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Government Should Support Community Activists Working to Protect Survivors

Gladys Koskey, 48, has always kept her home in Trans Mara, southwestern Kenya, open to friends and relatives. But in the past decade, her home has also become an important refuge for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Gladys leads a group of…
Gladys Koskey helps a nine-years-old rape survivor who lives in her home with her writing.
News

Former Students Share Their Stories to Press for Change

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in South Korea are bullied and harassed by both students and teachers in schools. When they seek help and support from teachers or counselors, they are often instead “outed” to other teachers or…
G Lee, an LGBT person in South Korea © 2021 Human Rights Watch
News

Women Athletes Undergoing Invasive Medical Procedures without Consent

After training for hours on end, year after year, some women athletes – particularly those competing on the world stage – are getting their careers and successes ripped away because of “sex testing,” practices, which are invasive and medically unnecessary…
A woman holds a photo of a group of female runners competing
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Discrimination Follows them from Home to the US Border

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, sometimes called the Northern Triangle, often face violence and discrimination from their families, gangs, and even the police. When they try to seek asylum…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
News

From Fighting Apartheid to Demanding Equality for Women and LGBT People

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women of all races marched through the streets of Pretoria, South Africa in defiance of apartheid. They stood outside the Union Buildings, the government seat, protesting apartheid, and sang, “You strike a woman, you strike a…
Women march on the Union Buildings protesting apartheid in Pretoria, South Africa, August 9, 1956.
News

Men, Transgender Women Particularly Vulnerable, Lacking Services

During Syria’s civil war, many people have been subjected to sexual violence, resulting in ongoing trauma. Many of these victims are men and they have described how such violence gets worse if they are considered gay, or “soft” as the local term…
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Fumino Sugiyama is a father, a business owner, a trans rights activist, and the director of Tokyo Pride. But before all that, he was an international athlete and a member of Japan’s women’s fencing team.  This summer, Japan was supposed to be…
Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender man, holds his Japanese ID card, which reads “female,” at his home in Tokyo.
News

Why Sex Work Should be Decriminalized

How did you find sex workers willing to talk about their work despite it being illegal in South Africa? It’s very difficult to gain sex workers’ trust without connections to people already actively supporting sex workers. For one, because their…
Sex workers wearing masks lead a march to mark International Sex Workers Rights Day in Johannesburg March 3, 2011
News

How Former President Jammeh Trapped, Raped, and Sexually Exploited Women

When did you first hear that Jammeh had raped and sexually assaulted women? The first stories surfaced when Human Rights Watch Senior Counsel Reed Brody and I started collecting evidence for the “Campaign to Bring Yahya Jammeh and his Accomplices to…
Fatou “Toufah” Jallow, May 25, 2019.
News

Women Tell Their Stories

Abortion in all instances, including rape, is illegal in Honduras. Any woman who has an abortion, and anyone found to have helped her, can be charged with a crime and imprisoned. For that reason, La Línea (“The Line”) was a rare resource in…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.
News

A Regressive Law is Forcing Some Transgender People to be Sterilized

What is life like for transgender people in Japan? In Japan, the struggles for transgender people are largely invisible. Especially how hard it is to become legally recognized. In general, most people don’t know that Japanese law requires trans…
Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender man, holds his Japanese ID card, which reads “female,” at his home in Tokyo.
News

Tales of Activism in the Fight Against Sexual Violence

Support and Justice - Aminetou Mint Ely More than two decades of activism helping Mauritania’s rape survivors have not dulled Aminetou Mint Ely’s fire. Always dressed in the brightly colored melahfas, traditional…
Rape survivors, NGO leaders, and activists supporting women’s and girls’ rights in Mauritania, Nouakchott, 2018.
News
Aren’t these laws just designed to protect religious freedom in the US? Religious freedom is an important value, but these laws don’t respond to any real-world threat to religious freedom and are more about legitimizing discrimination. The…
Demonstrators protest during oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorodo Civil Rights Commission case at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2017.
News

Shattered Dreams and Broken Homes in Kumasi

  “We can’t ever go home again,” said one of the three young women, barely in their 20s, as they told their story and struggled to fight back their tears. They looked to each other for support and protection as they sat in the small hotel…
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Widespread Sexual Violence during Kenya’s 2017 Elections

    Judith Wavinya*, 30, was walking home on a cool August night in her neighborhood of Dandora in Nairobi, after spending the evening with her sister. She had to get back home to her three children and to prepare for the new day –…
Judith Wavinya (not her real name), 30, was attacked by two men on the night of August 11, 2017, as she was walking home. They asked if she knew them, threatened her with knives, and took her to an isolated place where they beat her badly and one of them
News

How a Rape Survivor Found the Courage to Fight for Justice in India

What should have been a short ride from one village to another in India turned into a nightmare that will haunt Kajal (not her real name), a shy young woman, for the rest of her life.  Kajal, who was 23 and married at the time, had set out on…
A close-up photo showing the hands of a sexual violence victim in India.
News
What are some of the misconceptions around being born intersex? Unfortunately, in our society we’re still at a point where most people don’t know the basic facts about being intersex. People think it is very rare, but really, up to two percent of the…
A poster by intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis
News

University’s LGBT Student Group Provides Support System

  Patrick’s knees were shaking as he marched with his university in the Pride Parade in the Philippine capital, Manila. “It’s a big step for me,” he said. “To accept my sexuality and to come out of the closet.”…
LGBT Rainbow Flag
News

How US Laws Leave Educators Fearful, Students Vulnerable to Bullying

Ellen A. just wanted to be a good teacher. But she felt she couldn’t help all of her students. It was fear that stopped her. Fear of discovery, fear of being fired. It stopped her from being herself day in and day out. Ellen, who is in her 50s…
LGBT Rainbow Flag