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LGBTI Rights

    July 15, 2021
    After Two Years of ICE Detention, Maura, a Transgender Woman from Nicaragua Regains Her Freedom

    After a campaign to free Maura, a 41-year-old transgender woman originally from Nicaragua, generated thousands of emails — including at least 3,000 Urgent Actions from Canada — to the ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) San Diego Field Office, the agency has finally released her. Maura was detained for over 800 days in a facility accused of medical neglect and failing to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. 

    Following her release, Maura said:

    I am so, so happy. I still can’t believe it. I thought I wasn’t going to get out of that place, I thought I wasn’t going to get out of that hell. It was very difficult, very traumatic, very horrible. I thought I was alone in this world. I thought it wasn’t worth it to keep fighting. And then I realized that there were people around the world, who I didn’t even know, very good people who have been very supportive. They supported me by sending me letters, they gave me moral support. I am very happy for all that, very grateful.

    June 26, 2021

    Learn more and take action in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S) rights while practicing social distancing.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted LGBTI people. People have been forced into lockdown with homophobic and transphobic family members. Some governments have used the pandemic as an excuse to crackdown on a whole range of human rights, including LGBTI rights. LGBTI human rights defenders are at a heightened risk of persecution. Connecting in person with chosen family, communities of care, and other supports has often been impossible. And now, the pandemic is forcing Pride activities online for the second straight year. The need for virtual communities of care and solidarity, and global activism in support of LGBTI rights has never been greater! Join us during Pride season to take action in support of LGBTI rights!

    November 20, 2020

    By Nadia Rahman, Researcher and Policy Advisor in Amnesty's global Gender, Sexuality and Identity Team

    “COVID-19 may be a new killer - but hate has been killing us for decades.”

    This is what Joey Mataele, a trans activist from Tonga, told Amnesty when we asked about the pandemic’s impact on trans people in the Pacific Islands.

    July 24, 2020

    By Daniella Barreto


    Pride is a celebration of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. Every year these communities host events to centre identities that are often pushed to the margins of society by creating spaces by and for themselves.

    Usually, there are events around the world from large public parades and parties to smaller community gatherings. COVID-19 has forced many Pride organizers to cancel this year’s in-person events and look to alternative ways of celebrating. Regardless of its form, what remains at the foundation of the Pride movement is protest and a fight for human rights.

    June 29, 2020

    Here’s how you can learn more and take action in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and two-spirit rights while practicing social distancing.

    Check out what’s happening in your community

    With public events being cancelled around the world, most Pride organizing committees are cancelling in-person activities, but many are taking the protest for equality and LGBTQ2S liberation online!

    Join Amnesty International in marking Pride 2020 by attending an online protest or organizing a watch party or your own online protest for your community. Find or register an event in your community >>> 

    Check out the website or Facebook page for your local Pride organizing committee to see if they are moving any of their activities online.

    June 26, 2020

    Nadia Rahman, Researcher and Policy Advisor in Amnesty International’s Gender, Sexuality and Identity Team

    “You held my hand. Promised me a revolution. How did you forget me? How?” These lyrics by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila echoed at a Cairo concert on a September evening in 2017. They are perhaps more devastatingly relevant today than they were three years ago. 

    Sarah Hegazy, a queer feminist in the audience, probably felt a fleeting sense of freedom while watching a popular Arab band with an openly gay frontman sing to a packed audience in a conservative country, and she dared to raise the rainbow flag. Those brief moments of hope where she decided to unapologetically celebrate who she was, changed her life. And three years later, snatched it away too.  

    "To my siblings - I tried to find redemption and failed, forgive me. To my friends - the experience [journey] was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me. To the world - you were cruel, to a great extent, but I forgive."

    June 24, 2020

    A human rights response to COVID-19 must include an intersectional approach which recognizes the specific impacts of the pandemic on LGBTI people, and the need for specific actions to ensure that the pandemic response doesn't lead to discrimination and further inequalities.

    Everyone is impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. But we aren’t all impacted in the same ways or to the same extent. Multiple and intersecting identities including gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, disability, age, family status, employment status, and immigration status, all shape how a person experiences the pandemic.

    LGBTI people face significant discrimination which leads to barriers to accessing healthcare services; high rates of homelessness, poverty, and social isolation; and high rates of harassment and violence. The pandemic has further exacerbated these inequalities.

    September 17, 2019

    Alejandra Barrera, a transgender Salvadorian activist who had been held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention since November 2017, was released September 6, 2019, as a result of international advocacy efforts, spearheaded by Amnesty International, the Translatin@ Coalition, National Immigrant Justice Center, and dozens of members of the United States Congress.

    June 26, 2019
    Drawing of the Human rights defenders who lead the Stonewall Riots in 1969

    Fifty years ago, nine New York police officers stormed the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street and began aggressively searching the bar’s patrons. They demanded identification and arrested anyone they suspected of being gay or dressed in a way that didn’t conform to mainstream society’s narrow understanding of gender.

    The events that followed would spark the modern LGBTI rights movement, inspiring the first LGBTI Pride parade down Christopher Street.  

    In 1969, it was still illegal to be gay in most parts of the US. For many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, nights out at places like the Stonewall Inn were the only times where they could openly be themselves. The venue was known for its celebration of inclusion and also became a safe space for sex workers and the homeless.

    In the early hours of 28 June 1969, as police started harassing everyone in the bar and dragging them into the backs of squad cars, the Stonewall patrons didn’t just protest a police raid on a bar: They were protecting their home.


    How did the Stonewall Riots start?

    January 29, 2019

    By Natalia Prilutskaya, Russia Researcher at Amnesty International

    For the second time in less than two years, a violent homophobic crackdown has left LGBTI people in Chechnya fearing for their lives. Earlier this week the Russian LGBT Network confirmed reports that the Chechen authorities have resumed large-scale arrests of individuals believed to be gay or lesbian, imprisoning and torturing them. 

    According to the organization’s protected sources, around 40 people have been arrested since December and at least two people have died under torture. Police have also reportedly demanded that families of gay and lesbian people commit “honor” killings against their relatives and provide evidence of their murders. 

    October 26, 2018
    Myth 1: Everybody is either born male or female

    People often assume that the world is divided neatly into two groups of people, male and female, and that everyone’s biological and genetic characteristics fit into one of these two categories.

    But this is not always the case. There are millions of people around the world who have sexual characteristics that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Many, though not all, of these people identify as intersex.

    Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural variations that affect genitals, gonads, hormones, chromosomes or reproductive organs. Sometimes these characteristics are visible at birth, sometimes they appear at puberty, and sometimes they are not physically apparent at all.

    Myth 2: Being intersex is very rare

    According to experts, around 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits - comparable to the number of people born with red hair.

    June 18, 2018

    By Monica Benício


    This op-ed was written by Monica Benício, the widow of Marielle Franco, a courageous women human rights defender who was murdered in Brazil in March 2018. It was originally published in Portuguese in O Globo on June 12th, to mark Brazilian Valentine's Day.


    May 17, 2018

    May 17 is the International Day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Here are 5 brilliant lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex activists (LGBTI) who are making waves while taking a stand for their rights.

    Mark IDAHOT by taking action with Amnesty! Join us in calling for Pride activities to be permitted in Ankara, Turkey, and join us in calling for justice for transgender people who were publicly tortured in Indonesia. Take action with Amnesty throughout Pride season.

    April 23, 2018

    Whether you identify as LGBTI or as an ally, you can help bring Amnesty’s human rights message to a Pride festival near you this Summer. Pride is an excellent opportunity to show your solidarity with LGBTI communities in Canada and around the world, and take action towards creating a world where people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live in dignity and safety.

    Here are just a few ways to get involved in Pride activities in your community this Summer.


    Reach out to other Amnesty supporters in your community and organize a Pride marching contingent. Contact Amnesty’s LGBTI coordinators for information on swag to distribute, resources to use, and support in registering to march. To have maximum impact, try to have at least 5 people march with you.

    April 23, 2018

    In the midst of a global crackdown on LGBTI rights, your action is needed more than ever this Pride season to help ensure the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Canada and around the world are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

    Pride festivals are held in communities large and small across Canada from May through September, and Pride season unofficially starts on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The Pride movement traces its origins to a riot at New York City’s Stonewall Inn in response to years of police harassment, raids, and violence against members of the LGBTI community. Pride remains a call to action to ensure that LGBTI people can live free from violence and discrimination.

    Take action with Amnesty at Pride festivals across Canada this summer.