Stonewall's international LGBT rights work
Log in
What you can do
World map with pins stuck in

International work

Campaigning for global LGBT equality

What's the situation for LGBT people worldwide?

Although there has undoubtedly been progress in the last century for LGBT people worldwide, there remains a divergence in rights globally. Some countries are becoming increasingly tolerant, others are becoming more repressive.

Positive progress since 1990:

  • Over 40 have outlawed homophobic hate crimes
  • As of October 2017, 24 countries recognise same-sex marriage


  • 72 countries criminalise same-sex relationships (and in 45 the law is applied to women as well as men)
  • The death penalty is either ‘allowed’, or evidence of its existence occurs, in 8 countries
  • In more than half the world, LGBT people may not be protected from discrimination by workplace law
  • Most governments deny trans people the right to legally change their name and gender from those that were assigned to them at birth

What forms does discrimination take?

  • LGBT people around the world are subject to physical and sexual violence by both state and non-state actors
  • They are discriminated against in education, health and social care and employment
  • Many LGBT people are rejected by family and from other forms of social assistance
  • Over a quarter of the world’s population (29%) believes that people in same-sex relationships should be charged as criminals
  • A quarter of the world’s population believes that trans people should not be granted full legal recognition of their gender identity

Out of the Margins - A Global LBT+ Rights Project

All around the world lesbians, bi women and trans people (LBT+ communities) continue to be excluded by international movements and processes that should serve them. Out of the Margins aims to strengthen international advocacy on LBT+ rights.

Find out more

LGBT organisations worldwide

The number of and capacity of LGBT organisations working to promote equality has grown in recent years, but these groups are increasingly under attack and are particularly vulnerable within the broader context of shrinking civil society space.

LGBT human rights campaigners often risk arrest, violence and discrimination.

At Stonewall, we realise the importance of acknowledging shared challenges for LGBT communities across the world alongside the unique issues faced by certain countries, and working together to learn and share from each other's experiences.


ILGA World (2019) - State Sponsored Homophobia Report

ILGA World (2017) - Sexual Orientation Laws

ILGA World (2017) - Trans Legal Mapping Report

ILGA World and RIWI (2017) - Global Attitudes Survey on Sexual, Gender and Sex Minorities

Where we're at

Download our report to find out more about Stonewall's international work so far.

Acceptance without exception worldwide (2016)

Read our blogs

Hear from Stonewall staff on the situation for LGBT people worldwide

What we do

  • We know change works best when led by people on the ground in different countries - that's why we value partnerships with local organisations
  • They’re in the best position to explain what’s happening, decide what should happen next, and drive change forward
  • Our work is about supporting and equipping people to make the changes they believe in, and helping get their voices heard
  • We also work with the International Development sector to ensure LGBT people are not left behind when programmes are designed and delivered


 We train LGBT human rights defenders to campaign for change in their countries


We campaign to raise awareness in the UK about the situation for LGBT people around the world, and on how best to support them


We advocate for the UK Government, the United Nations, the World Bank and other major institutions to consistently defend LGBT human rights worldwide


Resources range from country briefings to advocacy guides to 'Some People Are Gay...' prints in 17 languages.

Get involved

We’re investing in LGBT human rights defence abroad, and we need your help to do it. There are lots of different ways you can get involved in our work, including:

Further resources

You can find out more about our work and the situation for LGBT people in different countries on our resources page.

Some other useful resources include:

  • ILGA-Europe and ILGA-World provide comprehensive maps and reports on LGBT laws worldwide.
  • TGEU provides more detailed maps and reports on the legal situation for trans people around the world, including transphobic hate crimes.
  • The United Nation’s 'Free & Equal Campaign’ is the first UN public campaign to address LGBT rights issues.
  • IGLHRC and Arc International are great places to go for information on advocating for LGBT human rights issues at the UN.
  • The Institute of Development Studies has this useful tool-kit on sexual rights and social justice around the world.
  • Funders for LGBTQ Issues is a good resource for international LGBT organisations seeking funding.

Didn't find what you need? Drop us a line at