In November 2016, Religion News Foundation hosted 24 journalists from across sub-Saharan Africa for a weeklong reporting workshop in Cape Town, South Africa. The theme was “Covering religion and sexual and gender minorities” in the region. This training was made possible with support from the Arcus Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. In early 2017, we produced a full reporting guide on religion and sexual/gender minorities in sub-Saharan Africa, available here. The source guide below offers relevant resources to enhance your coverage of these sensitive and often taboo topics.
In sub-Saharan Africa, as in much of the world, reporting on sexual and gender minorities can be a challenge. Cultural taboos, social hostilities and legal prohibitions around sexual and gender expression often diminish or distort coverage of these sensitive topics. Add religion to the mix and producing responsible journalism gets complicated. Ethical and sensitive coverage of sexual and gender minorities in the region requires brave journalists to put biases aside and embrace the core teachings of their profession.
To get you started and to enhance your reporting, this ReligionLink source guide offers background information, links to relevant resources and readings, and a directory of regional activist and expert sources from across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
The Ethical Journalism Network lists truth and accuracy, independence, fairness and impartiality, humanity, and accountability as five of the most important principles that distinguish journalism from propaganda and public relations.
To ensure truth and accuracy, we as journalists must learn about the topics we cover. To achieve independence, we must limit the influence of parties with vested interests that try to shape our work. To foster fairness and impartiality, we must interview and seek input from a diverse range of relevant stakeholders, most importantly the individuals and communities we’re covering. To safeguard humanity, we should recognize and strive to reduce any potential harm our reporting may bring upon vulnerable individuals and communities. To ensure accountability to our readers, we need to humbly acknowledge and correct past mistakes in our reporting.
If we commit ourselves to these basic principles of our profession, we can replace dehumanizing stereotypes with more nuanced portraits of sexual and gender minorities. We can contribute to the accurate portrayal of an often silenced minority by giving individuals and communities the opportunity to speak in their own words.
Before reaching out to sources, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the relevant terminology and definitions that tend to come up in conversations about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, sometimes referred to as SOGIE. Knowing that LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex is just the tip of the iceberg. Not every SOGIE minority chooses to use these terms and labels. Rather than trying to fit sources into particular identity categories, allow them to use their own vocabulary, and describe them as such in your reporting. For some of the terms you’re likely to encounter along the way, reference the following glossaries:
- The GLAAD Media Reference Guide — 10th Edition, published in October 2016, offers tools to encourage fair, accurate and inclusive reporting of LGBT people. The guide includes glossaries of LGB terms, transgender terms, terms to avoid and a summary of relevant AP, Reuters and New York Times style terms.
- The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s Stylebook Supplement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Terminology is intended to complement the AP stylebook and those of individual newsrooms. It also includes a short list of U.S.-based LGBT organizations and their contact details.
- The Gender Spectrum Guide to Gender Terminology explains nonbinary gender notions and includes relevant terminology.
- The Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism’s Diversity Style Guide has an LGBTQ glossary of relevant terms.
Resources and readings
- ILGA’s annual State Sponsored Homophobia Report documents sexual orientation laws around the world.
- The 2016 ILGA-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People surveyed nearly 100,000 people online in 65 countries, nine of which are in Africa.
- “The Global Divide on Homosexuality” is a 2013 Pew Research Center report on attitudes toward homosexuality in 39 countries. On the question “Should society accept homosexuality?,” a majority of people said “no” in the six African countries surveyed, namely South Africa (61 percent), Kenya (90 percent), Uganda (96 percent), Ghana (96 percent), Senegal (96 percent) and Nigeria (98 percent). The survey found that acceptance of homosexuality is most widespread in countries where religion is less central to people’s lives.
- “Violence Based on Perceived or Real Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Africa” is a 2013 report compiled by African Men for Sexual Health and Rights and the Coalition of African Lesbians. The report documents different forms of violence, factors fueling violence and the impacts of violence on LGBTI individuals in Africa. It is available in English and French.
- “Criminalising Homosexuality and Understanding the Right to Manifest Religion” (2016) is a briefing note by the Human Dignity Trust that discusses how religion and criminalization of homosexuality are connected around the world. The note includes statements by religious leaders from a diversity of faiths on LGBTI issues.
- “Breaking the Silence: Criminalisation of Lesbians and Bisexual Women and its Impacts” (2016) is a report by the Human Dignity Trust that documents the history of laws criminalizing consensual sexual intimacy between women, and the homophobia anti-LGBT criminal laws foster and perpetuate against lesbians and bisexual women in particular.
- The summary report from “Homophobia and the Churches in Africa: A Dialogue” synthesizes a two-day conference held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in April 2016. Watch video recordings of each session here.
- The ILGA-Europe magazine’s Winter 2015/16 edition on reconciling sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and religion features a section on the right to freedom of religion or belief and its intersection with other rights.
- “Silenced Voices, Threatened Lives” is a 2015 report documenting the impact of Nigeria’s 2014 Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Law on freedom of expression. The report was written by the PEN America Center, PEN Nigeria and the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School in New York City.
- “Dipolelo Tsa Rona — Our Stories” is a collection of essays published in 2016 by Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo).
- FeminismInIndia.com’s Sameera Khan summarizes 16 strategies for implementing gender ethical journalism, all of which can be readily applied in the sub-Saharan Africa SOGIE context.
- Religion News Service’s 2015 reporting series on the intersection of faith, ethnicity and sexuality features 12 stories that address religion, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in the Global South.
- Religion News Service’s parent organization Religion News Foundation features 15 stories that emerged from the November 2016 journalism training workshop on “Covering religion and sexual and gender minorities in sub-Saharan Africa.”
- Watch Quorum, a 2015 video series from The Daily Beast featuring LGBT activists from the Global South.
- Watch God Loves Uganda, a 2013 film that documents the connection between North American evangelicalism and homophobia in Uganda. The documentary is available on Netflix.
- Watch African Pride, a 2014 film that documents how black lesbians and allied activists are rallying to stop homophobic violence in South Africa’s townships. Contact filmmaker Laura Fletcher ([email protected]) to request access to the full film.
- The United Nations’ Free & Equal Campaign posts several fact sheets on LGBTI rights and equality, including FAQs, international human rights law and specific information on criminalization, violence, refuge and asylum.
- ProjektHope’s Guidebook to Reporting Gender and Sexuality (2015) offers practical advice for journalists reporting on LGBTI issues in Nigeria. It includes sections on understanding gender and sexuality in the African context and their implications for public health.
- Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action’s 2006 “Out in the Media?” report discusses knowledge, attitudes and practices among South African media toward LGBTI issues and offers a historic benchmark from which to assess reporting today.
- Inclusive and Affirming Ministries’ training booklet on the Bible and homosexuality analyzes and interprets eight passages of Scripture often cited as pertaining to homosexuality.
- “Where Do We Go for Justice?,” a 2015 report by the civil rights organization Chapter Four Uganda, documents abuse of the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda’s criminal justice system.
- The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa held a weeklong course in February 2016 on sexual minority rights. See the course program and key readings on the center’s website.
- Read Security in-a-Box’s guide to digital security for the LGBTI community in sub-Saharan Africa. The guide’s tips are equally relevant for journalists reporting on the community.
- Watch the Journalist Survival Guide’s animated videos on protecting source identity, journalists’ international rights, how to protect your computer against hacking, how to get a secure internet connection and how to secure your Skype account.
- The Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School’s Digital Security and Source Protection For Journalists guide (2014) offers strategies for reducing source exposure online.
- Amnesty International has information and resources about LGBT rights on its website.
- OutRight Action International’s 2015 report on Homophobia and Transphobia in Caribbean Media encourages regional media to: promote self-regulation among media groups in the pursuit of ethical and fair-minded coverage; ensure accountability for unethical and unbiased coverage; issue joint statements condemning prejudicial and biased reporting on LGBTI individuals; provide training for journalists on how to ethically cover LGBTI-related events; and promote the voices of LGBTI activists and organizations in media coverage that affect the community. These guidelines have global relevance.
- The U.K. Department for International Development’s Faith, Gender and Sexuality Toolkit includes sections on sexuality and gender diversity, culture, tradition and faith.
- The Media Institute of Southern Africa published a series of articles on the state of Africa’s press on the 25th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, which in 1991 set out to promote an independent and pluralistic African news media landscape. Several articles directly address journalism safety.
- The Solutions Journalism Toolkit (2015) offers tips to help journalists produce rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social issues.
- International Media Support’s Handbook for Conflict Sensitive Journalism (2004) offers tips to help journalists report information to the public in times of conflict without exacerbating tensions. IMS has also created country-specific handbooks for Zimbabwe (2009), Rwanda (2008) and Kenya (2007).
- UNESCO’s Conflict-Sensitive Reporting guide (2009) aims to strengthen media’s capacity to contribute to dialogue, mutual understanding, reconciliation and peace.
African Men for Sexual Health and Rights
African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) is a coalition of 18 LGBT/MSM (men who have sex with men)-led organizations across sub-Saharan Africa. The coalition works to address the disproportionate effect of HIV/AIDS on MSM and LGBT individuals, to redress the human rights violations these populations face on the continent and to increase the visibility of LGBT individuals and their issues. Contact Executive Director Kene Esom in Johannesburg. Berry Nibogora, a law and human rights advocacy specialist based in Dakar, Senegal, can be reached at [email protected].
Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS
The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) is a nongovernmental organization formally established in 2001 to support human rights initiatives in the area of HIV/AIDS and to protect and promote the rights of all people affected by HIV/AIDS.
Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria
The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa works toward human rights education in Africa and improvement of the rights of women, people living with HIV, indigenous peoples, sexual minorities and other disadvantaged or marginalized people or groups across the continent. Contact Director Frans Viljoen.
Coalition of African Lesbians
The Coalition of African Lesbians is a regional network of organizations in sub-Saharan Africa committed to advancing freedom, justice and bodily autonomy for all women on the African continent and beyond. It is based in Johannesburg. Contact regional advocacy officer Fadzai Muparutsa.
GALZ, which stands for Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, was founded in 1990 to serve the needs and interests of LGBTI people in that country and to push for social tolerance of sexual minorities and the repeal of homophobic legislation. It is Zimbabwe’s leading LGBTI organization. Contact Samuel in Harare or Teddy in Bulawayo.
Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action
Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action is a center for LGBTI culture and education based in Johannesburg. Its mission is to act as a catalyst for the production, preservation and dissemination of knowledge on the history, culture and contemporary experiences of LGBTI people in Africa. GALA’s archival collections can be viewed by appointment. Contact archivist Linda Chernis.
Gender DynamiX, based in Cape Town, South Africa, works toward the realization of all human rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people within and beyond the borders of South Africa. Contact Sivu Siwisa and Zachary Shimange.
Heinrich Böll Foundation
The Heinrich Böll Foundation’s office in Cape Town, South Africa, works to advance gender and sexual equality in that country, as well as Namibia and Zimbabwe. The foundation partners with key civil society actors and with public and religious thought leaders to challenge homophobic policies, legislations and attitudes. Contact Paula Assubuji, human rights program manager.
Inclusive and Affirming Ministries
Inclusive and Affirming Ministries is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and works as a catalyst for full inclusion of LGBTI people within mainstream churches in Southern Africa and for the celebration of diversity within religious contexts. IAM raises awareness of diversity regarding sexual orientation and faith interpretation, encouraging people to re-examine their beliefs and attitude toward homosexuality and engage in dialogue in affirming and inclusive ways. Contact IAM’s director, the Rev. Judith Kotzé.
The Inner Circle, based in Cape Town, South Africa, provides support to Muslims who are marginalized based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The organization strives to raise consciousness around gender and sexual diversity by engaging faith and beliefs and to encourage collaboration with queer members of the local, national and international Muslim community. Contact Imam Muhsin Hendricks.
Iranti-org is a queer human rights visual media organization based in Johannesburg. Iranti-org works within a human rights framework to build local partnerships and movements that use media as a platform for lobbying, advocacy and educational interventions across Africa. It aims to serve as an archive of queer memory in ways that destabilize numerous modes of discrimination based on gender, sexuality and sexual orientation. Contact Director Jabu Pereira.
Lambda Mozambique, also called LambdaMozi, works to ensure the economic, political and social rights of LGBT citizens in Mozambique. Contact on Facebook.
LeGaBiBo, which stands for Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana, is the most prominent LGBTI organization in Botswana. Contact Bradley.
Matrix Support Group
Matrix Support Group, based in Maseru, Lesotho, is a local LGBTI network that aims to build a society free from stigma, abuse, rejection and discrimination against people who identify as LGBTI.
Juliet Mphande is a human rights, media and peace activist in Zambia who started the LGBTI group Friends of Rainka. Contact via LinkedIn.
Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa is committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in Southern Africa. OSISA’s vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life. The organization is based in Johannesburg. Contact Ian Southey-Swartz, LGBTI program manager.
The Other Foundation is an African trust that advances equality and freedom in Southern Africa with a particular focus on sexual orientation and gender identity. It gathers support to defend and advance the human rights and social inclusion of LGBTI people and offers support to groups in ways that enable them to work effectively for lasting change, recognizing the particular dynamics of race, poverty, inequality, sex, national origin, heritage and politics in the region. Contact CEO Neville Gabriel.
Out-Right Namibia, based in Windhoek, Namibia, is an LGBTI, MSM (men who have sex with men), WSW (women who have sex with women) human rights organization that offers psychological counseling and support groups for survivors of gender-based violence, holds conferences and workshops and raises awareness of issues affecting the LGBTI community.
Positive Vibes, based in Windhoek, Namibia, works to ensure that LGBTI people are empowered to respond effectively to discrimination and health challenges.
Rights Not Rescue
Rights Not Rescue, based in Windhoek, Namibia, has outreach programs that target sex workers and LGBTI people. It offers counseling, lobbying, advocacy and home-based care. Contact “Mama Africa.”
Pharie Sefali is a journalist and activist based in Cape Town, South Africa, who has written about gay and lesbian sangomas or traditional healers.
The Rev. Phumzile Mabizela is executive director at the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+), a Johannesburg-based organization that works towards achieving a society free of HIV-related stigma and discrimination with empowered, resilient religious leaders. INERELA+ has 16 active country networks in Africa and partners in Asia, the Americas, Europe and Central Asia.
Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce
Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) is South Africa’s leading sex worker rights organization, working on advocacy, human rights defense and mobilization from its head office in Cape Town. SWEAT works closely with LGBTI rights groups across South Africa.
Sonke Gender Justice
Sonke Gender Justice works across Africa to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. It has offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Mpumalanga, South Africa. Sonke works closely with a range of organizations and individuals, including women’s rights gromps, social movements, trade unions, government departments, sports associations, faith-based organizations, media organizations, university research units and human rights advocates. Contact Patrick Godana.
Southern Africa Litigation Centre
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre’s LGBT and Sex Worker Rights Programme works to end discrimination and mistreatment faced by people who identify as such throughout Southern Africa. Contact Anneke Meerkotter.
The Triangle Project is a nonprofit human rights organization based in Cape Town, South Africa, that offers professional services to ensure the full realization of constitutional and human rights for LGBTI people, their partners and their families. Triangle Project offers sexual health clinics, counseling, support groups, a help line, public education and training services, community outreach and a library. Contact Sharon Ludwig or Matthew Clayton.
Tulinam is Inclusive and Affirming Ministries’ Namibian partner organization. Contact Madelene Isaacks or Lukas Mukongo.
Women’s Leadership Centre
The Women’s Leadership Centre in Windhoek, Namibia, promotes women’s writing and other forms of personal and creative expression as a form of resistance to discrimination and oppression embedded in patriarchal cultures and society, with the aim of developing indigenous feminist activism in Namibia. Contact Liz.
Martha MukaiwaMartha Mukaiwa is an art, entertainment, travel, and features writer and weekly columnist based in Windhoek, Namibia. Her personal essays on black identity, black travel and black womanhood have been published by Quartz, Matador Network, Africa is a Country, The Namibian, This is Africa, and the Mail & Guardian and have been shared by the Atlantic and BBC Travel. She occasionally considers art and trends for The Africa Report and currently serves on the jury for the Namibian Theatre and Film Awards as well as on the panel for Goethe Stage, which selects and awards grants to Namibia’s upcoming voices in the arts. She was a trainee at RNF’s 2016 workshop on covering religion and sexual/gender minorities in sub-Saharan Africa and a speaker at our September 2017 panels in Nashville, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Esther Adhiambo was until recently the executive director at Persons Marginalized and Aggrieved (PEMA), an LGBTI rights organization based in Mombasa, Kenya, that organizes outreach sessions and workshops with local faith leaders. Contact via Roselyn at UHAI-EASHRI.
African Centre for Media Excellence
The African Centre for Media Excellence is a Uganda-based organization that strives to improve professionalism in the media. The group has worked to improve reporting on LGBTI issues and religion in local media.
Centre for the Development of People
The Centre for the Development of People is an organization based in Malawi that works with media and religious leaders to defend the welfare of marginalized communities, including prisoners, sex workers and LGBTI people. Contact Gift Trapence.
Neela Ghoshal is a researcher at Human Rights Watch. She joined HRW’s LGBT Rights Division in 2012 after five years in the Africa Division, where she covered human rights issues in Burundi and Kenya, including political repression, police abuse, justice sector reform and transitional justice. As LGBT rights researcher, Ghoshal is currently conducting research on rights abuses affecting sexual and gender minorities and other marginalized groups in several African countries, including Tanzania and Cameroon.
East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative
The East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, UHAI-EASHRI, is an indigenous activist fund based in Nairobi, Kenya. It provides flexible, accessible resources to support civil society activism around issues of sexuality, health and human rights in the East African region (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) with a specific focus on the rights of sexual minorities. UHAI has an archive of LGBTI media clippings going back to 2008. Contact Wanja or Roselyn.
Ethiopia Gay Library
Ethiopia Gay Library aims to be a reference point for everything posted on the web about gay Ethiopians and gay life in Ethiopia.
Freedom & Roam Uganda
Freedom & Roam Uganda is a Ugandan organization that works to stop harassment and discrimination against LGBTI people.
Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya
The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya acts as an umbrella organization for six LGBTI groups in Kenya: Minority Women in Action, Ishtar MSM, Tea and Gay Kenya, PEMA Kenya and Afra Kenya. Its mission is to defend the interests and rights of LGBTI organizations and their members, including their health rights. Contact Jackson.
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum
The Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum is a nongovernmental organization based in Kampala, Uganda, whose mission is to promote respect and observance of human rights for marginalized groups, including LGBTI people.
Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda
The Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda works to enhance human rights by defending and building the capacities of journalists in Uganda from its office in Kampala. HRNJ researches, monitors and documents attacks and threats aimed at journalists, as well as abuses of press freedom in Uganda. The organization also offers legal support to journalists who need these services because of their work. Contact national coordinator Robert.
Icebreakers Uganda is a nonprofit support organization for LGBT people in Uganda. The group focuses on sexual health, sexual health rights advocacy, community mobilization and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention for all LGBT people.
Afdhere Jama is an American writer and filmmaker of Somali origin. He wrote the book Being Queer and Somali: LGBT Somalis at Home and Abroad.
Kuchu Times is a media organization based in Kampala, Uganda, that aims to provide a voice for Africa’s LGBTI community.
In 2013, David Kuria became Kenya’s first openly gay politician to seek office. He writes regularly about LGBTI issues and heads the Kuria Foundation for Social Enterprise, which aims to enhance social inclusion by contributing technical and financial resources to socially excluded individuals and groups.
LGBTI Sey works to provide an open, safe, inclusive space and community committed to challenging sexism, genderism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexism in the Seychelles.
LGBT Voice is an LGBT rights organization working to advance equality, diversity, education and justice in Tanzania. Contact via the website.
Geofrey Mashala is the founder of AMKA Empowerment Organization, a community-based group in Tanzania that works on human rights, empowerment and health issues of LGBTIQ people.
Gift Nankhuni directs the Malawi-based Lawyers Forum for Human Rights.
National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is a Kenyan organization that provides legal aid to advance equality and inclusion of LGBTIQ people. Contact Eric.
None on Record
None on Record is a media organization based in Nairobi, Kenya, that collects the stories of LGBTI Africans and produces media content on LGBTI rights. In 2015, the organization trained East African journalists how to better report on LGBTI issues. Contact Selly Thiam.
Selly Thiam is a journalist and oral historian whose work has appeared on NPR and PBS and in The New York Times. She was a producer for the StoryCorps Oral History Project and PBS’ Learning Matters and was a Carnegie Fellow at the ABC News Investigative Unit. She is the founder and executive director of None on Record, an African LGBT digital media organization.
Christopher Senyonjo is a retired Anglican bishop in the Church of Uganda who founded St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre to reconcile tension among straight and LGBTI people. He has become one of the leading LGBTI voices as a straight ally for LGBTI people in Uganda and the world.
Sexual Minorities Uganda
Sexual Minorities Uganda is an umbrella nongovernmental organization based in Kampala, Uganda, that advocates for the protection and promotion of human rights of LGBT Ugandans. Contact Frank.
Spectrum Uganda, based in Kampala, offers support to promote a healthy and empowered community of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Uganda.
Ambrose Barigye is a Uganda-based journalist, fixer, translator, and human rights activist. He works as field director and reporter for Kuchu Times Media Group, a Ugandan news platform that focuses on LGBTI issues and publishes the annual Bombastic Magazine. He is a certified community peer educator on gender and sexual minority health issues. Before joining Kuchu Times, he served as administrative officer for Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, an organization that provides health services and advocates for the rights of men who have sex with men. He was a trainee at RNF’s 2016 workshop on covering religion and sexual/gender minorities in sub-Saharan Africa and a speaker at our September 2017 panels in Nashville, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Uganda Media Women’s Association
The Uganda Media Women’s Association is a human rights advocacy and service delivery NGO that helps Ugandan women make informed decisions by providing them access to information on rights. It also fights for the rights of women working in media and counters negative portrayals of women in local media.
Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre
The Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre, based in Lagos, Nigeria, aims to promote more informed and affirming public dialogue on human sexuality and to contribute to positive changes in the emerging field of sexuality in Africa, by creating mechanisms for learning at the regional level.
Bianca Juhl Andersen
Bianca Juhl Andersen is a United Nations program analyst on human rights and gender. She is based in Accra, Ghana.
Article 19 Dakar
Article 19 is a British human rights organization that focuses on the defense and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information. Article 19 has an office in Dakar, Senegal. Contact Fatou.
Benin Synergies Plus
Benin Synergies Plus is an organization based in Cotonou, Benin, that advocates for the rights of key populations that have the highest risk of contracting and transmitting HIV, including female sex workers and men who have sex with men (MSM).
Bisi Alimi Foundation
The Bisi Alimi Foundation promotes and advocates for equal opportunity and social inclusion of LGBT people in Nigeria.
Wana Udobang is a Nigeria-based journalist and filmmaker who works at the intersection of women’s rights, social justice, personal narratives, culture, and the arts. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, Nigeria’s Inspiration FM 92.3, Al Jazeera, the Guardian (U.K.), the Guardian (Nigeria), Index on Censorship, and Brittle Paper. She is a recipient of the International Reporting Project (IRP) International Journalism Fellowship and the Gabriel García Márquez Fellowship in Cultural Journalism. She was a trainee at RNF’s 2016 workshop on covering religion and sexual/gender minorities in sub-Saharan Africa and a speaker at our September 2017 panels in Nashville, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Charlotte Campo is associate human rights officer at the West Africa regional office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Dakar, Senegal.
Oumar Zié Coulibaly
Oumar Zié Coulibaly is vice president at REPMASCI (Réseau des Professionnels des medias, des Arts et des Sports pour la lutte contre le sida et les autres pandémies en Côte d’Ivoire), which helps fight the stigmatization of LGBTI people. He is a journalist at the newspaper Notre Voie in Côte d’Ivoire and helped run a regional project called Voices and Ways Against Homophobia.
Human Rights Advocacy Centre
The Human Rights Advocacy Centre is a not-for-profit, independent, nonpartisan research and advocacy organization set up to advance and protect human rights in Ghana. Contact George Owoo.
Initiative for Equal Rights
The Initiative for Equal Rights is a nongovernmental organization based in Lagos, Nigeria, that works to protect and promote the human rights of sexual minorities nationally and regionally.
Liberian Women Empowerment Network
The Liberian Women Empowerment Network focuses on women and girls living with and-or affected by HIV/AIDS in Liberia. The network also works with local LGBTI groups.
NoStringsNg.com is a Nigerian advocacy media platform for LGBTIQ news and information. Its aim is to debunk negative stereotypes in mainstream media against the Nigerian LGBTIQ community. Contact Mike (pseudonym).
Panos Institute West Africa
The Panos Institute West Africa, based in Dakar, Senegal, works to democratize communication and strengthen public spaces for open African societies.
Queer Alliance Nigeria
Queer Alliance Nigeria is a human rights, health advocacy and support group for the LGBTI community in Nigeria. Its mission is to create an enabling environment for the respect and recognition of the fundamental human rights of LGBTIQ Nigerians through advocacy, education, research and publications. Contact Rashidi Williams.
Senegal Tomorrow/Association Prudence
Senegal Tomorrow is a legal defense fund that seeks to assist those who face discrimination on the basis of race or ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation. Contact Nick Diamond or Djamil Bangoura.
Solace Brothers Foundation
Solace Brothers Foundation, an organization based in Accra, Ghana, trains paralegals to defend the rights of LGBT people in the country. Contact via Facebook message.
Felicity Thompson works on LGBTI rights in Western Africa for Human Rights Watch.
Dr. Cheikh Eteka Traore, based in Abuja, Nigeria, works at the intersection of public health and human rights. He has trained journalists how to better report on LGBTI rights.
Alternatives Cameroun, based in Doulala, Cameroon, works on sexual minority rights in the country. Contact Yves.
Associação Íris Angola
Associação Íris Angola is an LGBTI rights group based in Luanda, Angola.
Central African Republic League of Human Rights
Ligue Centrafricaine des Droits de l’Homme, or the Central African Republic League of Human Rights, advances human rights in the country. The organization is based in the capital, Bangui.
La Voix des Sans-Voix
La Voix des Sans-Voix, which translates into English as “The Voice of the Voiceless,” is a human rights group based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko
Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko, based in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, facilitates education, coordination and outreach to those who identify as LGBTI and networks with other organizations to build respect for LGBTI rights in the region.
Pan-African and international sources
African Gender Institute
The African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town is a teaching, learning and research institute that focuses on issues of gender and development on the African continent. The institute has delivered innovative integrated outcomes on gender justice, sexuality and human rights, peace and conflict studies and capacity building in relation to gender and women’s studies knowledges. Contact Jane Bennett.
Alturi is an online hub for news, stories, and advocacy that aims to educate and engage individual supporters who want to help improve the lives of LGBTI people worldwide. Contact Steve Roth.
American Jewish World Service
American Jewish World Service is an international development and human rights organization headquartered in New York City. AJWS supports women, girls and LGBT people as they organize to end discrimination, stop violence and live with dignity, safety and health. Contact Javid Syed on the sexual health and rights team.
The Arcus Foundation is a charitable foundation focused on issues related to LGBT rights, social justice and conservation. Contact Social Justice Program Vice President Jason McGill or Global Religions Program Director Randall Miller.
ARC International, based in Geneva, Switzerland, advances LGBT rights and facilitates strategic planning around LGBT issues internationally, strengthening global networks and enhancing access to United Nations mechanisms. The organization has played a key role in the development of the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of International Human Rights Law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. Contact Kim Vance or Arvind Narrain.
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice works exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. The foundation supports grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally and works for racial, economic, social and gender justice so everyone can live freely, without fear and with dignity. Contact the director of programs, Sarah Gunther.
Joel Bedos is executive director at the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. The annual day is observed on May 17 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.
Church World Service
Church World Service works to create a safe space for LGBTI people, providing both resettlement for LGBTI refugees and protection to those still facing the fear of persecution. The organization currently works with LGBTI communities in both Africa and the United States in order to safeguard the human rights of all persecuted people and provide services that address the needs of the LGBTI community, engaging faith communities to achieve impact. Contact Marie Ramtu in Nairobi.
Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries aims to support religious teachers and laity in moving toward a theology of radical inclusivity led by an equally radical social ministry, reaching to the furthest margins of society to serve all in need without prejudice or discrimination. Contact Bishop Joseph Tolton.
Fund for Global Human Rights
The Fund for Global Human Rights has made recent grants to groups working on LGBTI rights in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Contact John Kabia at [email protected] and Tony Tate at [email protected].
Shawn M. Gaylord
Shawn M. Gaylord leads Human Rights First’s initiative to combat violence against LGBTI people globally.
The Gill Foundation is one of the United States’ leading funders of efforts to secure full equality for LGBT people. Contact Sara Santos at [email protected].
Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression
The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, based in South Africa, aims to promote interfaith dialogue and to strengthen LGBTI voices within religious institutions and structures. The network provides resources, training and collective programs to help individuals and organizations engage in meaningful, constructive dialogue with religious leaders and to advocate at the regional and international level for dignity and rights.
Michael Heflin is director of equality for the Open Society Human Rights Initiative, which promotes justice, equality and participation of all, including LGBTI individuals and communities.
Fabrice Houdart is human rights officer at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights New York who works on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. His team leads the United Nations’ Free & Equal campaign to promote global LGBTI rights.
House of Rainbow
The House of Rainbow Fellowship is an inclusive, welcoming and affirming religious community to all people, including sexual minorities and marginalized people, based in the U.K. It was founded in London by the Rev. Rowland Jide Macaulay, an openly gay African theologian.
Human Dignity Trust
The Human Dignity Trust is a legal charity based in London that supports those who want to challenge anti-gay laws wherever they exist in the world. The trust supports local activists and their lawyers to uphold international human rights law, including a person’s right to dignity, equality and privacy. Contact former Executive Director Jonathan Cooper.
Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa
The Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa, based in Johannesburg, is a Pan-African and feminist-led initiative that aims to contribute to the development of jurisprudence on sexual rights and women’s human rights on the continent by providing expertise on strategic litigation.
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is a worldwide federation of 1,200 member organizations from 125 countries that campaign for LGBTI rights. Contact Andre du Plessis or Daniele Paletta.
The Kaleidoscope Trust, based in London, works to uphold the human rights of LGBT people in the Commonwealth and beyond where individuals are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
John Marnell is the publishing and communications officer at Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action in Johannesburg and is often based in Melbourne, Australia. He has trained journalists from across sub-Saharan Africa on how to better report on LGBTI issues.
Mindy Michels manages Freedom House’s Dignity for All LGBTI Assistance Program from Washington, D.C. Dignity for All provides emergency assistance; security, opportunity and advocacy rapid response grants (SOAR grants); and security assessment and training to human rights defenders and civil society organizations under threat or attack due to their work for LGBTI human rights.
Tiffany Mugo is the co-founder and curator of HOLA Africa, a Pan-Africanist online hub that aims to share the stories of Africa’s queer female community and increase the digital visibility of queer African women.
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association is a U.S.-based network for LGBT media professionals and allies dedicated to the highest journalistic standards in the coverage of LGBT issues. Contact executive director Adam Pawlus or program director Bach Polakowski.
OutRight Action International
OutRight Action International (formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission) is a U.S.-based international nongovernmental organization that addresses human rights violations against LGBTI people. It has an office in Johannesburg that works on sub-Saharan LGBTI rights. Contact the New York headquarters.
Pan Africa ILGA
Pan Africa ILGA is a federation of organizations in Africa that work to improve human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity expression. It is based in Johannesburg.
Brian Pellot is director of global strategy at Religion News Foundation and Religion News Service. He organized and implemented the November 2016 workshop in Cape Town and wrote this guide, its corresponding curriculum, and the forthcoming reporting guide on religion and sexual/gender minorities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Graeme Reid is director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch in New York City. Reid, who is originally from South Africa, has conducted research and has taught and published extensively on gender, sexuality, LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS.
Colin Stewart runs the Erasing 76 Crimes blog, which focuses on the human toll of more than 70 countries’ anti-LGBTI laws and local struggles to repeal them.