The Global LGBTQI+ Inclusive Democracy and Empowerment (GLIDE) Initiative is a unique collaboration between Outright International, Synergía – Initiatives for Human Rights, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). GLIDE seeks to stimulate the participation and engagement of LGBTIQ people and organizations in democratic spaces and processes. The GLIDE Initiative puts LGBTIQ people at the helm of democratic initiatives and enables LGBTIQ people to participate and influence decision-making to advance acceptance and be a force for addressing exclusionary laws, practices, and norms that seek to dismantle democracy and LGBTIQ rights.
Outright International works with partners around the globe to strengthen the capacity of the LGBTIQ human rights movement, document and amplify human rights violations, and advocate for inclusion and equality. Founded in 1990, with staff in over a dozen countries, Outright works with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies, and civil society partners.
Synergía – Initiative for Human Rights partners with organizations and human rights movements to protect and promote the human rights of all people, particularly those whose rights are most systematically and egregiously violated. Synergia addresses capacity gaps, provides funding and strategic guidance to prepare partners to assume leadership within human rights movements, and leverages avenues for human rights advocacy to gain the most traction.
The International Federation for Electoral Systems (IFES) collaborates with civil society, public institutions, and the private sector to build resilient democracies that deliver for everyone. Through technical assistance and applied research, IFES develops electoral bodies capable of conducting credible elections; effective and accountable governing stakeholders; civic and political processes in which all people can safely and equally participate; and innovative ways in which technology and data can positively serve elections and democracy.
Democratic systems are the foundation of free, just, and inclusive societies in which all individuals have the potential to fully enjoy their human rights. To realize this potential, democratic systems must have strong institutions, derived from the rule of law, accountability mechanisms, free and fair elections, and respect for pluralism. Democracy may not be perfect, but remains the most promising system for ensuring the rights and freedoms of all citizens.
However, the weakening of liberal democracies, the rise of authoritarianism and anti-gender movements, the rejection of multilateralism, and the delegitimization of existing systems of protection of human rights are contributing to shrinking civic space, democratic decline, and the erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Anti-gender and anti-LGBTIQ movements push anti-LGBTIQ rhetoric and policies that serve as a warning sign of further democratic backsliding and lay the groundwork for laws that infringe on all citizens’ rights. LGBTIQ communities are a scapegoat to divert attention away from leaders’ corruption, inefficacy, and failure to deliver. LGBTIQ individuals and communities are often the first casualties of eroding democracies and they are also the first line of defense. And, in too many countries, LGBTIQ people still face significant barriers to participation.
The lack of resources and capacity of many LGBTIQ organizations undermines the movement’s ability to push back on shrinking civic space and effectively advocate for inclusive democracy. The GLIDE Initiative seeks to fill these resource and capacity gaps and disrupt democratic backsliding and attacks on human rights by putting LGBTIQ communities at the helm of these democratic initiatives.
Given the inextricable link between democratic resilience and the advancement of LGBTIQ rights, safety, and security, GLIDE seeks to build stronger bridges between democracy initiatives and LGBTIQ movements. To do this, GLIDE will: