Since 2011, LGBT+ Denmark has been working for equal rights internationally with projects in several countries in the global south. For LGBT+ Denmark, collaboration, sustainability and solidarity are essential in the global fight for LGBTIQ+ rights – and it must come first and foremost from the local actors.
That’s why we work to empower and support local LGBTIQ+ organizations and communities in their fight against discrimination and violence.
With our international program, LGBT+ Denmark aims to work towards diverse and inclusive communities where LGBT+ people can participate to their full potential.
This means equality for all regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and gender characteristics; equal protection in the law as well as public services that are both adequate and accessible to LGBTIQ+ people.
Central to LGBT+ Denmark’s work towards our goals is solidarity with local people, organisations, movements and processes. This means that we start where our partner is and strengthen their abilities from there.
LGBT+ Denmark’s approach to working internationally is based on the following six pillars, which are necessary for effective change and which strengthen each other:
Empowerment of LGBTIQ+ individuals
Any change starts with individual LGBTIQ+ people becoming aware of their SOGIESC (Sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics) and the violence, discrimination and prejudices they experience because of these. Gaining attention, overcoming isolation and meeting other LGBTIQ+ people, as well as accessing information, can help LGBTIQ+ individuals reconcile their SOGIESC with, for example, their religious, political and cultural values. In this way, LGBTIQ+ people can be empowered to ensure that their rights are respected.
Creating LGBTIQ+ communities
Especially in restrictive environments where LGBTIQ+ people are invisible and oppressed, encounters with like-minded people can break their isolation and contribute to self-realization and self-acceptance. A supportive network requires individuals, community members and allies alike. It requires social media interactions, real-life meetings, social and educational events to ensure physical and psychological safety.
Strengthening LGBTIQ+ organisations
Some emerging LGBTIQ+ organizations try to organise together to access funds and resources, but fail because they lack a strategic direction. Competition and conflict happen frequently, especially when people are marginalised and traumatised and funding is extremely limited. The need for organisational and strategic sustainability is growing as more resources become available. Transformative leadership and transparency ensure that emerging organisations can work with a legitimate mandate from the community they represent. This increases their political and social influence.
Growing LGBTQ+ movements
Local LGBTIQ+ organisations cooperate regularly, but potential competition over funds, influence and recognition prevents structured cooperation. By recognising the common struggle against existing norms and conditions for LGBTIQ+ people, organisations can move towards common goals and view cooperation as an important strategy. When movements work together, they become more agile and better at creating social and political change as well as necessary alliances.
LGBTIQ+ people cannot change the society without support. Potential allies must therefore be identified and made aware of the exclusion and discrimination that LGBTIQ+ people face. Allies can be found anywhere — even in hostile institutions. Their support may start at an individual level, but from there can move at a more societal and institutional level, so LGBTIQ+ people are ultimately included in policy making.
Influencing laws and policies
Society’s norms directly affect legislation and policies. Growing local organisations, strong movements with well-established interest groups, as well as strong allies in governments, local councils, legislative institutions and international institutions provide an opportunity to influence political change – at regional, national and international level.