The Human Dignity Trust is the only organisation working globally to support strategic litigation to challenge laws that persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

We work with LGBT activists around the world to defend human rights in countries where private, same-sex, consensual sexual activity is criminalised. Local activists and lawyers always lead and inform our work. They set the pace, to ensure that legal interventions are timely, and complement wider calls for change.

Working with our Legal and Bar Panels, a network of 25 of the world’s leading law firms and eminent barristers, we have helped local activists and civil society organisations across five continents access almost £22 million of pro bono technical legal assistance since 2011.

The Human Dignity Trust fills an important gap in the LGBTI+ space – it provides first-class, holistic legal support to grassroots activists working to challenge prosecution and persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Oak Foundation

Conscious that together we are stronger, we build highly-skilled international teams by matching the global resources of our Legal and Bar Panels with the expertise of local lawyers and activists, who join forces to support interventions in key legal cases.

We support court cases that:

  • Decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual activity;
  • Uphold freedom of association rights for LGBT people;
  • Ensure that constitutional protections against discrimination are interpreted to include discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity;
  • Challenge degrading treatment of LGBT people such as the use of forced medical examinations.

Since 2015, The Human Dignity Trust has also analysed the need and options for legislative reform of a broad range of sexual offences and related laws that discriminate against LGBT people and other marginalised groups. At the request of policy makers, parliamentarians and government officials, we provide assistance to reform out-dated and discriminatory laws.

I know the hardships that I face as a gay man in Africa. But to understand the legal implications means that I can talk to my government in the very language they use to oppress me.

African LGBT activist

At the Trust we understand that even though laws can change, society often lags behind, so we also work alongside local LGBT activists to design media strategies in order to dispel myths and foster understanding about LGBT people, as well as minimising public backlash to progressive legal decisions.

We recognise that in some countries around the world, challenging the status quo carries great risk, so we also connect local activists and lawyers with international security experts who provide advice and assistance on safety and well-being.

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