Being LGBTI in Asia

The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is lit up in rainbow colours as part of activities around the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDATHOT) 2015. Photo: UNESCO/W. Field.

The Being LGBTI in Asia Phase 2 initiative (BLIA-2) is a regional partnership between UNDP, the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok and USAID, with a focus on four countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. The initiative is aimed at advancing the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and reducing inequality and marginalization on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

The initiative is a collaboration with civil society, and engages national and regional institutions to advance protective laws and policies, and empower civil society. It supports policy and operational research, and strategy development among vulnerable groups and a range of key stakeholders at national and regional level. The initiative recognizes that specific LGBTI populations, including lesbians, gay men, transgender men and women and intersex persons face varied and diverse experiences depending on their distinct gender identities and expressions, and social cultural context.

The objectives of the Project are:

  1. Through community building and empowerment to support LGBTI individuals to know their rights, and to have access to justice to report human rights violations and end impunity;
  2. Through community mobilization for effective policy advocacy on legal and policy change (with law makers, local governments, judiciary, and National Human Rights Institutions) to ensure the development and enforcement of protective laws (including anti-violence/anti-discrimination laws and policies);
  3. Through community mobilization to engage in dialogues with key stakeholders (such as religious organizations, the private sector, law enforcement authorities, educational institutions) to address stigma, discrimination and end harmful practices that fuel human rights violations against LGBTI individuals in public and private settings, and to ensure LGBTI individuals have equal access to public services.

The expected outcomes of the Project are:

  1. Increased capacity of LGBTI organizations to effectively mobilize, advocate and contribute in policy dialogues and community empowerment activities;
  2. Improved capacity and action of governments, the judiciary, parliaments, National Human Rights Institutions to develop SOGI-related protective laws and policies; and
  3. Reduced stigma and discrimination and end of harmful practices (including violence) against LGBTI people in selected areas.

Key outputs

Outcome 1: Increased capacity of LGBTI organizations to effectively mobilize, advocate and contribute in policy dialogues and community empowerment activities  

At country level the following activities will support the desired outcomes:

  • A small grant scheme for LGBTI community groups, for capacity building, research or advocacy. Grants will be managed by UNDP National Project Officers (NOA) at UNDP country offices.

At regional level, the project will support LGBTI networks and advocates:

  • the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) with governance, to engage in policy dialogue at multinational level, and network effectively with national partners;
  • the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) with institutional and technical support to assess and address country and regional level needs.

Outcome 2: Improved capacity and action of governments, the judiciary, parliaments, NHRIs to develop SOGI-related protective laws and policies 

At regional level, the project will:

  • Convene a multi-stakeholder Regional Dialogue to assess and document the LGBT human rights situation.
  • Based on the Regional Dialogue outcome, support regional action frameworks (for APTN and ASC).
  • Support for ASEAN and SAARC as platforms for policy dialogue.

In the focus countries, the program will support (with the help of national and regional LGBTI organizations, and the Asia Pacific Forum):

  • National advocacy agenda setting, based on the National Dialogues.
  • Capacity building for government representative on country relevant LGBTI issues.
  • Capacity building of the National Human Right Institutions with support from ASEAN SOGIE Caucus and the Asia Pacific Forum (APF).
  • Inform the Universal Periodic Reviews and other human rights reporting mechanism to ensure LGBTI issues are integrated.
  • Sensitivity events for judiciary, lawmakers and law enforcement personnel, including gender recognition.
  • Link to ongoing human rights programming and opportunities. 

Outcome 3: Reduced stigma and discrimination and end of harmful practices against LGBTI people in selected areas

At regional level, the project will support stigma and discrimination reduction, and end harmful practices through:

  • Collaboration with UNESCO for a regional consultation on anti-bullying interventions and school curricula on SOGI.
  • Partner with USAID/Health Policy Project and APTN to develop and disseminate the Asia Pacific Transgender Blueprint.
  • Development of a faith community anti-stigma strategy to roll out in focus countries.
  • Regional study and regional consultation on workplace LGBT & SOGI issues in the private sector.
  • Support to B-change Foundation to expand the “Be” web-app and expand the use and scope of the “being-me” video product.
  • Engage private sector partners to ensure workplace protections

In the focus countries, the project will support a range of national consultations with relevant sector representatives, including:

  • Faith leaders and faith communities.
  • Private sector stakeholders, through a national conference.
  • Education sector policy makers and teachers through a national consultation.

Through these various activities, Being LGBTI in Asia Phase 2 has produced the following reports with our project partners:

Project Overview

Status: Active

Project start date: December 2014

Estimate end date: September 2017

Budget: US$8 million

Geographic coverage:

Regional - South East and East Asia

Countries - China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand

Focus area: HIV, Health and Development; Democratic Governance

MDG: 2, 3, 6, 8

Contact: Katri Kivioja, Programme Specialist,

Partners: Embassy of Sweden (Thailand), USAID, UNESCO

Being LGBTI in Asia Phase 1 Country Reports
Related Links

UNDP, USAID launch first comprehensive report on the state of LGBT rights in Indonesia

LGBT people in Asia denied access to basic rights

Experts and Young People Call for Increased Respect for the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People in Asia

Call for Abstracts: Investing in Innovations and Action - A Regional Dialogue on LGBT Rights and Health in the Asia-Pacific

Helen Clark: Statement on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Sweden, USAID and UNDP renew support for LGBT rights in Asia

Asia and Pacific LGBTI advocates call for human rights for all

Stronger together: A look back at the Regional Dialogue on LGBTI Human Rights and Health in Asia-Pacific

Equal rights are not special rights

Statement from the United Nations in Thailand on the 2015 International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)

UNDP and UNESCO celebrate International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in Beijing

Asia-Pacific countries stand united against homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools

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[Video] Go Purple to Support LGBTI Youth for International Youth Day

UNDP partners with Royal Thai Government and 'Being LGBTI in Asia' to launch new Gender Equality Act

#PurpleMySchool campaign making education safer for LGBTI students

Partnership meeting and capacity building workshop to strengthen inclusion of LGBTI in Human Rights Reporting Mechanisms

Asia-Pacific sees progress on the protection of LGBTI people but obstacles remain

The Business of LGBT Inclusion in Asia — Executive Dialogue with The Economist 

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