Prisoner of Presence: ILGA and the Global LGBTQ Struggle

To be a prisoner of conscience is to be a prisoner of presence. Around the world, people isolated in society for alternative viewpoints or corporeal realities are collected and imprisoned for their adversities. Although the reasons for imprisonment vary, one ongoing excuse for this type of incarceration is homosexuality. Many countries around the world have anti-gay laws that criminalize homosexuality. In some cases the punishment for this alleged crime is death. Thankfully, organizations are working to end this virulent treatment of gays across world societies. One of the strongest contenders for this campaign is the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trangender and Intersex Association.

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA)

ILGA is a blanket organization with over 1100 member organization worldwide. Their mission is as follows:

  • To act as a leading organization and a global voice for the rights of those who face discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression and sex (intersex),

  • To work towards achieving equality, freedom and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people through advocacy, collaborative actions, and by educating and informing relevant international and regional institutions as well as governments, media and civil society,

  • To empower our members and other human rights organizations in promoting and protecting human rights, irrespective of people’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression and sex (intersex) and to facilitate cooperation and solidarity among ILGA regions and members,

  • To promote diversity and strengths of LGBTI people around the world.

ILGA was founded in 1978 when thirty men from fourteen different countries signed a Founding Declaration of the International Gay Association, IGA, which became ILGA in 1986 (Berger, 33).

In ILGA’s nascence, the goal of the organization was to legitimize homosexuality in society. The association has maintained this goal yet has evolved to adopt new issues within the LGBTQ community. ILGA has made great strides for their community. They have lobbied for a number of influential decisions including the World Health Organization’s removal of homosexuality from its list of illnesses.

ILGA is working to create equality for all LGBTQ persons.  Every year ILGA administers a sexual orientation laws map.  This map color codes world countries regarding the establishment of laws that either recognize or punish gays.  This map serves a multitude of purposes.  Not only does it alert people to the extend of criminalized homosexuality, but also it helps to standardize laws that accept gays.  According to this map, Australia does not have legalized marriage between gays.  In order to feel more aligned with the rest of the first world, Australia perhaps should consider adopting gay marriage.  This way the country can be legitimized amongst its peers.

ILGA labors over an extensive community.  Their mission highlights the importance of this community and the importance of their protection and empowerment worldwide. The organization has put in years of work for these people starting back in the seventies. Since then, ILGA has lobbied for the legitimization of and subsequently the equality of LGBTQ persons.  They have removed homosexuality from World Health Organization’s lists of mental illnesses and have helped shape the world’s standards for the legal acceptance of gays.  The organization is a constant pertinence to the global LGBTQ struggle.

  1. (n.d.). ILGA – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. What we do – ILGA. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from
  2. Beger, N. J. (2009). Tensions in the struggle for sexual minority rights in Europe: que(e)rying political practices. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  3. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – Wikipedia. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from,_Gay,_Bisexual,_Trans_and_Intersex_Association
  4. (n.d.). ILGA – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Maps | sexual orientation laws – ILGA. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from

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