Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), is an author and activist with more than 20 years of experience in the LGBT movement and in African social and economic development. He has worked in management positions for Amnesty International-USA, Africare (Rwanda and Zimbabwe), UNHRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), and Planned Parenthood (Southern Africa). Under his leadership as Senior Africa Specialist, IGLHRC’s Africa program has grown significantly and had an indelible affect on the promotion of human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the region.
Cary led the effort to bring LGBT people to the Africa-wide International Conference on AIDS and STDs in Africa -- first in Abuja, Nigeria in December 2005, and most recently in Dakar, Senegal --providing critical attention to the pronounced HIV needs of African men who have sex with men. He also helped spearhead the participation of LGBT activists throughout Africa in the regular session of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2006, shattering the silence around human rights and LGBT issues at the African Union. Johnson is also the author of IGLHRC’s acclaimed report, Off the Map: How HIV/AIDS Programming is Failing Same-Sex Practicing People in Africa. He has developed enduring partnerships with African LGBT, HIV and human rights organizations that have been key to challenging arrests and abuse in countries such as Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Senegal.
Cary graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, holds a Masters Degree in International Affairs and a certificate in African Studies from Columbia University, and has written numerous articles on gender and sexuality in Africa Union. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Johnson has lived in Africa for the better part of the past two decades.