In 2017 ILGA embarked on the second roll-out of our world survey, the ILGA-RIWI global attitudes survey on attitudes to sexual, gender and sex minorities, in partnership with Viacom, Logo and SAGE.
This survey reached around 116,000 unique respondents in 75 countries (plus Hong Kong and Taiwan). Aware of the imprecision, but for simplicity in communicating in this document, we refer to ‘77 countries’ throughout this text. In each country we surveyed, we achieved a minimum of 1000 respondents, but in some this figure reached over 3000.
The fact that the digital data-collection mechanism we use (devised by RIWI – see methodology section below) allows us to cross borders with our questions creates exciting opportunities to assist advocacy and inform policy. We are able to enter the most hostile countries to sexual and gender minorities and elicit responses that would be virtually impossible to achieve using traditional in-person, group or phone polling methods. Our method is anonymized and leaves no tracks on digital devices, and as such respondent safety is ensured.
It is probably fair to say that in no country in the world can people of the same sex who are romantically or sexually attracted to each other feel safe enough to hold hands in the public space day or night in their own countries (although there are enclaves where at times it is safe). Likewise, in all societies, numerous people who dress, act or identify as one sex having been born another are exposed to verbal and physical abuse just for expressing themselves as they do, for being who they are. Invasive surgeries and non-recognition of their unique bodily construction, and numerous other indignities are visited upon people born with bodily organs, such as genitals, that are not typically male or female. Individuals belonging to these populations face discrimination and violence daily.
Despite the decades of growing awareness and acceptance of sexual, gender, and sex [characteristic] diversity, the force of negation still exerts great power all over the planet, played out in violence, negation or discrimination in policy and law, forced surgeries and numerous other violations. Variously and increasingly, we witness our identities and bodies being instrumentalised by political and religious forces that insist traditional norms are paramount and that we (sexual, gender and sex minorities) are anomalies. The backlash at national levels to progress made at the United Nations and at regional human rights institutions demonstrate the ideological war that is currently occurring.