International Women's Day and LBTI Human Rights at the United Nations

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a celebration of women's economic, political and social achievements. This year’s theme is "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality," in recognition that empowering women and girls is central to achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

OutRight will host four conversations this month – on March 16, 17, 18 and 21 -- as thousands of activists gather in New York for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Our events will raise the concerns of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the push for gender parity by 2030.

The CSW is focused this year on “Women’s Empowerment and its Link to Sustainable Development.” The U.N. last year committed itself to the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs – a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals. The SDG’s will ultimately impact countless government policies and programs, amounting to billions of dollars in aid funds.

Among other topics, our discussions at CSW will help advocates to build networks to empower LBTI women on global development progress.

OutRight’s staff experts Maria Mercedes Gomez and Lea Rios included in the lineup of speakers (line). Here are some of the other activists and experts who will participate:

Guylaine Demers
Ms. Demers is a professor at Laval University in Quebec, Canada. She is particularly interested in issues surrounding women and homophobia in sport. She currently serves as Chair of Égale-Action, an organization dedicated to the cause of all girls and women in sport and physical activity. In 2007 and 2010, she was named one ofCAAWS’ Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity in Canada. Ms. Demers will be speaking at the UN Side Event, “Combatting Stereotypes and Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity,” on March 16, 2016. More information on this event  can be found here.


Nthabiseng Mokoena
Ms. Mokoena has been involved with intersex and trans* activism since 2011. From 2011-2012 she was the board member forTransgender and Intersex Africa (TIA), a South African organization working to advance and advocate for the rights of transgender and intersex persons in South African rural areas and townships. Additionally, she became the advocacy coordinator for TIA in 2013. In 2015, Mokoena joined an international advisory board for the world’s first philanthropic Intersex Human Rights Fund established by the Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and is currently the Regional Training and Capacity Strengthening Officer for the AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern and East Africa. Nthabiseng Mokoena will be speaking March 18, 2016 at the event, “Measuring Inclusion of LBTI Women.” More information on this event can be found here.


Latoya Nugent
Ms. Nugent is the education and training manager at the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG)- Jamaica’s leading LGBT rights organization. She also serves as associate director of Women’s Empowerment for Change (WE-Change), a rights-based, women-led, community-based advocacy group committed to increasing the participation of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women in social justice advocacy in Jamaica and the Caribbean. WE-Change is a subsidiary of J-FLAG. Latoya Nugent will be speaking March 21, 2016 at the event, “Diverse Women Empowerment to Increase Inclusion in Development.” More information on this event can be found here.


Miki Wali
Ms. Wali is a youth feminist activist, human rights defender, and gender advocate. She has been working within the civil society movement for a number of years and is currently a member of the Management Collective of the Haus of Khameleon, a youth and Trans led feminist movement working to create a safe space for Trans people in Fiji. Additionally, Wali is Public Relations Officer for the National Youth Council of Fiji and recently joined the UN Working Group for Youth and Children. Miki Wali will also be speaking at the event, “Diverse Women Empowerment to Increase Inclusion in Development.”


Lea Rios
Lea Rios is an activist and fundraiser for OutRight Action International--an international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) human rights organization that supports human rights documentation and advocacy in twenty countries across four global regions and leads a cross-regional LGBTIQ initiative at U.N. headquarters in New York. Prior to OutRight, Lea organized with Queers for Economic Justice, a now-disbanded queer anti-poverty group that propelled groundbreaking reforms of New York City's public shelter policies. Lea is passionate about forging strategic alliances across movements and issues, and looks forward to discussing reproductive rights and justice from a queer, trans, and international human rights perspective.



Ivan Šimonović
In 2010, Šimonović was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights. Prior to assuming this position, Šimonović served as the Minister of Justice of Croatia. Additionally, Mr. Šimonović was Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he served as Senior Vice-President and President of the Economic and Social Council.