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UN Report: ‘No Room For You’: The Right to Political Participation for SOGI Communities In Kenya and Bangladesh (2024)

ReportOUT proudly submitted a paper in response to the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’s call for contributions on electoral participation and SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). The submission addresses critical barriers to political participation faced by sexual and gender minority populations in Kenya and Bangladesh. 

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Please read and download this report (opens in PDF) by clicking here

Report summary:

As part of the UN’s broader efforts to examine and protect LGBTQI+ human rights, this report provides a detailed analysis of the laws, policies, and practices in Kenya and Bangladesh that impede political participation based on SOGI. Published in 2024, the report investigates how these restrictions affect civil society and democracy. 

The report, authored by ReportOUT Human Rights Researchers; Arnold Ochieng and Winfred Makaba, both from Kenya, puts the spotlight on Kenya and Bangladesh to highlight specific legislative and societal obstacles to the political participation of SOGI communities. It documents how these restrictions impact their ability to vote, stand for office, and engage in electoral processes.


Kenya and Bangladesh both present significant challenges to the political participation of SOGI communities, albeit in different contexts. In Kenya, same-sex relations are criminalized under the Penal Code, and the Constitution does not recognize non-binary or transgender identities, effectively excluding them from protections meant to ensure gender equality. This legal framework, combined with societal prejudice and the proposed 2023 Family Protection Bill, poses substantial barriers to SOGI political participation.  

In Bangladesh, while same-sex relations are also criminalized, the government has made some strides by officially recognizing a third gender since 2013 and allowing individuals to register as voters under this identity. However, the scope of this recognition remains limited as political participation and representation are severely constrained. This partial recognition, coupled with societal discrimination, limits the effective political engagement of SOGI individuals. 

Both countries' legislative and societal environments contravene their constitutional commitments and international human rights obligations. These systemic restrictions obstruct not only the political participation of SOGI communities but also their broader civil rights, hampering the development of inclusive and democratic societies.  

ReportOUT’s report highlights the urgent need for legal and societal reforms to ensure the full political inclusion of sexual and gender minorities, aligning with global human rights standards and promoting democratic participation for all. 

The report underscores the urgent need for legal reforms and societal shifts to ensure the political inclusion of SOGI communities in Kenya and Bangladesh. It highlights the complex interplay between legal frameworks, societal attitudes, and political participation, advocating for a more inclusive approach that respects and promotes the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

This report reflects the comprehensive nature of ReportOUT's research, aiming to inform and influence policy changes that foster greater political inclusion for SOGI communities globally. 

Another ReportOUT Success!

Our report was a success!

This research was cited by the United Nations at the Human Rights Council!

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