International Lesbian and Gay Association Is Founded Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

The International Lesbian and Gay Association was established in a postwar era of increasing globalization to address human rights issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals around the world.

Summary of Event

On August 8, 1945, the United States of America had ratified the Charter of the United Nations United Nations Charter Charter, United Nations and became the third member nation to join the international organization. This act fulfilled the Wilsonian dream of an international tribunal to address concerns among nations. Thirty-three years later, on August 8, 1978, thirty men, attending a meeting of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality Campaign for Homosexual Equality, England Homosexual Equality, England, Campaign for in Coventry, England, established the International Gay Association (IGA), later named the International Lesbian and Gay Association, or ILGA, in 1986. [kw]International Lesbian and Gay Association Is Founded (Aug. 8, 1978) [kw]Lesbian and Gay Association Is Founded, International (Aug. 8, 1978) [kw]Gay Association Is Founded, International Lesbian and (Aug. 8, 1978) International Lesbian and Gay Association Lesbian and Gay Association, International Civil rights;worldwide International Gay Association [c]Organizations and institutions;Aug. 8, 1978: International Lesbian and Gay Association Is Founded[1270] [c]Government and politics;Aug. 8, 1978: International Lesbian and Gay Association Is Founded[1270] Doucé, Joseph Dudgeon, Jeff

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) is an organization in Great Britain whose mission includes promoting legal and socioeconomic equality for bisexuals, gays, and lesbians. The group was originally named the North Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee (NWHLRC) when it was founded at Church House, Deansgate, Manchester, England on October 7, 1964, but it changed its name to the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in 1971. CHE considered itself a democratic organization shunning the hierarchical leadership model favored by most mainstream groups.

One of the primary goals of the Coventry meeting was to pressure Amnesty International Amnesty International to address the oppression of sexual minorities around the globe. Amnesty International had been established in London in 1961 in response to Peter Berenson’s “The Forgotten Prisoners,” which he wrote after reading a report in the London Observer about two students in Portugal who had been arrested for toasting freedom in a Lisbon bar. Thirteen years later, in 1991, Amnesty International added gay and lesbian rights to its organizational mandate.

The 1978 CHE meeting in Coventry was remarkable for its diversity and vision. The men in attendance represented seventeen organizations from fourteen nations, mostly European. ILGA’s founding members include Joseph Doucé, Doucé, Joseph a gay Baptist preacher and director of the Centre du Christ Liberateur in Paris, and Jeff Dudgeon, Dudgeon, Jeff a gay activist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Belfast, Northern Ireland

The site of the meeting is itself an interesting nexus of historical coincidences that marked the coming of the postwar global era. By 1978, jet travel and telecommunications were revolutionizing the world as more and more Westerners and other global consumers accessed and used technology services. The net effect of technological advances annihilated distance and leveled space and time, establishing and expanding global markets. Globalization afforded greater opportunities for international contacts and raised awareness of human rights abuses around the world, including the abuse and oppression of GLBT persons.


Throughout its several decade tenure working to promote basic human rights for GLBT persons, the International Lesbian and Gay Association has been instrumental in identifying and raising awareness of human rights abuses against sexual minorities throughout the world. ILGA played a key role, for example, in lobbying the World Health Organization World Health Organization;and delisting of homosexuality as illness[delisting of homosexuality as illness] (WHO) to drop “homosexuality” from its list of illnesses in 1990. In 1985, ILGA had published its first Pink Book, Pink Book (International Lesbian and Gay Association) a comprehensive census of the legal status of gays and lesbians around the globe.

Even with its excellent record of championing the cause of international gay and lesbian rights, ILGA has not escaped controversy. Both personal tragedy and political scandal have shaded ILGA’s history since its creation in 1978. The brutal and mysterious 1990 killing in France of ILGA cofounder Doucé, was both a personal tragedy and a loss for ILGA’s human rights work. In addition to his work with ILGA, Doucé’s Centre du Christ Liberateur Centre du Christ Liberateur, Paris in Paris ministered to the needs of French sexual minorities. The Centre’s advocacy for and provision of human support services to homosexuals, pedophiles, sadomasochists, and transsexuals could have marked Doucé as a target for political investigation by the Renseignements Généraux (RG), Renseignements Généraux, France the intelligence gathering arm of the French national police.

According to numerous published accounts, the Centre du Christ Liberateur had been burglarized and under surveillance throughout the summer of 1990. On the evening of July 19, 1990, two plain-clothed men who identified themselves as police officers arrived at Doucé’s apartment, which he shared with his lover in Paris. The men asked Doucé to accompany them for questioning, and he was never again seen alive. Doucé’s badly decomposed body was found in Rambouillet woods, southwest of Paris, in October.

Another political scandal has affected ILGA. In July, 1993, ILGA was granted nongovernmental organization (NGO) representative status with the United Nations (U.N.). In 1993 and 1994, sessions of the U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities included statements issued on behalf of ILGA. A 1994 session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights Commission on Human Rights, United Nations Human Rights, United Nations, Commission on also included statements made in the name of ILGA. However, in September, 1994, ILGA’s consultative status with the U.N. was suspended after a protracted and determined effort by conservative U.S. senator Jessie Helms Helms, Jesse (R-NC) to revoke ILGA’s privileges and standing. Helms objected to ILGA’s status within the U.N. and its Economic and Social Council because the North American Man/Boy Love Association North American Man/Boy Love Association Man/Boy Love Association, North American[Man Boy] (NAMBLA) was a member of ILGA.

ILGA members then voted 214-30 to suspend the membership status of NAMBLA and two other groups (Project Truth/Free Will and Vereniging Martijn), deeming these organizations unqualified for membership status because their primary aim was to support or promote pedophilia. Pedophilia Despite revoking the three memberships, ILGA’s applications for U.N. consultative status have been repeatedly rejected, the latest rejection coming in January of 2006. International Lesbian and Gay Association Lesbian and Gay Association, International Civil rights;worldwide

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Adam, Barry D., Willem Jan Duyvendak, and André Krouwel, eds. The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a Worldwide Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Hendriks, Aart, Rob Tielman, and Evert van der Veen, eds. The Third Pink Book: A Global View of Lesbian and Gay Liberation and Oppression. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1993.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">International Lesbian and Gay Association.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">LaViolette, Nicole, and Sandra Whitworth. “No Safe Haven: Sexuality as a Universal Human Right and Gay and Lesbian Activism in International Politics.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 23, no. 3 (1994): 563.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Ogilvie, Dayne. “NAMBLA Expelled from Rights Group.” Capital Xtra!, July 15, 1994, p. 17.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Stychin, Carl, and Didi Herman, eds. Law and Sexuality: The Global Arena. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Waaldijk, Kees, et al. Tip of an Iceberg: Anti-lesbian and Anti-gay Discrimination in Europe, 1980-1990, a Survey of Discrimination and Anti-discrimination in Law and Society. Utrecht, the Netherlands: International Lesbian and Gay Association, 1991.

December 1, 1988: First World AIDS Day

1989: Act Up Paris Is Founded

1990: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Is Founded

September 16, 1994: U.N. Revokes Consultative Status of International Lesbian and Gay Association

June 17, 1995: International Bill of Gender Rights Is First Circulated

October 9-12, 1998: First International Retreat for Lesbian and Gay Muslims Is Held

November, 1999: First Middle Eastern Gay and Lesbian Organization Is Founded

Categories: History