International Human Rights

Working on national, regional, and international levels, Arcus contributes to the development of a global movement integrating sexual orientation and gender identity into shared conceptions of human rights. To do this work, Arcus invests in policy and cultural changes in targeted countries—primarily in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. We also invest in change-makers and their leadership at the United Nations and within human rights organizations with regional scope, with priority given to Global South-led groups.

Arcus Supports:

  1. Policy changes at the national level to counter discrimination and violence and to support rights such as privacy, free expression, health, and legal recognition of gender identity. Where policy changes are unrealistic, projects may seek cultural change with clear, measurable indicators and expected outcomes. Arcus does not provide direct grants for this work. Instead, we provide support through intermediary partner organizations that have the capacity to re-grant the funds at the country level according to clear strategies.
  2. International and regional organizations’ efforts to document human rights abuses related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and to advocate for improvements before the U.N. (for example, through the Universal Periodic Review process and U.N. human rights treaty bodies) and regional human rights bodies. Particular attention is paid to ensuring national compliance with human rights obligations and U.N. and regional recommendations.
  3. Capacity development to better prepare public officials and activists in the Global South to advocate for respect of human rights and nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Particular attention is paid to gaining support for LGBT rights from Global South countries with regional influence; from mainstream human rights, democracy, women’s, faith, and other movements; and from influential political and social groupings to mobilize others against homophobia and transphobia.


This program aims to ensure the human rights of transgender people, lift LGBT and pro-LGBT faith voices particularly at the United Nations, and increase the funding available to the LGBT-related work of other foundations, governments, corporations, and individuals. In addition to the Arcus Foundation’s targeted support for international projects, we are proud to be part of a growing network of funders involved in this work. If your proposal cannot be prioritized within the above funding areas, please refer to the International LGBT Inclusive Funders List for other funding sources.