Webinar Launch: Supporting Global Intersex Communities During COVID-19- September 17, 2020

Webinar: Supporting Global Intersex Communities During COVID-19

Thursday, September 17th
10 am EDT/ 4 pm CEST/ 5 pm EAT

Intersex communities are amongst the most underfunded movements globally. The COVID-19 pandemic and surrounding politics have exacerbated the inequities already faced by intersex people. Increased isolation, exclusion from needed health services, loss of employment and income: these are some of the experiences reported by intersex-led groups about the impact of COVID-19. Since many intersex people are already drastically excluded from both local and national economies, there are serious concerns about what the pandemic could mean to the future of intersex communities and movements.

Join the Global Philanthropy Project’s Trans and Intersex Working Group and the Intersex Human Rights Fund for a grantmaker webinar on the impact of COVID-19 for intersex movements. Hear concrete recommendations in funder actions and practices; explore how to make your first intersex grant or grow your portfolio; listen and learn from intersex communities on how to do better grantmaking. 

The webinar will provide funders with insights about how COVID-19 is impacting intersex-led groups across global regions and offer space to strategize together about effective responses in the short, medium, and long term.

Please note: this webinar is intended for a limited audience of grantmakers only.

2017-2018 Global Resources Report Webinar Launch

Join the 2017-2018 Global Resources Report
Launch Webinar
Thursday, May 28th

10-11:30am EDT / 4-530pm CEST / 5-630pm EAT 

Hosted by Global Philanthropy Project, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, and ILGA World
All are welcome

The report will be available for download
at globalresourcesreport.org
on Tuesday, May 26th

The bi-annual Global Resources Report provides governments, multilateral agencies, civil society, philanthropy and corporate foundations with the most detailed and accurate understanding of the global funding landscape on LGBTI issues.

Developed in partnership by Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues.

Webinar Speakers

Mauro Cabral Grinspan
Executive Director

Wendy Drukier
Director General
Global Affairs Canada

Julia Ehrt
Director of Programs
ILGA World

Douglas Griffiths
Oak Foundation

Matthew Hart
Global Philanthropy Project

Caroline Kouassiaman
Executive Director
Initiative Sankofa d’Afrique de l’Ouest (ISDAO)

Mukami Marete
Co-Executive Director

Ben Francisco Maulbeck
Funders for LGBTQ Issues

Ezra Nepon
Senior Program Officer for Knowledge & Learning

Midnight Poonkasetwattana
Executive Director

Webinar Launch: Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The Global State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements- June 25

Report Launch: Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The Global State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements

Thursday, June 25, 2020
10:00 AM ET/ 4:00 PM CEST/ 5:00 PM EAT

Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer (LBQ) movements are integral to creating a fabric of justice and equity through their dynamic and intersectional work. Yet the budget sizes of these organizations remain abysmally small with nearly 40 percent working with budgets of under $5,000 per year. One-quarter of those groups operate without any budget at all. LBQ movements’ resourcing has not kept pace with the innovative ways in which they are working.

This is particularly important to highlight at this moment of a global pandemic, and increasing nationalist isolation and populist politics. LBQ-identified women and non-binary people’s lives continue to be threatened every day, and the pandemic has resulted in surges in domestic violence, criminalization, and surveillance. Now more than ever we need to support LBQ-identified women and non-binary activists building a new political reality that is inclusive, respectful, and safe for all oppressed and marginalized communities.

Join Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and Mama Cash in a discussion of the findings of their new report “Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements.” The webinar and report will include specific recommendations for donors interested in learning how best to support the valuable and vital work of LBQ communities, based on the needs and priorities identified by activists, and on the funding strategies shared by public and private foundations, women’s funds and other intermediaries. Join this call hosted by Global Philanthropy Project to learn how funders can respond as LBQ organizers often do, with intersectional organizing mechanisms and collective care approaches.

Webinar Speakers

Silvia Casalino
Executive Co-Director
EuroCentralAsian Lesbian Community (EL*C)

Ana María Enríquez
Executive Director
Human Rights Funders Network

Chantelle de Nobrega
Programme Officer for Body
Mama Cash

Mariam Gagoshashvili
Senior Program & Advocacy Officer
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Mukami Marete
Co- Executive Director

Nevin Oztop
Programme Associate
Oak Foundation

David Sampson
Deputy Director
Baring Foundation

Ghiwa Sayegh
Editor in Chief
Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research

Webinar Sponsors

Global Philanthropy Project logo, which shows GPP's name in blue text overlaid in front of a yellow icon of a global map.

LBQ Women Research

Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues, May 2020

Grantmaker Resources re: funding Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer Women

Webinar Launch: Supporting Global Trans Communities During COVID-19- June 15

Webinar: Supporting Global Trans Communities During COVID-19

Monday, June 15th
10 am EDT/ 4 pm CEST/ 5 pm EAT


The pandemic and surrounding politics are on track to have devastating effects on marginalized LGBTI communities, and trans communities in particular. Trans-led groups have already reported governments using COVID-19 to enact transphobic laws and/or repress trans communities; trans people have been excluded from receiving emergency aid; and trans-led movements have seen funders pull back and or pause planned grants.

Join the Global Philanthropy Project’s Trans and Intersex Working Group and the International Trans Fund for a grantmaker webinar on the reality and impact of COVID-19 for trans movements. Hear concrete recommendations in funder actions, learn of solid practices, explore how to make your first trans grant, grow your portfolio, and do listening and learning from trans communities on how to do better grantmaking. 

The webinar will provide funders with insights about how COVID-19 is impacting trans-led groups across global regions, and offer space to strategize together about effective responses in the short, medium, and long term.

Please note: this webinar is intended for a limited audience of grantmakers only. 

Webinar June 15th

Donor Recommendations (Provided by The State of Trans Organizing)

  1. Support trans groups by continuing to identify new groups to fund, particularly those not receiving a grant from other donors
  2. Increase the amount of funding available to trans groups, both through giving larger, longer-term grants and generating interest in trans issues among new donors.
  3. Government funders, both bilateral donors and national, state or municipal governments, should prioritize increasing access for trans groups to the human rights and development funding they provide.
  4. Enlist new donors to support trans groups and encourage them to explicitly state their interest in funding trans work.
  5. Lower barriers to trans groups’ access to funding; simplify applications and be flexible in application and reporting processes.
  6. Support autonomous groups and those with more trans leaders and decision-makers, especially those with leadership that reflects their constituents. This will bolster support for transfeminine leadership.
  7. Support capacity building and training opportunities for trans groups, particularly those related to organizational development and healing from trauma and/or burnout prevention.
  8. Invest in activities that trans groups prioritize but cannot do because of lack of funding, particularly those related to securing a sustainable livelihood and advancing struggles for economic justice.

Webinar PowerPoint

Fullscreen Mode


Raisa Borshchigova,
Program Officer, Urgent Action For Women

Mauro Cabral Grinspan,
Executive Director, GATE

Felix Endara,
Program Associate, Foundation for a Just Society

Rebecca Fox,
Senior Program Officer, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Cleopatra Kambugu,
Director of Programs, UHAI EASHRI

Tshepo Ricki Kgositau-Kanza,
Executive Director, Accountability International

Jabu Pereira,
Executive Director, Iranti

Viviane Vergueiro Simakawa,
Project Coordinator, AKAHATA 

Joe Wong,
Executive Director, APTN

Program Officer, International Trans Fund

Pic 1 (Colectivo Trans Formacion)
Pic 2 (CTU)
Pic 3 (GTSA)
Pic 4 (SEED)

Photos provided by International Trans Fund’s grantee partners for their report on COVID-19. (Colectivo de Hombres Trans Trans-Formación, Guatemala, Colectivo Trans de Uruguay, Uruguay, Greek Transgender Support Association, Greece, Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kebajikan dan Persekitaran Positif Malaysia (SEED), Malaysia) 

Cancelled: GPP @ EDGE Funders Alliance and Ariadne- March 30 to April 3

Global Philanthropy Project logo, which shows GPP's name in blue text overlaid in front of a yellow icon of a global map.

Cancelled: Global Philanthropy Project at EDGE Funders Alliance and Ariadne’s Annual Conferences
Monday, 30 March to Friday, 3 April 2020
Berlin, Germany

Dear Ariadne Members,

We have unfortunately had to take the step of cancelling the 2020 Ariadne Policy Briefing due to the ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus.  This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, and it stems from our concern for the health of our members, their families, and their communities.  We want to ensure that we do not put any of our participants or speakers at risk or contribute to the burdens of health services, particularly for those coming from states with fragile healthcare infrastructures.

We will be moving some of the sessions online and offering a series of webinars in the coming weeks.  These will be open to all Ariadne members as well as those who had registered for the Policy Briefing, and we encourage you to take part.

Ariadne and EDGE remain committed to bringing funders together to discuss the issues common to our memberships and will be rescheduling Change Funders Week to Spring 2021 in Berlin.  We will provide dates and more information as soon as they are available.  In the meanwhile, please put the Ariadne Grant Skills Day in your diary.  We are planning to hold the next Grant Skills Day on 29th September on addressing the implications of digitisation for social change and human rights work (location TBD).

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you at another Ariadne event soon.

Best wishes,

Julie Broome
Ariadne Director

Join GPP members at Edge Funders Alliance  and Ariadne’s Annual Conferences. 

GPP at Ariadne

Wednesday, April 1 16:00-17:30
Building a Shared Understanding and Co-Creating Concrete Strategies to Increase Solidarity and Resilience in the Face of Rising Anti-Gender and Anti-Rights Agendas
American Jewish World Service, Calala Women’s Fund, Filia Foundation, Global Philanthropy Project, Mama Cash, Ukrainian Women’s Fund, Wallace Global Fund
Friday, April 3 10:30 – 12:00 
A NEW FINANCING ORDER: How US aid and development policies are disrupting European philanthropic health and rights outcomes
Global Philanthropy Project, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, Open Society Foundations

German Philanthropy’s Role in the Global LGBTI Funding Landscape in Berlin, 3 March

Global Philanthropy Project logo, which shows GPP's name in blue text overlaid in front of a yellow icon of a global map.

German Philanthropy’s Role in the Global LGBTI Funding Landscape  

Tuesday March 3, 2020 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm 

Open Society Foundations

Jägerstrasse 54/55, 10117 Berlin

Join us for a reception for German philanthropic foundations where findings from the 2017-18 Global Resources Report will be presented for the first time and you will have a chance to socialise with peer funders committed to resourcing organisations advancing LGBTI rights across the world. 
Light refreshments and snacks will be served! Registration closes February 25th!


Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues, May 2020

Commissioned by Elevate Children’s Funders Group and Global Philanthropy Project, October 2019.

Resources from Elevate Children’s Funders Group and Global Philanthropy Project, October 2019

GPP, GATE, AJWS, Astraea, 2019.

This new guide, developed by ILGA-Europe and the Global Philanthropy Project, includes an overview of fundraising, frequently asked questions, 10 case studies, and guidance and resources to start or improve your fundraising.

Dreilinden, 2014. German with an Executive Summary in English.

In this working paper for iNGOs, GPP Member Dreilinden presents essential demands of the 8th Rainbow Philanthropy Conference addressing LGBT* – and in some respects intersex – children in development cooperation.

Poster on GPP’s research, presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016).

How governments in the Global North can effectively partner with intermediary organizations to support LGBTI communities in the Global South and East; Commissioned by Global Philanthropy Project, July 2016

Authors: Matthew Hart, Global Philanthropy Project and Ben Francisco Maulbeck, Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Published in the Civicus 2016 State of Civil Society Report, June 2016.

Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues, June 2016.

Authors: Somjen Frazer and Erin Howe, Strength in Numbers Consulting Group for the GPP Trans* Working Group in collaboration with Arcus Foundation and Open Society Foundations, 2015.

Author: Gitta Zomorodi for Global Philanthropy Project, July 2015

Prepared by Barbary Cook and Bia Vieira, Dragonfly Partners, January 2016
Commissioned by: GPP Bilaterals Working Group

Author: Andrea Kämpf, for the German Institute for Human Rights and Dreilinden, October 2015.

Written by Irma V. González and Karen Kraan for GPP, February 2015

Written by Kris Abrams with Katherine Acey, for the Global Philanthropy Project, December 2011

Save the Date: Mapping Funding of Global “Anti-Gender” Movements

Telebriefing: Mapping Funding of Global “Anti-Gender” Movement
Tuesday, March 24th 9:30 am- 11:30 am EDT/ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm CET/ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm EAT

Global Philanthropy Project, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Open Society Foundations invite you to a webinar discussion on the current funding of the global “anti-gender” movements. 

Join us as we share the preliminary results of a field analysis assessing relevant public and academic data tracking of the funding sources and key structures, institutions, and activities of the anti-gender movements. 


Cancelled: CSW64 SIde Event

Cancelled: CSW64 Side Event Mapping Funding of Global “Anti-Gender” Movements
Wednesday, March 18th 9 am- 12 pm  EDT
New York


We have unfortunately had to take the step of cancelling our March 18th CSW64 side meeting due to the ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus. We have not taken this decision lightly but stand in solidarity with CSW64 cancelled events and want to mitigate the risks of infection.

We hope you are able to join us for our webinar Mapping Funding of Global “Anti-Gender” Movement on Tuesday, March 24th 9:30 am EDT, 2:30 pm CET, 4:30 pm EAT. Please register here.


2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing 1995 conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It is also a five year milestone for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The sixty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) is planned to take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in March 2020, serving as a global convening space for review and appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action implementation, and developments towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Two key parallel processes are being developed towards activities at CSW64/Beijing+25: one related to the official UN structures, and another, Generation Equality Forum , which will include two global gatherings for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico, to be held in May (Mexico) and July (France) 2020.

For more resources on “resisting anti-gender ideology” please visit here.


Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society, May 2020

FCAA Spring Funder Forum will offer a two-part discussion to help contextualize current threats to HIV, health and human rights, health and human rights, with one session focusing on FOSTA-SESTA legislation and the other looking at the rise of religious conservatism.

As ethno-nationalist and fascist movements grow, feeding off social polarization and economic inequality, strange bedfellows are increasingly working together to roll back human rights and social justice gains and attack minorities and marginalized groups.

Resources for understanding and resisting “anti-gender ideology.”

GPP is proud to partner with our members Open Society Foundations and American Jewish World Services on the newly selected Opening Plenary at the upcoming 2018 FCAA AIDS Philanthropy Summit. 

New report: Mapping Digital Landscapes of Trans Activism in Central Asia and Eastern Europe (CAEE) by Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and Transgender Europe (TGEU).

ICNL Releases New Study on the Impact of Closing Civic Space on HIV Response.

Using family as a frame in social justice activism: A guide for activists and funders in Europe
Authors: Alice Coffin, Evelyne Paradis, Gordan Bosanac, Gráinne Healy, Julia Ehrt, Matthew Hart, Nicky McIntyre, Pav Akhtar, Peter Matjašič, Susan Treadwell
Compiled by Bruno Selun, June 2017

On “shrinking space”: a framing paper
Transnational Institute (TNI), 07 April 2017

STUDY: The Impact of International Counter-terrorism on Civil Society Organisations
Understanding the role of the Financial Action Taskforce
April 2017, Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service

New regional scoping study by The Other Foundation.

The Other Foundation has commissioned studies of ten countries in southern Africa.

A collection of resources Promoting Open Space for LGBTI Civil Society.

Poster on GPP’s research, presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016).

Authors: Matthew Hart, Global Philanthropy Project and Ben Francisco Maulbeck, Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Published in the Civicus 2016 State of Civil Society Report, June 2016.

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Global Trends in NGO Law, Volume 7, Issue 2 (May 2016).

Published by Ariadne – European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights, The International Human Rights Funders Group,
The European Foundation Centre. Visualisation by Foundation Center, 2015.

Published by Ariadne (the European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights), the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG), and the European Foundation Centre (EFC), February 2016.

From Ariadne: European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights, January 2016.

A Community of Democracies project funded by Sweden, 2014

ILGA Europe, Charhon Consultants, January 2015

Webinar: Challenging the Criminalization of “Homosexuality” in Kenya: An Update on Movement Litigation Jan 30, 2020

Webinar: Challenging the Criminalization of “Homosexuality” in Kenya: An Update on Movement Litigation

Thursday, January 30th 2020
9-11 am EST, 3-5 pm CET, 5-7 pm EAT

Join Global Philanthropy Project, UHAI-EASHRI, American Jewish World Service, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and Open Society Foundations for an update call on the Kenya Decrim litigation. 

Join movement leaders and litigators- National Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC)  Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and Nyanza Rift Valley and Western Kenya LGBT Coalition (NYARWEK)-to discuss important updates and key opportunities for grantmakers.

Speakers and Bios

Njeri Gateru is a queer feminist human rights lawyer with seven years working experience working on the protection of minorities in Kenya including asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and LGBTIQ communities. She is founding member and the Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya, an organization that provides legal aid and engages in strategic litigation towards equal rights and protection of LGBTIQ persons in Kenya. NGLHRC has successfully litigated for registration of LGBTIQ organizations and ending forced anal examinations. Currently, the organization is litigating towards decriminalization of homosexuality in Kenya.

Njeri also curates the ‘Because Womxn’ forum – a radical space for conversation and collective design on leadership, security and wellness for LBQ identifying women in Kenya.

Njeri has previously worked with Human Rights Watch in New York, the Red Cross in Kenya and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. She has consulted on and written papers on the lived realities of LBQ women in Kenya, the asylum regime and SOGIE, self-love and body autonomy, as well as activism and the online space.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Law, Njeri is now pursuing a second degree in Gender & Development Studies. She is also a pioneer fellow under President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, having undergone leadership training in the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary in the U.S.A.

Daniel Peter Onyango is a 37 year old self-driven individual who is passionate in realizing a sustainable society through offering their skills and expertise to give solutions to the current evolving community problems. Onyango draws his motivation from the plight of sexual and gender marginalized people living in absolute rejection due to their sexual orientation and gender identity which the greater community does not understand. Their personal mission is to build on their experience oi community empowerment services, advocacy and paralegal activities for minority groups with an aim of upbringing an equitable, free, just and fair society where self-acceptance and societal understanding and diversity is upheld.

Onyango is a clinician and currently serving as the Executive Director and the founder of Nyanza Rift Valley Western Kenya LGBTI Network (NYARWEK) that advocates for the rights of LGBTI persons in Western Kenya. Onyango is also a researcher who has led and participated in different research

programs aimed at improving the sexual and reproductive health rights of the key populations in Kenya.

Onyango is the former chair person for the Key Population Consortium for the past four years, an advocacy platform that brings together all the national key population Networks that champion for the rights of the key populations in Kenya. These include the Kenya Sex Worker Alliance (KESWA), Kenya Harm Reduction Network (KHRN), Kenya Network of People who Use Drugs ( KENPUD), Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), Nyanza Rift Valley Western Kenya LGBTI Network (NYARWEK), and the GMT HIV Prevention Network of Kenya (GHPN-Ke).

Onyango sits on the board of management for different organizations and provides technical assistance and expertise on key population management and implementation. These include, Eagles for Life (Kisii),

Kisumu Gender Strategic Plan Implementation 2018-2022 and the Kisumu County Health Task Force. Onyango is also the chair person of Anza Mapema Community Advisory Board that conducts research on MSM in Kisumu, and norm change research in Kenya.

Lorna Dias, a Kenyan national, is a media consultant and social justice activist with 15 years’ experience in policy engagement and advocacy around governance, human rights and HIV. She has been Executive Coordinator of Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) since 2014, and was most previously Technical Officer: Documentation and Guidelines at Kenya’s Ministry of Health National AIDS and STI Control Programme Technical Support Unit (2013-2014); and the Most-at-Risk Populations Programme Coordinator at Kenya’s leading HIV testing and treatment provider, LVCT Health (2008-2013). She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology (Counseling) from University of Nairobi (2007), a Bachelor’s in Education from Kenyatta University (1990) and is an AusAID Australian Leadership Award Fellow (2011). She has contributed to several publications on violence, sexual health and human rights for sexual and gender minorities, sex workers, and people who use drugs, and has supported the development of key national and institutional policies and manuals since 2008. Amongst various professional courses, Lorna has undertaken the USAID/MEASURE Evaluation Leadership Development Program (2013); Financial Management training by MANGO (2016), and the Feminist Leadership, Movement Building and Rights Institute by CREA (2016).


Joaninne Nanyange is a feminist human rights lawyer, researcher and writer with over seven years’ experience working with criminalized communities including LGBTIQ persons; Sex Workers; Persons who Use and Inject Drugs; and Women, girls and health service providers facing criminal charges of abortion, in Uganda and Kenya. She currently works as a Program Officer for the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) in Kenya, taking lead on a project designed to shift norms in favor of SOGIE-SC rights and LGBTIQ grant-making.

She has previously worked as the Head of Research and Advocacy and Deputy Executive Director of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF – Uganda) where she took lead on various research and documentation initiatives like the annual documentation of violations suffered by sex workers and LGBTIQ persons in Uganda; creation of partnerships and training of state actors like the Police and the Uganda Human Rights Commission on the rights of LGBTIQ persons; analysis of laws that affect criminalized communities in Uganda; and participating in the building of the legal challenges at the Ugandan Constitutional Court and the East African Court of Justice, that led to the annulment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

She has consulted on a number of projects for the LGBTIQ community in Uganda and continues online and in-person feminist activism on issues concerning criminalized communities in Uganda.

Alli Jernow is the Program Director of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression Program at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund.  She oversees domestic and international grantmaking in support of LGBTQ human rights, with a focus on intersectionality and movement-building. Prior to joining Wellspring, she ran the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Program at the International Commission of Jurists. She was an expert witness in the landmark case of Atala v. Chile before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and she authored numerous amicus briefs and interventions for cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee, and national courts.  She is the author of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Justice:  A Comparative Law Casebook. In her earlier career as a civil rights prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, she investigated and prosecuted cases of police brutality, labor trafficking, and hate crimes. She has consulted for OHCHR, ILO and OSCE and worked for civil society organizations in the US, Europe and Africa. 


Sections 162, 163 and 165 of the Penal Code of Kenya make it a crime for consenting adults to “have carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – defined as sodomy — and for consenting adult men to engage in “gross indecency” with each other.  As with many other countries around the world that criminalize same-sex sexual activity, Kenya inherited these provisions of law from British colonizers more than 100 years ago.  The laws impose lengthy prison sentences.  A violation of Section 162 is punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. A violation of Section 165 carries a prison term of five years.  These laws are, of course, a severe violation of the dignity, privacy and equality of gay Kenyans.  Their mere existence has been used to harass and blackmail the LGBTQ community, and has served to justify stigma, discrimination, and violence.  In 2016, Kenyan activists made a collective decision to mount a constitutional challenge.  Other activists around the world – in Singapore, Belize, India, Botswana and elsewhere – had embarked on similar challenges, with mixed results.

Kenyan LGBTQ organizations had reason to be cautiously optimistic.  The new Constitution of Kenya, adopted in 2010, contained an expansive guarantee of equality and protection from discrimination, with an open-ended list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.  There had been some positive court decisions in related cases.  For example, in 2015, the National Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) won a judgment allowing it to register as an NGO.   In 2016, NGLHRC and two other organizations – the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and Nyanza Rift Valley and Western Kenya LGBT Coalition (NYARWEK) – filed challenges to the constitutional validity of Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code before the High Court.  The petitions, consolidated by the Court as one case, argued that the criminalization of same-sex conduct violates rights to equality, non-discrimination, human dignity, security, privacy, and health, all protected under the Kenyan Constitution.  At first signs were promising.  Oral arguments, held in February 2018, went very well.  When the Supreme Court of India struck down Article 377 in September 2018, the Kenyan court asked for supplemental briefing.

To support the litigation, the LGBTQ community embarked on an unprecedented public education campaign, gaining attention and support through positive press coverage, posters, and social media. The #LoveIsHuman campaign rolled out strikingly beautiful images on billboards in Nairobi.  LGBTQ Kenyans were more visible than ever before.   

In May 2019, however, the High Court ruled that these provisions of the Penal Code do not violate the Constitution.  The Court found no violations of any constitutional right. 

The Court first rejected the claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  In tortured reasoning, it found that the provision targeting “indecent practices between males” applied to “any male person” – and not just “male persons of a particular sexual orientation.”  It summarily rejected petitioners’ claims of discrimination, violence, and harassment because “save for the allegations made in the Petition and the affidavits, no tangible evidence was given to support the allegations.”   Similarly, the Court dismissed the relevance of foreign jurisprudence and international human rights instruments, stating that “we should . . . develop our common law in a manner that promotes the values and principles enshrined in our Constitution.”  Finally, the Court reasoned that the wording of Article 45 of the Constitution, which provides that “Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex”, meant that there was no violation of the rights to dignity and privacy.  “The Petitioners’ argument that they are not seeking to be allowed to enter into same-sex marriage is, in our view, immaterial, given that if allowed, it will lead to same-sex persons living together as  couples.  Such relationships, whether in private or not, formal or not, would be in violation of the tenor and spirit of the Constitution.”  The limitation of marriage to heterosexual couples was in fact dispositive, according to the Court.  “In our view, where the fill of the people is expressed in the Constitution, it represents societal values, which must always be a factor in considering constitutional validity of a particular enactment where such legislation seeks to regulate conduct, private or public.”

In sum, the Court based its conclusion on a strained reading of the criminal provisions at issue and on extreme deference to what it determined was societal values on morality and marriage.  Although it acknowledged that sexual orientation could in fact be a basis of prohibited discrimination, it found no such discrimination here.    

The three organizations have filed their appeal at the Kenyan Court of Appeal.  The Repeal 162 site stated: “You win some, you lose others, but never give up.”

Additional Resources


2020 GPP Annual Member Meeting, July 23-24

GPP 2020 Annual Member Meeting
July 23-24th
Accra, Ghana



GPP’s member-only annual meeting will coincide with Pan-Africa ILGA’s Conference (PAI dates: 27-31 July 2020). In addition to a Donor Pre-Conference, GPP will be hosting their annual meeting to discuss GPP’s work ahead. 


The meeting planning process is now getting started, through conversations within each Working Group and Study Group. Further member outreach for meeting feedback will be coming soon. 

If you have ideas, inspiration, or interest in participating in the meeting development, GPP Director Matthew Hart would love to discuss it with you. Email Matthew Hart to start the conversation. 

GPP’s 2018 Annual Meeting