been growing in strength. African civil society, both LGBTI focused groups and those who work on related issues such as women’s rights, have a hugely important role to play in affirming, advocating for and realising the rights of LGBTI people. Many are, however, seriously underfunded and/or at an early and crucial stage of development. This is a particular issue for civil society supporting lesbian and transgender rights.

The Foundation has a long-standing interest in supporting work concerned with gender. The previous theme for the International Development programme, for example, focused on long-term forced migration from 2001 to 2013 and many grants were concerned with the rights of women and girls.

Useful resources

Canaries in the coal mines (The Other Foundation)

Progressive prudes: A survey of attitudes towards homosexuality and gender non-conformity in South Africa (The Other Foundation)

The state of trans organising (Astraea Foundation and others)