Image courtesy of Sydney Allen, Canva

It is nearly a universal truth that in most societies today, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals (LGBTQ+) face added societal challenges from homophobia to state oppression and hostility to ingrained bigotry and institutional failures. However, overall, the global LGBTQ+ community made remarkable progress over the last year and witnessed significant advancements in the fight for equality and human rights. From legal victories to societal shifts, numerous countries have taken steps forward in recognizing and protecting the rights of sexual and gender minorities.

Several countries made historic strides in legalizing same-sex marriage, recognizing gender identity, and protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. In May 2023, Nepal became the first country in South Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, marking a significant milestone for queer rights in the region. Numerous Caribbean nations passed legislation benefitting LGBTQ+ citizens, marking a definitive shift in the region becoming more “gay friendly.” Slovenia also legalized same-sex marriage and will finally allow queer families to adopt children. In Hungary, the government passed a law in 2022 effectively banning the portrayal or promotion of homosexuality or transgender issues to minors, however, in April 2023, Hungary’s president struck it down in a rare win for LGBTQ+ people in the country. Similarly, activists in Poland were awarded a major legal victory in April 2023 after courts overturned a decision to make some regions in the country an “LGBT-free zone.” 

The global movement to ban conversion therapy, a harmful and pseudoscientific practice aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, has also gained momentum over the past year. Numerous countries, including Canada, and France, and Greece, introduced legislation to outlaw conversion therapy, prioritizing the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. These efforts send a strong message that such practices have no place in modern society.

Unfortunately, while significant progress has been made in certain regions, challenges and setbacks persist in others. This is particularly true in regions that have been unsettled by conflict. Russia has cracked down on LGBTQ+ identities and freedoms amid its ongoing war against Ukraine. Azerbaijan and Turkey have also seen an uptick in discriminatory attitudes and legislation. And while transgender and gender-diverse individuals are getting more visibility and recognition globally, there has also been a backlash and uptick in violence against them. These regressive measures highlight the work that still needs to be done to combat intolerance and protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

The continued efforts of LGBTQ+ activists, allies, and organizations have played a crucial role in driving these advancements. While challenges and disparities still persist, the strides made over the past year offer hope for a more inclusive and equitable future for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Celebrate these victories and challenges with Global Voices this PRIDE month through this selection of pieces from around the world. 

Stories about Celebrating global LGBTQ+ rights

Russia may ban transgender transitioning

  30 May 2023

Over the past year, the situation for the transgender community in Russia has significantly deteriorated. in May 2023 the Ministry of Justice actively discussed either making more difficult or completely banning transgender transition.