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Open Briefing supports the 2019 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

by Chris Abbott

LGBTI flags
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) as an opportunity to raise awareness of the human rights of LGBTI people and celebrate our diversity. This year’s IDAHOT on 17 May is focussed on justice and protection for all.

There has been a closing of civic space and a proliferation of intolerance and hate speech globally. This regression of human rights is not limited to LGBTI people, but they experience it disproportionately. Around the world, homophobia and transphobia are embedded in cultures, their institutions and legal systems. Equal human rights for LBGTI people and the social movements that are fighting to secure those rights are under threat.

There are, unfortunately, considerable barriers to organisations accessing effective and appropriate professional support to address these challenges. Beyond the simple financial barrier, which is often significant, in many countries there are few if any appropriate professionals that LGBTI civil society organisations and activists can turn to for safety and security support. Many of the consultants and trainers who are available are ex-military or former intelligence officers with close links to the very governments and corporations that may be targeting the organisation or activist in question. Many do not understand or are insensitive to the particular threats that LGBTI individuals face.

Open Briefing is the only organisation working worldwide to provide professional and appropriate physical, digital and wellbeing support to LGBTI activists and other human rights defenders. In fact, Open Briefing is striving to be an active LGBTI ally. Over the last 18 months, this support has included:

South Asia: Completing a security risk assessment for a high-profile LGBTI activist involved in strategic litigation against their government.

Southern Africa: Completing security risk assessments for two high-profile LGBTI activists, providing ‘holistic security’ training to LGBTI activists and lawyers, and running security risk management training for LGBTI civil society organisations.

 Sub-Saharan Africa: Running a scenario planning workshop for a coalition of LGBTI civil society organisations and producing a security handbook for local LGBTI activists.

Europe: Providing security risk management training, information security training, and digital security incident response for an LGBTI civil society organisation.

We are seeking funding to build on this strong foundation. We plan to do this through:

    1. Supporting beneficiaries with limited budgets, particularly those in the global south, through subsidised or pro bono training and mentoring in order to contribute to the resilience of LGBTI civil society organisations and activists.
    2. Developing trainings, handbooks, toolkits and other innovative resources and initiatives in order to spread good security practice throughout the international LGBTI community.

In addition, as part of our organisational development over the next 12 months, we are pursuing a number of internal initiatives designed to make us an even more effective LGBTI ally, including:

    1. Reviewing our internal policies and procedures to ensure that they are LGBTI friendly and developing them to be more inclusive where weaknesses are identified, including drafting a new equality and diversity policy.
    2. Providing staff training and awareness raising initiatives, including our senior management team participating in the Allies programme run by Stonewall.
    3. Actively encouraging applications from LGBTI individuals to join our staff team and advisory board, including by expanding the outlets and services that we use to advertise vacancies.

This is our contribution to justice and protection for all.

Please consider making a donation to support our work if you are able to do so.