Speaking Out Initiative
MSM-Led HIV and AIDS Advocacy
The MSMGF designed the Speaking Out Initiative in 2010 for a broad, global audience, with a rationale that expanding access to effective and tailored HIV programs must go hand-in-hand with strategies for supporting and resourcing rights- based advocacy. The MSMGF recognizes that when human rights are protected, fewer people become infected, and those living with HIV and their families are better able to cope with the virus. This is especially important for sexual minorities and other marginalized groups.
In 2011, the Speaking Out Initiative was adapted as a new technical and funding assistance pilot program. The long-germ aim is to support HIV advocacy efforts and leadership development at the grassroots level, conducted by and on behalf of MSM and trans advocates. Through context-appropriate adaptations and applications, the Initiative strove for broader structural change implications at the national and regional levels. Following implementation, Speaking Out evolved from having a regional advocacy focus, to become part of a wider community system strengthening process.
Speaking Out's 3 programmatic goals are:
1. Identifying, naming, and mapping stigma, discrimination, injustice, and violence targeted toward gay men, other MSM and transgender people in a specific city/region, with a particular focus on how these factors undermine the AIDS response
2. Supporting the development and implementation of locally generated advocacy Initiatives to address the issues identified and, more broadly, to influence structural factors that impinge upon the ability of MSM to access HIV services and fulfill their human rights
3. Supporting the self-realization and empowerment of MSM and transgender communities through the act of community education and organizing for advocacy, including support for leadership development
The Speaking Out Initiative in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Region and Honduras is supported by ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Programme, by the Levi-Strauss Foundation, and by Hivos.
The Speaking Out Initiative in Vietnam is supported in part by UNAIDS (2011) and by the Levi-Strauss Foundation (2013).
The Speaking Out Initiative in Kenya is supported by Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.