LGBT Concerns and International Psychology

The Network

The International Psychology Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Issues (IPsyNet) was formed in 2005 and is composed of national, multinational and international psychological associations. The IPsyNet brochure (PDF, 183KB) provides information about the network's mission, vision and main goals, as well as information about membership and public listserv.

News
International Policy
National and Regional Policy
Advocacy

Governmental Actions

Civil Society
  • ARC International
    Since 2003, ARC International has been advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. ARC plays a unique role in facilitating strategic planning around LGBT issues internationally, strengthening global networks, and enhancing access to UN mechanisms. It is the only organization with a full-time presence in Geneva committed to advancing LGBT issues within the UN human rights system.

  • The Council for Global Equality
    The Council for Global Equality brings together international human rights activists, foreign policy experts, LGBT leaders, philanthropists and corporate officials to encourage a clearer and stronger American voice on human rights concerns impacting LGBT communities around the world. Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity References in U.S. Department of State Human Rights Report for 2011 (Released May, 2012).

  • International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)
    The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policy makers, opinion leaders, social movements, public opinion, the media, etc. to homophobia and transphobia, and to promote a world of tolerance, respect and freedom regardless of people's sexual orientation or gender identity. May 17 was chosen to commemorate the decision taken by the World Health Organization in 1990 to take homosexuality out of the list of mental disorders. As much as it is a day against violence and oppression, it is a day for freedom, diversity and acceptance.

  • The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
    The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is a leading international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

         - The Courage Unfolds Campaign and video highlight the issues faced
           by LGBT people in Asia and encourage the use of the Yogyakarta
           Principles as a tool to promote LGBT human rights.

  • The International Lesbian & Gay Association (ILGA)
    The International Lesbian & Gay Association's aim is to work for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and their liberation from all forms of discrimination. ILGA is comprised of 690 member groups from 110 countries. The ILGA homepage has an interactive map that allows visitors to research the status of laws globally, both favorable and unfavorable, that affect LGBT people.

  • Research Institute Without Walls
    The Research Institute Without Walls (RIWW) was founded to facilitate international and collaborative LGBT research. RIWW's community-based and multicenter research brings together researchers, activists, and providers who are interested in documenting the human rights, mental health needs, and resilience of LGBT persons around the world. Their goal is to bring together LGBT mental health professionals and human rights advocates and researchers.

Human Rights

Opportunities for Students and Psychologists

  • Human Rights Education Associates
    Selected learning materials related to sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights.
    Human Rights Education Associates is an international non-governmental organization registered as a charity in the Netherlands, and as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit in the United States. It has consultative status with the United Nations.

  • When LGBT People Face Forced Migration or Torture, What is the Role of Psychology?
    Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their human rights concerns have become increasingly visible around the world. As awareness grows, and as more people come out by choice or are outed by others, reactions to these populations play out in ways both favorable and appalling. In response to the human impact of all of this there is a growing literature on how to work with and protect the individuals affected. There is also increasing attention to training for graduate students, forensic psychologists and other scientists, and clinicians, on working with displaced, escaping or physically and psychologically victimized LGBT people.

Systems and Documents

United Nations
  • UNHRC Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
    On Sept. 26, 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity with 25 voting in favor, 14 against and seven abstentions. The resolution expresses grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and requested the High Commissioner to update the report entitled "Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on Their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination.

  • Discussion Paper on Transgender Health & Human Rights
    This paper aims to inform United Nations Development Programme's work on transgender health and human right to foster greater understanding on the health and human rights issues that impact trans people and consequently influence their social marginalization.
    December 2013

  • Born Free and Equal
    United Nations Human Rights Office publication on sexual orientation and gender identity in international human rights law.
    September 2012

  • United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCRH)
    The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights is committed to working with States, national human rights institutions and civil society to achieve progress towards the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality and further measures to protect people from violence and discrimination on grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • First ever report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity (PDF, 706KB).
    Dec. 15, 2011

  • Navi Pillay Video Message
    May 6, 2011
    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has renewed her call for States to confront prejudice towards lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons.

  • Activities of the Human Rights Office
    Combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • The UN Speaks Out Brochure
    Tackling discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

United Nations Human Rights Council
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Organization of American States
Yogyakarta Principles
  • Yogyakarta Principles
    In 2006, in response to well-documented patterns of abuse, a distinguished group of international human rights experts met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The result was the Yogyakarta Principles: a universal guide to human rights which affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfill that precious birthright. 

Other Resources

Research

  • Cross-National Study by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), shows vast majority of countries have become more accepting of homosexuality; trend slower or reversed in Russia and other ex-socialist countries. May 2011