Asia & Oceania: Building Solidarity

LGBT pride parade
Courtesy Ardhanary Institute
In March 2010, religious fundamentalists disrupted the fourth regional conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association (ILGA) Asia in Surabaya, Indonesia. They threatened the conference organizers, including our advisors on the ILGA Board. Participants from 100 organizations across Asia returned home shaken, while those within Indonesia feared for their safety.

“We all have the right to live as we are, and to love who we love.” — GFW grantee ILGA

The experience confirmed the entrenched discrimination still faced by sexual minorities in the region. Lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals and communities face hostile environments across Asia and Oceania, and in some parts of the region, homosexuality continues to be a crime.

“This incident has not weakened our movement but has only made us stronger,” ILGA Asia reports. “For we know our work is important and what we do changes the lives of so many people around Asia and the world. Our work is not over until all people can live in a world that accepts us for who we are.”

In May, two months after the attacks in Surabaya, we brought together the broader women's movement to strengthen sexuality rights within Indonesia. Working with grantee partner Institute Pelangi Perempuan, along with Just Associates South East Asia, we convened representatives of 25 women's groups from across Indonesia, including many grantees. With one LBTI and feminist group from each province, groups embarked on a long-term process of collaboration, joint strategizing, and mutual support that began in the room. We witnessed the true strength of social justice movements –especially in the face of fear and violence—through fostering deep alliances and broad solidarity for a more feminist future.

Next in the Annual Report: Europe & The Commonwealth of Independent States: Breaking Out of the Margins »

 
 

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