In this workshop, we aim to discuss the right to freedom of speech for LGBT and sexual rights activists, looking at case studies of violations from around the world. The discussants, together with the audience, will unpack why and how these violations take place, as well as discuss the strategies and policy recommendations to ensure that freedom of sexual expression is protected online.
Debates around dissenting voices and their right to freedom of expression - particularly on the internet - primarily revolve around political and religious dissent. This is despite the fact that, alongside politics and religion, sexual content is the most pervasively censored, regulated, and persecuted speech online. Therefore, this workshop build on the success of the 2015 session “LGBT Rights and the Internet” to further explore with multiple stakeholders the questions of which sexual content is tagged as “harmful,” who makes these decisions, and how the internet community can ensure the right to sexual expression and access to information, while maintaining a safe and secure internet for all users, particularly women, young people, and LGBTs.
In light of the IGF 2016 theme “Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth,” it is important to highlight strategies and measures to include activists and bloggers doing progressive sexual rights work online in the discussion of internet governance.