Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) minorities are the most vulnerable minorities in the world. SOGI minorities historically have been the quintessential canaries in the coalmine, their very existence a threat to traditional norms and social structures.
The Franklin & Marshall Global Barometer of Gay Rights (F&M GBGR®) and Global Barometer of Transgender Rights (F&M GBTR™) measure state- and societal-level protection or persecution of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) minorities worldwide. The barometers are housed at Franklin & Marshall College, an undergraduate liberal arts institution established in 1787 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
We provide a database of SOGI rights that is comprehensive, accurate, and reliable. Our approach combines universal principles of human rights with quantitative research methods, allowing for the generation of multi-year worldwide trends in SOGI human rights progression or regression.
To date, we have sourced data for over 197 countries and regions. The barometers have been reviewed by partners in over 40 countries. They include grassroots activists, international and local organizations, academics, policy professionals, and human rights consultants who have lent valuable insights on local and regional conditions.
The F&M GBGR® and GBTR™ utilize universal principles of human rights that apply to all human beings, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The F&M GBGR® and GBTR™ are intended to provide objective data to inform policy and research.
The history of the barometers spans back to 2010. Dr. Susan Dicklitch-Nelson, F&M Professor of Government, approached Berwood Yost, Director of the F&M Center for Opinion Research, with an idea for an ambitious and comprehensive system that would document and measure state-level rights for sexual minorities around the globe. The Barometer of Gay Rights (BGR) emerged as a result. The initial ideation for the research was published in 2011 in the Human Rights Quarterly, applying the nascent Barometer to a case study of Uganda. The BGR debuted with 29 items measuring human rights in 188 countries.
Why a barometer of SOGI rights?
Over many years, the BGR underwent several iterations based on universal principles of human rights detailed in several international human rights documents, most importantly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Yogyakarta Principles. Eventually, it was renamed to the Global Barometer of Gay Rights (GBGR®) to reflect the universal human rights foundations as well as global reach of the research.
In 2018, the project received funding from the LGBTI Global Development Partnership to triple-verify data through regional peer review experts, including grassroots activists, scholars, and policy professionals. As understandings of sexuality, gender, and human rights have evolved globally, the need to create a sister barometer focusing on the unique challenges faced by transgender individuals became increasingly clear. The Global Barometer of Transgender Rights (GBTR™) began with seven items in 2018 to complement the GBGR® but eventually became a stand-alone barometer in its own right. The GBTR™ currently consists of 15 items.
To date, the project has collected 52,000 data points and has triple-verified the data through 50+ country and regional experts in more than 40 countries.
International research was supported by the Multi-Donor Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Global Human Rights Initiative (GHRI). The GHRI was founded in 2019 and brings together the United States Agency for International Development, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Global Affairs Canada, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Equality Without Borders, The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, and Franklin and Marshall College. The goal of the GHRI is to help protect LGBTI people in developing countries from violence, discrimination, stigma, and criminalization by 1) conducting research and data-collection to inform policy; 2) supporting social and behavior change communications and related capacity building; 3) advancing projects in focus countries; and 4) providing emergency response to LGBTI individuals and organizations.
Professor of Government,
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Center for Opinion Research,
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