Course dates:

20 January – 1 March 2020

Patterns of systematic violence and discrimination directed at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics (SOGIESC) are widely documented. These abuses include killings, physical attacks, torture, sexual assault, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, and discrimination in a variety of fields, including on the labour market and in health care services.

Collecting information and documenting evidence of human rights violations against LGBTI persons is important to give credibility to advocacy and policy-oriented work. However, it is neither sufficient nor easy. Firstly, data collection and reporting – if and when possible – must be translated into action for change at a number of levels (national, regional, international) and in a number of areas (legislation, policies, societal attitudes and behaviours) where multiple challenges still exist. Secondly, analysis and possible solutions are not simple or mono-dimensional. Indeed, human rights violations based on real or perceived SOGIESC features are often compounded by discrimination on other grounds such as sex, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, language, age, religion, belief, political or other opinion, disability, health (including HIV status), economic or social status, migration status, family status, or being a human rights defender. Therefore, it is often crucial to take an intersectional approach to SOGIESC advocacy, taking into consideration and addressing that discrimination often occurs due to the combination of multiple grounds of identity.

In this light, and bearing in mind that it is important to acknowledge the context-specific nature of each country, the MOOC provides an overview of human rights standards, mechanisms and practices for the protection of LGBTI persons around the world.



Learning objectives

Upon completion of this course participants will have acquired:

  • Knowledge about international standards for the protection of the human rights of LGBTI persons
  • Awareness of international and regional monitoring mechanisms in the area of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics
  • Information on some contextual situations and challenges
  • Knowledge of some practical strategies on human rights monitoring and advocacy related to the human rights of LGBTI persons


The course is articulated in three modules:

Module 1 focuses on international definitions and legal frameworks concerning LGBTI persons and their rights and related monitoring mechanisms. Theoretical aspects are accompanied by examples of concrete challenges and practices in order to generally frame and give context to the international discourse.

Module 2 is dedicated to specific contexts and challenges in the areas of societal attitudes, equality and non-discrimination, laws and policies (including decriminalisation), specific rights and freedoms. Analysis and examples from different regions provide an overview of the many situations faced by LGBTI persons worldwide.

Module 3 deals with the monitoring in practice of LGBTI rights in terms of specific actions, strategies and practices: reporting, strategic litigation, advocacy strategies, and synergies (between international and regional systems; among governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental actors).



The course is based on a participatory approach aimed at developing and reinforcing personal critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. Case studies will be used to identify cross-regional and cross-cutting issues and enable a global and multidimensional understanding of the topic.


Certificate of participation

At the end of the course, participants who have successfully completed 4 weekly discussions and 3 quizzes will receive a free certificate confirming their participation.


Target Audience

We designed this course for participants around the world who are actively interested and engaged in LGBTI work at different levels and wish to deepen their knowledge about relevant human rights legal frameworks, monitoring mechanisms, and strategies.



The coordination of the MOOC is care of KU Leuven, one of the 41 universities members of the European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (EMA/GC Europe).