Outright Now: December 2017

Pushing the Boundaries of LGBTIQ Global Activism View this email in your browser

OutRight Now December 2017. OutSummit.

Dear Friend,

Last weekend, OutRight’s annual one-day global conference OutSummit took place. It brought together activists from all over the world, business leaders, diplomats, students and others interested in the most critical issues affecting the global LGBTIQ movements.

This year, we were fortunate to have two sensational keynote speakers: Joy Belmonte, Vice Mayor of Quezon City, Philippines, and a lesbian Sudanese activist working fearlessly in Egypt fighting back the ongoing government crack-down.

The Vice Mayor spoke highly of her partnership with OutRight in our collective battle to combat family and domestic violence against LGBTIQ people in Quezon City. The project focuses on training first responders and sensitizing them to LGBTIQ issues. The Vice Mayor talked about the passion and commitment that went into the project and its success, saying,

“The Chief of the Quezon City Police District was so moved by our efforts to protect the rights of an oft-neglected sector, that he ordered every police station to transform the Women and Children’s Protection Desk to the Women, Children, and LGBTI Protection Desk.”

Our second keynote speaker, who received two standing ovations, closed the event and spoke about the ongoing moral panic and crackdown on LGBTIQ persons in Egypt. The speaker noted that without international pressure on the Egyptian government, the situation is set to worsen. However, ending her speech on a more positive note, the speaker also highlighted,

“We all know that progress in LGBTQI activism often comes in small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one-step back but together we can fight better... together we will find the strength and wisdom to change plans and tactics but never quit.”

OutSummit featured six exciting workshops this year touching on safety and security, the media, the intersex human rights movement, and sexual orientation and gender identity issues at the UN among others. These workshops offered attendees an opportunity to engage with issues more deeply and speak with experts directly.

We were fortunate to be able to add a new session this year on Business & Human Rights. In that workshop, panelists discussed how businesses can take a leading role in advancing policies and protections for LGBTIQ people, including highlighting the recent UN global LGBTI standards for businesses. The panel discussed the potential of businesses promoting human rights and of supporting non-profit organizations financially but questions were also raised about the accountability of businesses.

I could not be happier with the day’s success. OutSummit really provides a space for the global LGBTIQ community and allies alike to learn, exchange stories, and show solidarity. Our co-hosts CUNY School of Law and the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice ensures an academic setting for a conference where most speakers are practitioners.

Every year, OutSummit further fortifies my belief in a truly global LGBTIQ movement, one that is resilient, powerful, and courageous. As this next year unfolds, I hope the lessons learned and relationships cultivated at the conference will help us all to push forward and mobilize for a more equal and just world for LGBTIQ people everywhere.

Click here to see more photos and highlights from OutSummit!


Jessica Stern,
Executive Director,
OutRight Action International