Our advocacy work aims to spread awareness among officials and policy-makers about LGBT rights across the globe, particularly in the Commonwealth, urging them to use their power and influence in support of the rights of LGBT people and effect real change in the lives of LGBT communities around the world. We utilise our established relationships with a network of UK parliamentarians; officials and policy-makers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development; and Commonwealth institutions.
The Kaleidoscope Trust's work with UK parliamentarians includes regular briefings both via newsletters and face-to-face meetings, helping to explain and frame the issue of the rights of LGBT people and any developments in this field. We have received cross party support from all major British political parties. Our Parliamentary Friends group was active in creating the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our reactive advocacy has included responding to developments in Uganda, India and Nigeria. We've briefed parliamentarians, and held meetings with country desks at the FCO, activists and NGOs to discuss strategy, responses and interventions to negative developments.
The Kaleidoscope Trust regularly briefs over 200 policy-makers and officials with a fortnightly digest of LGBT rights developments around the world, providing a vital and well-received source of up-to-date information.
We engage in advocacy with various Commonwealth institutions and key officials. We engage directly with the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Commonwealth Foundation. We collaborate closely with the Royal Commonwealth Society and, with them, have coordinated successful round-table discussions with key stakeholders within the Commonwealth. We aim to raise awareness of LGBT human rights in the Commonwealth in the run-up to and at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings and at other Commonwealth events, where possible. We co-hosted with our Scottish colleagues Equality Network a conference on the human rights of LGBT people in the Commonwealth in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN)
The Kaleidoscope Trust is the co-founder and coordinator of TCEN, the first civil society group to sustainably advocate on behalf of LGBT people in the Commonwealth. TCEN currently has member organisations in more than 30 countries from all Commonwealth regions. Its goal is: "The Commonwealth accepting and upholding the equal rights of all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression and sex characteristics, by 2030".
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGMs)
As part of advocacy work for the CHOGMS held in Sri Lanka in 2013 and in Malta in 2015, we commissioned and published two reports, the most recent of which is Speaking Out 2015: The Rights of LGBTI People Accross the Commonwealth. Following preparation in London with TCEN members, diplomatic allies and the Commonwealth institutions, we were able to send a delegation of eight TCEN members from all Commonwealth regions to Malta for the November 2015 CHOGM. Two sessions on the rights of LGBT people were held as part of the Commonwealth People's Forum - a first in its history. One of these sessions was an innovative Policy Dialogue between LGBT civil society and policy makers, which was very well attended. It was chaired by a DFID Minister and included the Maltese Minister for Civil Liberties and TCEN activists.
TCEN delegates also attended the first ever Commonwealth Women's Forum where the Kaleidoscope Trust's Executive Director made the only dedicated presentation on sexual and gender minority women's issues. TCEN members also informed the approaches to gender and sexuality issues taken up by delegates to the Youth Forum from the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN). Outcomes of our engagement are clear in that language supporting the rights of LGBT people within the People's, Women's and Youth Forum statements; the Malta Declaration from the People's Forum was particularly strong on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), using language directly informed by the key advocacy positons developed by the Kaleidoscope Trust in conjunction with TCEN.
The TCEN delegation's engagement resulted in the rights of LGBT people being consistently raised across civil society by a group that was diverse in terms of identity, ethnicity, gender, faith and country of origin. The CHOGM communiqué itself also reflected language developed by TCEN. The TCEN delegation achieved an unprecedented level of visibility at CHOGM 2015 of the issues facing LGBT people in the Commonwealth.
Preparations are now underway for the CHOGM to be held in London in 2018. At a meeting held in January 2017, TCEN drafted an ambitious strategy for the 2018 CHOGM which aims to build on the achievements of 2015.