What to expect for LGBT+ rights in 2020?

4 minutes read

2020 looks like it will be a critical year for LGBT+ rights around the world. Predictions are hard to make, but here’s some issues I’m expecting to dominate the LGBT+ rights agenda in 2020.

2019 drew to an end with some great news from Belize: The Court of Appeals ruled that the constitutional prohibition on sex discrimination includes sexual orientation. While the ruling is a great victory, more work will need to be done to make sure the state corrects the practice of exclusion in a new piece of legislation. 

LGBT+ activists will keep taking the fight for LGBT+ rights to the courts in many countries, like the cases for marriage equality and access to public housing in Hong Kong and decriminalization of same-sex relationships in Mauritius and Kenya. In 2020, we will stand with our partners and support their work on these and other cases. 

In 2015 the Mexican Supreme Court outlawed all bans on marriage equality, but in December 2019 a constitutional amendment put forward by the ruling party forced any state that hasn't complied with the ruling to do so. All Out will work with our partners to push all 13 Mexican states without marriage equality to change their civil codes in 2020.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica will offer marriage equality by 26 May 2020 thanks to a Supreme Court ruling from August 2018.

After Taiwan was the first country in Asia to pass marriage equality, China will review the draft of the new civil code in March 2020. Legalising same-sex marriage was among the top suggestions made by the Chinese public.

Challenges and opportunities to advancing LGBT+ rights


Alongside these great opportunities for LGBT+ people, some challenges lie ahead of us in 2020 and All Out will be there to help partners on the ground.

January 27 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. With Poland, Russia, and other countries in Europe seeing unprecedented acts of hate, fuelled by rising forces of fascism, this was an occasion to reflect on Europe’s past and how to prevent history from repeating itself.

Brexit became a reality on January 31. According to some lawyers and activists, this could have an impact on the lives of LGBT+ people in the UK. All Out will work with partners on the ground to ensure that LGBT+ rights are protected during and after Brexit.

The World Expo takes place in Dubai later this year, a country which punishes same-sex relationships with up to 10 years in prison. We will have a critical opportunity to mobilize and raise global awareness about the persecution of LGBT+ people happening in Dubai.

Brazil's Supreme Court made a historic decision in 2019: discrimination against LGBT+ people should be treated as a crime. But there's still a lot of work to do to make sure LGBT+ people are safe. Every month, dozens of LGBT+ people are murdered in Brazil. Countless others survive horrible, violent attacks. Most of the time, there is no punishment for the perpetrators. No justice, no dignity, no peace. We owe it to our LGBT+ friends and siblings to keep fighting throughout 2020. 

Ana and Leandro, All Out activists in Brazil, in delivering All Out's petitions signatures to the Brazil Supreme Court .

The Australian government is promoting the Religious Freedom Bill which will compromise the rights to healthcare, education, employment and the safety of LGBT+ people. One of our members has already launched a campaign to stop it.

And then, of course, there will be the 2020 US presidential election. The implications of the 2020 US presidential election are far-reaching. According to Law Professor Noah Feldman, “Unless the Democrats win both the presidency and the Senate in 2020, the next decade will likely see a sharp turn to the right on the [Supreme] [C]ourt.” We all know how influential the Supreme Court can be on the lives of LGBT+ people.

The election could also have a deep impact at the state level. As Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, said to BuzzFeed, “there are fewer powerful states that we can count on, and there are more powerful states that are hostile to LGBTIQ rights.”

The consequences of this have already played out in recent years. Andrew Gilmour, the outgoing UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, told The Associated Press that “populist authoritarian nationalists” in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia are responsible for a backlash against human rights, including those of LGBT+ people, and “a whole closing of civil society space.”

Together, we can stop this backlash and ensure that 2020 is marked by strong moves towards equality, dignity and justice for LGBT+ communities everywhere.

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