OutRight is excited to announce that we have recruited eight activists to engage in our year-long, immersive United Nations Religion Fellowship Program. The Fellowship is aimed to train LGBTIQ people that do work to combat religiously motivated violence and discrimination.
The program invests in LGBTIQ movement building by training activists to harness the international system for promoting human rights for LGBTIQ people. It provides direct experience at UN advocacy and expands the networks across the UN system. Furthermore, it aims to increase the visibility and engagement of LGBTIQ human rights defenders from the Global South within high-level United Nations forums.
The activists will participate digitally in several high-level meetings over the coming 12 months: the Commission on the Status of Women, the High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, UN General Assembly High-Level week, OutRight’s annual Week of UN Advocacy, and OutRight’s OutSummit Conference.
Meet our 2022 Religion Fellows:
Amar is an Indonesian transman Muslim activist, a queer theology enthusiast, with experience within social activism aiming to unpack queer-phobic languages and challenge dehumanizing narratives in theology. In 2019 he co-founded Jaringan Transgender Indonesia (Indonesia Transgender Network), in the same year he also published a booklet entitled "Christian-Islam Progressive Interpretation of Gender Diversity and Sexuality: A Guideline to Understand Human Body and God" published by GAYa NUSANTARA. Currently, he is board representation for East and Southeast Asia at Global Interfaith Network for people of all sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities and expression. He is also pursuing his Master degree in Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham, UK.
Vidda Guzzo, she/her, is an intersex activist and LGBTQIA rights advocate in Brazil. She holds a scholarship position as a master's student in Political Science at the University of Brasilia, where she also finished her bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Vidda has acted in operational and programmatic positions on sex variations and intersex issues especially focused on fundraising, campaign and project management, research, and community-building. She is currently an international affairs consultant for the Brazilian Intersex Association (ABRAI) and a counselor at the Brazilian National LGBTI Popular Council. Her professional background in human rights matters includes experiences working for the Brazilian Ministry of Justice’s Amnesty Commission; the Department of Human Rights and Citizenship of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Communications and Representation team at UNODC in Brasília. Vidda's biggest professional aspiration is to create an intersex Latin American and Caribbean organization with an aim to foster a regional human rights advocacy strategy for intersex-led organizations in the region.
Laila Yahaya (they/them/theirs) is a Black, Queer, Muslim, feminist, and a human rights activist who lives their life as a political statement and as a way to create more opportunities for LBQTI persons to claim their spaces, own and speak up against all sort of abuses and violations.
Laila is an activist in the women’s, LGBTIQ+ rights field and administration. Whose work has positively impacted the field of gender, sexual & reproductive health, consent, LGBT+ rights, and environmental activism work through art and feminism. They are currently the co-founder and director of One Love Sisters Ghana and doubles up as the project lead as well as a consent facilitator for Ghana House.
In kicking against gender-based violence, Laila adopted an intervention that focuses on promoting relationships based on respect and equality through education. They also emphasize prevention through awareness and the need for improved support services to survivors of gender-based violence.
They believe in identifying and removing gender inequalities which is denying LGBTQ+ persons fair access to their fundamental rights, employment opportunities, advancement and academic achievement.
Susana Pachón Echeverri, she/her is a queer bisexual researcher, activist, and human rights defender from the Colombian Caribbean. From an early age, she began her path through community work by volunteering for non-profit organizations such as Techo and Un litro de luz. Due to her passion for social justice and fighting for equity, she decided to study law, a career that is close to completion. In the meantime, she has nurtured her work and academic experience in legal and social research and has twice participated in the Phillip C. Jessup moot court. Since February 2021, she joined Caribe Afirmativo as a researcher and from there she has been able to contribute to the writing of reports related to LGBTI victims in the armed conflict in her country. In turn, she has worked hand in hand with LGBTI people and has provided legal advice on cases within the organization. She has relevant experience in cases of gender-based violence and the accompaniment of armed conflict victims. As a result of this, she was able to focus her thesis on the gender approach in transitional justice and LGBT victims. Her activism on social media has allowed her to replicate her positions in defense of rights and has built a digital community that is growing, mainly through Tiktok. She is projected to receive her law degree in the summer of 2022, which will allow her to legally represent cases in the judicial system and transitional justice tribunals.
Alexandra Maduagwu is a non-binary creative and community organizer who seeks to create experiences that change behaviors. They’re a storyteller and activist living in Lagos, Nigeria. After graduating from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, they worked in administration in the literary and art spheres and are now on a path to telling SOGIESC focused African stories.
In 2018, they cofounded JuJu Panafrican Limited, a cultural entity creating a community of socially conscious people through engaging content, Afrocentric handcrafted fashion, and memorable experiences.
Alexandra works at The Initiative for Equal Rights in Nigeria (TIERs) as a Human Rights Project Officer and has spoken on panel discussions on topics such as Activism for Inclusion at the TIERs Symposium, Gender-Based Violence and Gender Identity & Expression. They were a part of the Lesbian Visibility Week’s panel discussion, Being LGBTQI+ in Nigeria: Learning from Lived Experiences and featured in Defiance, a documentary about a new generation of Nigerian queer folk fighting for visibility and representation.
Alexandra belongs to a community of masculine of center and gender non-conforming women and non-binary bois which they started in 2020. The community, Boi, discusses issues pertaining to navigating a cisheteronormative society that insists on policing gender identity & expression at every turn, provides a platform for peer-to-peer support, encourages conversations that dismantle patriarchal ideals and offers an enabling environment for wholesome connections to be formed.
Aylime Aslı Demir is a feminist-queer activist who has been working on curatorial and editorial projects dealing with the politics and aesthetics of bringing various types of practices and knowledges together in publications and exhibitions. She has been working as the academic and cultural studies department coordinator at Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL) since 2013. She is also director of Ankara Queer Art Program – Artist Residency. She has been taking part in and collaborating with many institutions and collectives within the frames of exhibitions, conferences, community works and publications in Turkey and abroad.
Denae Fairweather, she/her, is a human rights defender, and advocate for family equality in Belize. She empowers vulnerable communities through access to capacity building and employment opportunities that are crucial to their social inclusion. Denae serves as the President and Director of Publicity of Our Circle Resource Center, an NGO that promotes the lived and legal equality for LGBTQ+ persons and their families. Through this, her aim is to be a voice of change, advocacy, and support for LGBT families and those who wish to form them
Nokuthula (Thuli) Mjwara (She/Her) is a Pan-African, social justice feminist based in South Africa. As a Process Coordinator at Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM), Thuli, works at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and religion. Through advocacy, she addresses religious homophobia that excludes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTQI+) people within faith communities using collaborative partnerships with civil society partners, communities, and government stakeholders. Thuli served on provincial and national committees advocating for policy changes to address hate crimes against the LGBTIQ+ community in South Africa. She is the chairperson of the Groote Schuur community advisory board (CAB) for HIV prevention trials at the University of Cape Town, and is a member of the ASIJIKI collective, which works to decriminalize sex work. She holds ah honors degree in Gender and Transformation from the University of Cape Town, in South Africa, and is a seasoned facilitator and accredited training assessor.
Published on February 16, 2022 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization