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Violence is an international problem


Even today, LGBTQ + people are often targeted. People whose's LGBTQ+ identity is know can be exposed to discrimination, such as difficulty finding a job or a place to stay, and to different types of violence.

For IDAHOT 2021 we have talked with 9 LGBTQ+ people around the world who have faced violence because of their identity.  

Warning: shocking content

In recent decades, many advances have been made in the legal sphere and in the representation of LGBTQ + people, which could give the impression that equality has been achieved. This is unfortunately not true.

In 2017, the world learned that LGBTQ + people in Chechnya were being sent to concentration camps. Between 2017 and 2020, the U.S. government tried to repeal several rights for trans people, and murders of trans people doubled during that time. In 2018 in Brazil, it was Marielle Franco, a black and openly lesbian politician, who was shot dead in the street. In Ukraine and Senegal, religious leaders have fueled rumors that Covid-19 is divine punishment for immoral behavior - scapegoating LGBTQ+ people for the global pandemic.

The examples of violence against LGBTQ+ people are numerous and affect all regions of the world, which is why it is important to continue to fight for the recognition and inclusion of all sexual orientations and gender identities.


86% Increase in homicides and violence committed against members of LGBTQ+ communities in 2017 in the United States. (NCAVP, 2017)

36% Increase in the number of anti-LGBTQ+ acts in 2019 in France. (Ministry of the Interior, France, 2020)

48%  of young Canadians who told their sport teammates about their sexual orientation reported experiencing homophobic behavior, including bullying, physical assault and strong language. (Monash University, 2020)

68%  of LGBTQ+ respondents in the UK said they avoided holding hands with a partner in public for fear of negative or violent reactions. (Government Equilities Office, 2018)

263 hate crimes targeting sexual orientation were reported by canadian police forces in 2019 , more than half of which were classified as violent. (Statistic Canada, 2019)

When showing your colors is a crime

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There are LGBTQ + people in all countries. What differs from one country to another is the place we give them. Although homophobia and transphobia can be found in all countries the rights that are granted to LGBTQ + people differ greatly from country to country. In many countries, it is forbidden to love and have sex with a person of the same sex.

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Every year, the condition of LGBT people tends to improve around the world. Activists and allies around the world made this progress and are still working on it. However, these advances are not homogeneous: in many countries, it is still dangerous to display your colors.

Being yourself shouldn't be a crime, yet it still is in 72 states. Many countries have made progress in the past decade, but a great deal of work remains to ensure basic rights for all. This is why the fight against homophobia and transphobia must continue.

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(in 2018)

  • 26 states recognize marriage for same-sex couples. 29 states recognize their right to adoption.

  • 124 states allow same-sex relationships. This does not mean, however, that these relationships are accepted by society. In some states, homosexuality is legal, but hampered by other laws (eg against propaganda).

  • 72 states criminalize same-sex relationships.

  • 8 states punish same-sex relationships with the death penalty.

For more information, see the ILGA report from which this data was taken

Canadians who know approximately how many countries criminalize homosexuality:

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LGBT people face a lot of issues, but here are some key issues that are found in almost every country.


109 states have no laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. In these countries, it is legal to fire someone from their job, evict them from their accommodation and deny them a service because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Some countries have laws that protect in one area (eg employment), but not in others (eg housing). In addition, the laws may depend on the regions of the country.


All communities of sexual and gender diversity can be victims of psychological and physical violence. However, this violence is difficult to study because it is not always reported. For example, Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide reports 677 murders of trans people in Brazil between 2010 and 2015.


Many countries do not allow the change of the gender designation on official documents. Those that allow it often make it a difficult-to-access process that involves medical requirements, such as multiple surgeries, which often result in sterilization of the individual. The degree of difficulty and the conditions of access to the change of designation of sex and name depend on the country.


This practice which aims to “cure” homosexuality or transidentity is prohibited in only 3 countries: Brazil, Ecuador and Malta. It can take several forms including psychoanalysis and aversion therapy (causing an unpleasant or painful sensation when the person has homosexual feelings). In addition to not producing the results it boasts, conversion therapy can cause anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation.


Justin, Russia

I come from a family like any other. My life changed when I turned 14 and realized I was gay. When my parents heard about it, they asked me: "Are you PD? I replied "No, I'm gay." They confiscated my computer and my phone. They stopped talking to me, they told me I was the shame of the family. I started protesting against homophobia and was arrested several times. I was beaten by the police and other students at school. I couldn't get a good education so I came to Canada

Mona, Burundi

My life in Burundi was complicated. My family did not accept me as a trans woman, and Burundi criminalizes the LGBTQ community. I couldn't take public transport or go out freely for fear of having problems. I was the legal representative of an LGBTQ association in Burundi, so I was accused of promoting homosexuality and put in a male prison. Fortunately I was released and was able to leave the country before being arrested again.

Ramy, Tunisia

In Tunisia, to be gay is to be criminal. From the moment you're born, you wait to get arrested. I had a lot of problems because of my activism: death threats, threats from the police, arrests for nothing, etc. I have a tattoo in Arabic that says "They come into houses to forbid love". Every time I watch it it reminds me that in Tunisia, people can get 3 years in prison just for being gay, lesbian or trans.

Listen to the full testimonials




Rainbow Railroad


Amnesty International

United Nations (Free and Equal)


Find out more about the 2018 campaign:

In 2018, Fondation Émergence joined forces with Rethink (creative agency) for its awareness campaign on the rights of LGBT people around the world.

Awards received for our campaign

1. One Show (NYC): OR Pencil: Design-Brand Installations

2. Marketing Awards - Public Service (Toronto): Argent- Public Service - Ambient - Large Scale, Argent - Public Service - Online Film Single, Bronze - Public Service - Experiential / Special Events / Stunts

3. Shopper Innovation - Public Service (Toronto): Gold: Original Idea, Gold: Reinvention

4. Créa Prize - Infopresse Competition (Montreal): Grand prize: Creativity - outreach, Prize: Digital - non-profit organization / humanitarian cause / interest group, Prize: non-profit organization / humanitarian cause / group of interest

5. Cannes International Festival of Creativity (France): Bronze Lion: Outdoor Lions

6. Applied Arts interactive & Advertising: Winner: Experiential / Artistic single, Winner: Pro Bono Single

7. Applied Arts Design 2019: Winner: Pro Bono Design, Winner: PSA Design

8. Atomic Awards: Silver: Online Video, Bronze: Atomic Idea

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