LGBTQIA+ individuals residing in countries with a hostile environment towards queer identities face the daunting decision to escape due to severe human rights infringements, persecution from their families, communities, and government, as well as the risk of torture and even execution solely based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and/or sex characteristics.
They have the option to reach out to international human rights organisations as well as LGBTQIA+ support networks, both within and outside their country of origin. These organisations and networks provide vital assistance and resources to LGBTQIA+ individuals facing danger, including state-sponsored violence or discrimination, and offer guidance on navigating legal, social, and emotional challenges.
By contacting these international human rights organisations and LGBTQIA+ support networks, individuals can access valuable support, advice, and potentially explore avenues for relocation or asylum in safer countries. It is important for LGBTQIA+ individuals in danger to know that they are not alone and that there are dedicated networks and organisations ready to assist them in their pursuit of freedom, equality, and a life free from persecution.
Human Right Organisations
There are several organisations dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights and can play a crucial role in assisting LGBTQIA+ freedom-seekers who are in danger in their home country by advocacy and legal support, documentation and deporting, emergency assistance and shelter, relevant referrals and network building (having extensive networks and partnerships with other NGOs, legal experts, and support groups) and awareness and education about LGBTQIA+ rights, combat stereotypes and discrimination, and promote inclusivity and acceptance as educational programs, training sessions, and awareness campaigns to foster understanding and respect for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Here are some examples:
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN agency that provides assistance and protection to refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless individuals. Its mandate includes facilitating voluntary repatriation, local integration, or resettlement to a third country.
Local organisations/associations that are active in the field of LGBTQIA+ issues in your country. Keep in mind that in some countries, these organisations may be banned, resulting in them being based abroad (expat/diaspora organisations) or active online, such as on Facebook. You can use a search engine to find these organisations or can refer to the “Activism” section of our World Facts resource on the AIR Platform. By choosing your specific geographic region, you can find relevant and localised information about organisations and initiatives dedicated to supporting and advocating for the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. This allows you to access specific details and resources within your country, enabling you to connect with local networks that can provide valuable support, guidance, and a sense of community.
Helplines and hotlines within the country of origin can be valuable resources for individuals who are experiencing trauma, violence, harassment, and discrimination. They provide a means of seeking confidential support and assistance. One useful website is Find a Helpline, which offers confidential support through phone, text, or webchat. By selecting your country, you can access information about helplines available to you in your specific location. While these helplines may not be specifically LGBTQIA+ specialised, they can still provide help and support to individuals in need.
b) International Organisations
Rainbow Railroad: is a volunteer-based organisation that assists at-risk LGBTQIA+ individuals facing violence and oppression simply because of who they love or who they are. The organisation is helping them get to safety from the countries around the world. Contacting them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org is a good starting point, where you can verify your case by providing necessary documents and work on developing routes to safety.
Important Note: Rainbow Railroad has limited resources, and travel may involve legal and political complexities. They cannot provide immigration advice, issue visas, expedite visa processing, or apply for visas on your behalf. They may be able to offer funding for travel.
Dignity for all: aims to provide timely and crucial support to those facing threats or attacks, ensuring the safety and well-being of human rights defenders and civil society organisations working for LGBTQIA+ rights. Since 2012, Dignity for All has been providing rapid response financial assistance grants to human rights defenders and civil society organisations in 97 countries and territories. Through their LGBTQIA+ Assistance Program, which is a consortium of six leading human rights and LGBTQIA+ organisations, they offer emergency assistance, advocacy funding, and security support to individuals and organisations facing threats or attacks due to their work for LGBTQIA+ rights. To qualify for emergency assistance, applicants must be under attack specifically because of their work for LGBTQIA+ people or communities. Those seeking emergency assistance can send their application inquiries to email@example.com, providing detailed information about the situation and the reasons why emergency assistance is required. The emergency assistance applications can be submitted in various languages, including English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian, Kiswahili, Turkish, Farsi, and Spanish.
OutRight Action International: It works to advance the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people worldwide. They advocate for policy change, conduct research, and provide support to local LGBTQIA+ organisations and activists. They have global programs supports innovative advocacy and use their collective might to carry the voices of activists to advance equality and help end discrimination such as LBQ Connect is a global feminist program aiming at boosting the work and visibility of lesbian, bisexual, and queer activism around the world.
All Out: is a global movement for LGBTQIA+ equality. They mobilise people globally to act on LGBTQIA+ rights issues, support grassroots initiatives, and work towards a world where everyone can live freely and authentically.
Global Rights: is an international organisation that works to promote and protect the rights of marginalised communities, including LGBTQIA+ individuals and have office in Nigeria and Burundi, from where the organisation continues to work with local activists in Africa to promote and protect the rights of marginalised populations.
Online International LGBTQIA+ Advisory Platforms
If you are looking for online advisory and/or emotional support, it can be a safer option, especially if you live in a highly homophobic country. There are several online international LGBTQIA+ advisory platforms that provide support, guidance, and resources for individuals within the LGBTQIA+ communities. These platforms offer a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ individuals to connect, seek advice, and share experiences.
Empty Closets is an online platform where LGBTQIA+ individuals can connect with others facing similar experiences. It provides a virtual space for discussion and support on various sexuality-related issues. The forum has knowledgeable advisors who can offer guidance tailored to your individual situation.
TrevorSpace: A social networking site for LGBTQIA+ youth aged 13 to 24, providing a supportive community and resources for mental health.
It Gets Better Project: Provides online support, stories, and resources to empower and uplift LGBTQIA+ youth, promoting resilience and acceptance. The Project’s mission is to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQIA+ youth around the globe.
These platforms provide avenues for LGBTQIA+ individuals to connect, access support, and find valuable resources, regardless of their geographical location. It's important to explore these platforms and find the one that best suits your needs.