• Sexual Rights and Diversity

    Free to be me

    Sexual rights and diversity ensures that people have control over their own bodies, their sexual identity and their relationships. Respecting these rights is vital to achieving true equality. People should never be discriminated against or excluded.

    Our context

    Having control over your own body, your sexual identity and your relationships is key to well-being and the fulfillment of your human rights. Even in today’s world, however, millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are unable to openly love whom they love, or to freely express who they are.

    Growing conservatism, fueled by anti-rights movements, is denying them these very fundamental rights. They are victims of hate speech and violence simply because of their sex or sexual identity, and they lack essential information and support services.

    Even though civil society organizations that fight this situation are growing in number and diversity, they often stand alone in their struggle and face attacks by conservative forces.

    Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are unable to openly love whom they love, or to freely express who they are.

    Our aim

    Hivos strives for a world where everyone, independent of their sexual orientation and gender identity, has control over their own bodies, their sexual identities and their relationships. We therefore aim for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, people living with HIV, and sex workers to make use of newly acquired skills, capacities and relevant support structures to actually claim their rights. The flip side of the coin is that we want the societies in the countries where we work to recognize and accept all sexual orientations and gender identities.

    Our approach

    Our three-step approach includes vital support for bold and innovative initiatives by people who dare to stand up for human rights and challenge the heterosexual norm. We also put great effort into building movements of sometimes unusual allies – such as religious groups, companies, doctors and journalists – who jointly oppose sexual discrimination and fight for the socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable groups. In addition, we actively lobby governments to respect and defend the sexual and reproductive rights of all their citizens.

    Our contribution

    This thematic area contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).

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