Global LGBTI Seed Grants Program

The Williams Institute’s Global LGBTI Seed Grants Program is designed to encourage new empirical research focused on LGBTI populations in the Global South (Latin America, Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East/North Africa, Asia, and Pacific Islands) as well as amplify voices of researchers from those regions.

In 2022, the Williams Institute partnered with SAGE to offer an additional grant to foster research and data collection specifically on LGBTI older adults (ages 50 and above) in the region.

We are pleased to announce that seven proposals have been selected to receive awards.

Chile Trans Survey

The Chile Trans Survey will develop a national survey to understand the experiences of the transgender community in Chile, including non-binary people. The Chilean government does not collect data about the transgender community. This is a form of violence that denies the very existence of the transgender community and makes it even harder to expose the lack of opportunities and resources needed to improve the well-being of the community. Chile Trans Survey is the product of an alliance between OTD Association (a transfeminist organization in Chile) and Fundación SOL (a research center in Chile specialized in labor, union, and social security studies).

Maria J. Azócar, PhD
Research Analyst, Fundación SOL
Twice the Threat: Gender Identity, Refugee Status and Freedom of Movement in Lebanon

Over the past decade, more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon at an unprecedented rate. With a total population approaching 4 million people, Lebanon presently hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Lebanon’s social, political, economic and legal landscapes cast a blind eye upon refugees’ intersectional challenges – particularly those from the LGBTIQ+ community. LGBTQI+ refugees in Lebanon continue to endure extreme forms of violence, discrimination, stigmatization, and isolation in the “safe” places they seek. In June 2022, Lebanon’s Minister of Interior gave “urgent” instructions to security forces to stop gatherings of the LGBTIQ community, following what he referred to as pressure from religious institutions. Through key informant interviews and focus group discussions, MOSAIC and the Institute for Migration Studies (IMS) at the Lebanese American University will examine the different ways that the Ministry of Interior’s latest decision against the community, coupled with its already long-standing restrictions on the mobility/movement of the country’s refugee community, has added contributed to further insecurity within the LGBTIQ+ refugee community.

Jasmin Lilian Diab, PhD
Director, Institute for Migration Studies; Assistant Professor of Migration Studies, Lebanese American University
Trans Labor Rights Survey in Bolivia

Trans people in Bolivia, particularly trans women, have been organizing around work for over 20 years. Bolivian trans activists began organizing in the 1990s, first through sex worker unions in La Paz and Santa Cruz and then through national civil society organizations like the Organization of Transfeminine People of Bolivia (Organización de Personas Trans-Femininas de Bolivia — OTRAF Bolivia). These organizations first fought for labor rights and protections for trans sex workers and then expanded their work to national human rights policies, healthcare, and education for trans Bolivians. Activists continue to fight for trans labor rights and note that one barrier to developing more programs and national policy is the lack of studies on the world of work for trans people in Bolivia. Relevant statistics and rigorous studies on trans labor in Bolivia do not exist. This project will implement and analyze a survey of trans labor histories, experiences, and opportunities across Bolivia. The survey will canvas OTRAF members across Bolivia’s nine departments and Casa Trans clients in four departments. The survey will generate statistics that activists can use in discussions with policymakers and an academic article on trans labor politics.

Luna Humerez
President, OTRAF Bolivia
Laura Libertada, MSc
Vice President, OTRAF Bolivia
Calla Hummel, PhD
University of Miami
Malaysia LGBTI+ Mental Health Survey

Despite the surge in studies examining the prevalence and correlates of mental health issues among LGBTI+ people in Southeast Asia (particularly in Thailand and Philippines), Malaysia remains understudied.  To date, Malaysian LGBTI+ quantitative research has been limited to smaller studies on sexual health and safe sex measures. There is a need for a comprehensive study to collect empirical data on the extent of stigma and barriers to accessing healthcare among Malaysian LGBTI+ people and mental health inequities faced by this group. This survey of LGBTI+ people in Malaysia will document the mental health inequities for LGBTI+ people in Malaysia; uncover the extent of experiences of stigma, discrimination, barriers to accessing health care in Malaysia, and criminalization of LGBTI+ identities and report how these experiences are related to mental health; and explore the extent to which social support, including family, LGBTI+ community, and wider community support, mitigate the negative impacts of stigma and related experiences.

Kyle Tan, PhD
Research Fellow, Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies, University of Waikato
Wai Hsien Cheah, PhD
Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Lynda Ling, PhD
Lecturer, International Medical University, Malaysia

Global LGBTI Aging Seed Grants

Understanding Kinship in the Elderly LGB Population of Urban India

The aging lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population in India is less visible in the conversations around the rights and well-being of sexual minorities. Some issues of concern that this population may have include challenges in accessing health, coming to terms with one’s identity and property-related decision-making, amongst others. Social relations, including spouses, parents, siblings, romantic partners, friends and other chosen families, can be a pillar of support for the elderly LGB population in navigating through these challenges. This topic, however, is severely underexplored in India by researchers. Through in-depth interviews with people representing various identities within the elderly LGB population, we plan to conduct qualitative research using a community-based participatory approach to understand kinship in the elderly LGB population of urban India. Our project will be guided by consultative workshops and a panel of distinguished advisory board members. Our team includes LGBT community members and allies with diverse professional expertise and lived experiences that will inform and enrich our project. Our research can guide future inquiries and help inform policy/law that affects the lives of the LGB elderly population in India.

Salik Ansari
Researcher and Assistant Coordinator, Sangath
Violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travestis and Transsexual (LGBT) Elders in Brazil: The Impact of Notifications in the Health System from 2017 to 2021

Sexual rights and the right to aging are fundamental human rights. Brazil is one of the countries where structural homophobia is present and prevents the advancement of these rights for LGBTQIA+ people. This includes barriers such as stigma, discrimination, deprivation of public rights, the absence of policies and difficulty in accessing health services. Brazil is at the top of the rankings for violence against LGBTQIA+ people. Research can help to understand the magnitude of the violence and the impact on LGBTQIA+ elder people. This research aims to analyze data about violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, travesti and transsexual (LGBT) elders registered in the Brazilian universal health system from 2017 to 2021. Findings are expected to subsidize the understanding in Brazil about aging, violence and LGBT people in the health area and in an intersectoral perspective; (ii) stimulate the production of data that can support and hold local governments accountable for the implementation of laws, policies and services; (iii) stimulate and strengthen the civil society debate that includes LGBT elders and their human rights needs; and (iv) fight misinformation.

Daniel Canavese de Oliveira, PhD
Professor, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) - Porto Alegre, Brasil
Bersilaturahim on a Trans-National Level: A Participatory Action Research Project for Developing Trans-Affirming Elderly Care Services in Indonesia and Malaysia

The aim of this project is reflected in Bersilaturahim, a Malay word that means tying the bonds of friendship/kinship, connecting and uniting the stakeholders (academics/professionals and trans communities) in Indonesia and Malaysia to collaborate and develop trans-affirming elderly care services (ECS). Three objectives to be achieved are 1) to explore the meaning of aging well for older trans people; 2); to assess the needs of older trans people for designing trans-affirming ECS; and 3) to facilitate the cross-countries knowledge exchange between stakeholders. A mixed-methods design with a participatory action-research approach will be used in this 12-month project. Malaysian and Indonesian older trans people will be interviewed to explore the meanings of being old, the aging process, and aging well; factors associated with it; and ideas for trans-affirming ECS and how to implement them. In parallel, factors related to aging well; quality of life; and behavioral-psychological needs of older trans people will be surveyed anonymously. Data collection will be followed by field trips for knowledge exchange, network expansion, and co-producing good practice guidelines for trans-affirming ECS.

Andrian Liem, PhD
Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, Malaysia
Lita W Hastuti, PhD Candidate
Faculty of Psychology, Soegijapranata Catholic University, Indonesia
Benny Prawira, MPsi
Independent Researcher, Indonesia