One in three European and Central Asian LGBTI organisations received no external funding in 2017

Research carried out by ILGA-Europe and the Global Philanthropy Project reveals one in three LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia received no external funding in 2017.

The report shows that the most important strategies identified by activists are poorly funded. These strategies include countering populist and right-wing movements, providing emergency support and supporting LGBTI communities.

“In the current socio-political context, LGBTI people and activists are often at the forefront of suffering from rising populism and extremism. But LGBTI activists who are working to resist from groups and institutions a rollback of rights, protections and equal opportunities across the region, are doing so with a lack of sufficient resources.” notes ILGA-Europe Programmes Director Björn van Roozendaal.

It is increasingly clear that backlash against equality and threats to civil society support are no longer limited to Eastern Europe, but are also occurring across Western Europe.

Recent examples include public manifestations of transphobia trying to block access to human rights for trans people in the UK, an attack on a LGBT centre in Barcelona by right-wing extremists and an orthodox declaration against the human rights of LGBTI people in the Netherlands.

“Overall resources and capacity in the region don’t match the challenges at hand, thereby increasing the potential that we could rapidly lose ground. This is why there is an urgent need for governments and other funders to step up their support and make sure civil society groups get access to more and better funding across Europe. And that they do so now.” added van Roozendaal.

The data also points to several areas of organising that can help respond against the backlash, including supporting LGBTI groups working who work with underrepresented groups within the LGBTI community, such as trans and intersex people, as well as LGBTI migrants and refugees. 

For more information, contact ILGA-Europe media team at or Programmes Director Björn van Roozendaal at +32 49 762 5322

Read more via ILGA-Europe



Much of the story of LGBTI activism in Europe and Central Asia can be seen through the lens of progress. Of communities empowered, lives protected and enriched, laws and minds changed, regional standards created. LGBTI organisations across various parts of the region have been at the forefront of change in recent years. At the same time, the threat of pushback against hard fought wins exists almost everywhere for LGBTI communities. The shift towards populism and rightwing ideology across Europe, the closing of space for civil society in many countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, West Asia and Central Asia, and the scapegoating of LGBTI and other vulnerable communities all pose a real threat to the progress that movements in Europe and Central Asia have made.

The current state of funding for LGBTI movements in Europe and Central Asia also presents a significant and urgent challenge, with many of the organisations that have led the progress and are fighting against the rollback of rights, doing so without enough resources.

Assumptions exist about the ability of LGBTI organisations across Europe, particularly in Western and Northern Europe, to access funding, and even the necessity of these resources given that “the job is done” in Europe. The publication in June 2018 by ILGA-Europe of Funding for LGBTI Activism in Europe and Central Asia: Priorities and Access to Resources (hereafter referred to as “ILGAEurope Survey”), a first-ever funding needs assessment of LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia, provided much-needed data that creates tools to interrogate many of the assumptions held about the funding landscape in the region. By comparing the key findings from that report with a deeper-dive analysis of European and Central Asian grantmaking data from the 2015-2016 Global Resources Report: Philanthropic and Government Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Communities (hereafter referred to as “the Global Resources Report”), published in April 2018 by the Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues, this report provides rich and compelling data for movements and funders alike.

Access the report here

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