This article assesses the impact of ‘group politics’ in the particularly contentious debates of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly regarding gender equality and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The article identifies those groups that have been most active in the debates, and then analyses how and why they have shaped debates and norms in this area, how they interact with each other, and whether groups help to facilitate consensus or foster polarization in debates. The article examines the extent to which these groups are cohesive, and identifies the norms that each group puts forward in debates (through statements and resolutions). It then assesses and explains their impact on outcomes, the creation of shared norms and the potential for collective action. It further explores the implications of increasing cross-regional group activity in the Human Rights Council.