From numbers to stories: How LGBTI activists can use data visualisation
In our last Skills Boost session, over 70 LGBTI activists learnt how to find and tell a story from the data that speaks about their own work. Take a look at the impressive charts developed as part of the session and learn more about how to use data visualisation in your daily communications.
In today’s visually-driven world, communicating with images is more important than ever. That’s why LGBTI activists are seeking ways to transform complex figures and dry data into visual representations that tell a captivating story.
To support them in their mission, in May we hosted a Skills Boost session focused on data visualisation. The response was enthusiastic, with over 70 LGBTI activists from across Europe participating in the workshop. Using data from our Rainbow Map & Index and with no previous design skills, the participants unleashed their creativity and harnessed the power of visualisation to craft their own compelling charts.
The first half of the session opened with our facilitators sharing some advice from Minami Funakoshi, a non-binary awarded graphics journalist for Reuters:
Funakoshi’s visual story on Gender and Language has received several prize nominations and awards, and it served as an inspiration for ways of thinking of data beyond numbers.
During the rest of session, participants generously shared these important tips with one another:
- Finding the data – Participants shared ways of extracting data from owned sources but also from open sources like Our World in Data, the FRA LGBTI survey , and alternatives like Google Trends.
- Finding the story – Our Senior Communications Officer, Mehmet Akin shared his experience filtering through a vast data set of criteria across 49 countries in ILGA-Europe’s 2023 Rainbow Map and Index in order to tell a coherent story in 2023, and what other stories they thought might still need to be told.
- Creating the visual – Activists examined the pros and cons of tools like Tableau, Adobe Express, and Canva. They also learnt from a live crowd-sourced demonstration of how we could make a draft graphic in ten minutes using the Rainbow Map data for graphics showing either comparisons, or trends. Check out the templates provided during the session here and here.
Using our Rainbow Map & Index to learn data visualisation
Our Rainbow Map is a benchmarking tool of the laws and policies that have a direct impact on LGBTI people’s human rights. From the collected data we show the situation in 49 countries under 74 and in seven categories. However, the data can be presented in many other ways. We asked the Skills Boost participants to find and tell the following stories:
- Show the journey of the UK from No ‘1 to No ’17: The United Kingdom was the No.1 country on the ranking in 2013 but has fallen to No.17 by 2023. This is a story that is captured by many followers of ILGA-Europe on social media but has never been visualised. All the data is available as to why at this link.
- Show countries with self-determination based LGR for trans people in Europe: Self-determination is only available in 11 countries in Europe and can easily be seen on our interactive module by choosing “All countries” and “Self-determination” in the Rainbow Map dropdown menu. There is a good example of data visualisation of this story here.
- Create a timeline with IGM bans in Europe: There are only six countries that have banned IGM so far, which can be seen here. It would be interesting to see these bans in a timeline. Similar thing could be done with bans on conversion practices.
- Re-chart the Map based on different categories: We do our country ranking based on the total score that is calculated under seven categories. However, the online module shows a menu where you can choose a different category and gets a new ranking based on your selection. For example, Montenegro is 12th place in the overall ranking. However, if you choose “Legal gender recognition” as category, you’ll see they’re on the 30th place.
Our Skills Boost participants delivered wonderful visualisations
At the end of the first half of the Skills Boost session, we invited the participants to work on their own graphics and send them to us, and three people took the challenge! Two used data from ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map and one used the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s LGBTI Survey results.
Jae, whose association collaborates with a shelter house for trans people, wanted to explore the experience of having housing difficulties across the LGBTQIA+ community in Europe. This is what Jae said:
Jochem Verdonk from Principle 17 (a collective of activists from the Netherlands that promotes customised trans* health care) designed four graphics to illustrate the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in the Netherlands.
He started with a data graphic with all seven categories in one graphic, but “that turned out to be quite chaotic”.
So he decided it’s better to make three separate data graphics with similar tendencies.
After ILGA-Europe’s team and guests’ feedback in the second half of the session, Jochem tried several alternatives but decided to keep the graphics the way they were. However, he did make the lay-outs of the several images more equal by using the same fonts, sizes and lay-out. He also decided to separate the Intersex Bodily Integrity into another graphic, to emphasize the complete lack of rights. He even published an article about the deterioration of LGBTI people’s rights in the Netherlands attaching all the graphics. Have a look!
Bart Andersen from Britain decided to use infographics to:
Bart also wanted to “point to countries that Britain and others perceive as not advanced on human rights but which are actually overtaking,” as well as to undermine the narrative of Britain’s Conservative party when it presents itself as an advocate of LGBTQ+ rights”.
Bart was curious if the events path would be nicer in another slide of the same project. And if he shall remove all notes and let the reader do some independent investigation?
Want to stay in touch and learn more about communications for LGBTI activists? Join our closed Communications support group for LGBTI activists on Facebook and check our Resource Hub. There you can also find resources from our previous sessions on crisis communication, how to make home-made campaign videos, making graphics with free tools, and fundraising during crises.