Meet The 2020 OutRight Religion Fellows

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OutRight is excited to announce that we have recruited four activists to engage in our year-long, immersive Religion Fellowship Program. The Fellowship is aimed to defend LGBTIQ people from the impact of 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 visibility and engagement of LGBTIQ human rights defenders from these regions within high-level UN forums in New York.

The activists will participate in five UN convenings in New York 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 2020 Religion Fellows:

Amanda
Amanda

Amanda is a Ugandan human rights defender advocating for minority groups particularly LGBTIQ persons. Amanda is a young leader on sexual and reproductive health rights and also a part of the UN Women Beijing+25 youth task force for advancing gender equality. She is the co-chair of inclusion and diversity with the Society of Gender Professionals (SGP). Amanda is a civic graduate of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) and part of the Commonwealth Youth council on the committee representing special interest groups. She has also worked with the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) accredited with UN ECOSOC status as a human rights council task force co-chair and is currently working at Transgender Equality Uganda as a programs assistant.



James Karanja
James Karanja

James Karanja is an intersex person, and a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Intersex Persons Society of Kenya (IPSK). In 2016, he wrote the intersex petition that was tabled by Parliament for the first time. James went on to organize the first Intersex Human Rights Day in Kenya. James became a member of the Government of Kenya Intersex taskforce as mandated by the Attorney General of Kenya. This taskforce demanded the inclusion of the third code in the 2019 census and won. He was then appointed as a member of the Government of Kenya Intersex Persons Implementation Coordination Committee (IPICC). He has used his expertise on intersex issues to advise the Senate on intersex bills. James is a part of the Africa Intersex Movement (AIM) in the region.



Davis Mac-Iyalla
Davis Mac-Iyalla

Davis Mac-Iyalla received the Bishop Desmond Tutu Award for Human Rights and Social Justice from the World Pride and Power Organisation. This award reflected Davis’ tireless efforts over the previous twenty years to advocate for Lesbian Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT+) Africans, in the face of significant opposition from the government and religious organizations. In August 2016, Davis founded The Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA) to continue to advocate for LGBT+ Africans in West Africa. Davis lives in Ghana where he continues to develop his work as an advocate, interfaith minister, mentor and educator, traditional leader for LGBT+ West Africans.



Shamim Salim
Shamim Salim

Shamim Salim is a Queer Muslim disabled feminist and a human rights activist. Shamim lives her life as a political statement and as a way to create more opportunities for younger LGBTIQ folks and womxn to claim their spaces, speak up, and further the movement. For the last four years, her work with the Church World Service (CWS) has centered on faith advocacy for LGBTIQ persons by changing hearts and minds of faith leaders in Kenya to take up actions towards the inclusion of LGBTI persons. Shamim is also a co-founder of Henna Space which is an organizing for Queer Muslim Womxn and Queer Disabled folks working on the intersectionality of religion, sexuality, and disability. Shamim is also a member of the African Queer Youth Initiative, a network of youth activists and organizations mobilizing, supporting and amplifying the voice of LGBTIQ activists, building visibility and strategic networks in support of LGBTIQ youth in Africa. Shamim is a board member of UHAI EASHRI, an indigenous activist fund which provides flexible, accessible resources to support civil society activism around issues of sexuality, health and human rights in the East African region.