5 reasons why the Netherlands should support LGBTIQ+ people worldwide

A group of people standing in a lobby, holding a sign.
Last updated on: 12 March 2024

More and more countries worldwide are introducing anti-LGBTIQ+ laws. Criminalisation and punishment of LGBTIQ+ people has serious consequences for the fight against AIDS. In many countries, these laws are making it increasingly difficult for people to get life-saving HIV care, as people are afraid to get tested for fear of persecution. The Netherlands is an important ally of LGBTIQ+ people (and their human rights) worldwide. Without this support, LGBTIQ+ organisations and activists defending their rights cannot survive. Some Dutch political parties want to make significant cuts in this type of support. To call on the government to continue supporting LGBTQ+ rights worldwide, we presented a petition signed by more than 83,000 citizens to Parliament on January 23.

In this article, we outline 5 reasons why the Dutch government must continue to support LGBTIQ+ people worldwide.


Homosexuality is criminalised in 65 countries

There are more and more discriminatory laws against LGBTIQ+ people worldwide. These laws are also becoming increasingly fierce and radical. We see this, for example, in Uganda and Russia, where radical legislation means that the freedom and security of LGBTIQ+ people is in jeopardy. We see that in countries with anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation the number of gay men with HIV is 5 times higher than in countries without such laws. In Uganda, for example, people do not dare to be tested for fear of the death penalty or to endanger your family. Anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation is also being formulated in Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania. A worrying situation for many people in those countries.

Anti-LGBTIQ+ groups receive a lot of money from religious sources. So we must support human rights.

Conservative groups that play a role in the initiation of discriminatory laws against LGBTIQ+ people receive a lot of money from (amongst others) religious groups from the United States and Russia. In the countries where we work, conservative groups are receiving increasing amounts of money. In order to compete with these millions in (religious) support, activists who stand up for the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in their country also need financial support. Otherwise, they will not be heard.

The Netherlands is a frontrunner in the field of LGBTIQ+ rights. Let’s make sure it stays that way!
The Netherlands is one of the few countries and also one of the largest donors when it comes to global support for LGBTIQ+ rights. The Netherlands has a strong reputation in this area worldwide. This applies to foreign policy, but also to the example the Netherlands sets as a pioneer in its own legislation. The Netherlands was the first country where LGBTIQ+ people are allowed to get married. Many Dutch people believe that LGBTIQ+ people are equal and that they should be treated that way. This is also clearly evident from our petition, in which more than 83,000 people call upon Dutch politicians not to cut back on their support for LGBTIQ+ rights. Beyond that, they want the Netherlands to continue to speak out against anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation, and firmly fight for the right to care for everyone.

As one of the most important donors worldwide, the Netherlands carries a lot of weight. If even Dutch support were to disappear, LGBTIQ+ groups would lose all their support.

People are fleeing due to discriminatory laws

By supporting LGBTIQ+ people, you create a safer world. Human rights violations cause a lot of instability. Dictators abolish democracy and attack minorities. This also makes it unsafe for people, especially minorities. As a result, you see people fleeing. They flee to countries where they can live freely. Every person who has to flee to survive has the right to asylum, but it is even better if people never have to leave their country under these circumstances.

Attack on minorities is a prelude of the breakdown of democracy

By supporting LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities, you also support democracy and the rule of law. Worldwide we see a rise of dictatorships. A common tactic for these leaders to gain power is to attack minorities, such as LGBTIQ+ people. If you tackle the decline of democracy from the start, namely before these rulers attack minorities, you ensure that countries are less likely to descend into autocracies. This will strengthen both the position of LGBTIQ+ people in those countries and, more broadly, democracy. This is not only good for them, but also for the Netherlands itself. Our position in the world depends on how democratic other countries are.