As International Youth Day approaches (12 August), Youth Voices Count calls for a new generation of gay and transgender activists to come forward, to raise our voices from a whisper to a ROAR!
As other parts of the world sees incredible progress on the rights of gay and transgender people – most notably marriage equality in the USA and much of Europe – across Asia and the Pacific, gay men and transgender people continue to face discrimination and violence. It is illegal for two men to have consensual sex in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the Aceh Province and South Sumatra parts of Indonesia, as well as many of the Pacific Islands, including Samoa and Tonga. And even where homosexual acts are not criminalised, higher age of consent limits gay and transgender youth’s access to vital health services and puts them at greater risk of HIV.


Legal recognition of transgender people is gaining across the region but often with significant restrictions or conditions, such as where legal gender can only be changed after sex-reassignment surgery, regardless of their overall appearance or how they may identify.Social stigma remains high and embedded in culture and religion. Discrimination continues to limit gay and transgender people’s opportunities in many vital areas of their lives, including work and education.