OutRight Now: March 2022 Newsletter

outright now rainbow flag

Dear Friends,

Every day, I find myself in awe at the courage, strength, and resilience of the remarkable people that comprise our global LGBTIQ community. As I write this, the conflict in Ukraine continues to ravage the lives of LGBTIQ people in and fleeing Ukraine and their stories are horrific enough to stop us in our tracks. Yet they - and we - do not stop. We resist. We fight back. We find a way to survive not only the violence wrought by war, but daily discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity around the world.

Today, on International Transgender Day of Visibility, I am inspired by the action of brave LGBTIQ people and our allies everywhere - but in particular trans people - that are saying ‘enough’ to the violence and indignities our community endures. Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event occurring on March 31 dedicated to raising awareness of the discrimination and persecution transgender and non-binary people face, as well as celebrating our contributions to society.

In the face of seemingly relentless attacks - and a radical anti-gender movement which opposes gender and LGBTIQ equality, and targets transgender people specifically - trans and non-binary people are more visible than ever before. At OutRight, we recognize the determination and courage it takes for transgender and non-binary people to live openly and authentically in the face of ubiquitous discrimination and violence. However, we also recognize and remember that there are many trans and non-binary people around the world who cannot safely live openly as their full, authentic selves. We know that trans people are among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, facing disproportionate discrimination in education and employment, and severe barriers to accessing health care. In 50 countries trans people are criminalized or targeted explicitly or implicitly and only 15 countries allow legal gender recognition based on self-determination. COVID-19 has pushed trans and non-binary people even further into the margins of society.

That is why OutRight is working year-round with trans and non-binary people across the globe to advance our human rights. In the Caribbean, for example, OutRight helped to support the registration of the first regional transgender coalition, UCTRANS, co-sponsored the first holistic survey to document the experiences of trans and gender diverse people in the region, and is working with local partners to advance legal gender identity recognition. In our Arabic Media Project, we have organized trainings aimed at building the capacity and expertise of trans journalists and promoting objective and affirming media coverage that avoids sensationalizing trans people and issues. We have also prioritized supporting trans groups providing humanitarian relief through our COVID-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund and our Ukraine Fund. We additionally support and spotlight hundreds of trans and gender diverse activists each year through our fellowship programs, OutSummit conference, and other initiatives.

The trans focused work OutRight undertakes is central to our mission. OutRight is committed to ensuring that trans and non-binary people are not only not left behind or forgotten, but that we are empowered and celebrated. Today on Transgender Day of Visibility, I am inspired by OutRight’s dedication to advancing the human rights of trans people everywhere - and by our partners organizing for their own rights and power around the world. I hope our work inspires you to take action too.

In solidarity,

Rikki Nathanson (she/her)
Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program


  • On International Women’s Day, March 8, we launched a new global feminist program, LBQ Connect, aiming at boosting the work and visibility of lesbian, bisexual, and queer activism around the world. Read more about the program and how you can be a participant, a mentor, or a supporter.
     
  • Every year the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) convenes at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. CSW brings together representatives from UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities to push for gender equality and collaborate around written Agreed Conclusions to an annually chosen theme. During this year’s #CSW66, we pushed for LGBTIQ inclusion in official programming and side events. We also ensured that language around diversity and multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination were included in the agreed conclusions which is the main outcome document of CSW.
     
  • On February 24, OutRight launched a Ukraine Fund because, in times of crisis, LGBTIQ people face higher risks and are often left behind or excluded from mainstream humanitarian relief efforts. To date, we have distributed more than $450,000 to 30+ local partners in Ukraine and neighboring countries who are providing safe shelter, food, medical care, transportation, and other types of humanitarian support to LGBTIQ people impacted by the war. Deepest thanks to MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewett, Ukraine DAO, Google.org, Together Rising, RELI3F, Looking Out Foundation, SumOfUs, GiveOut, Capital Group, Horizons Foundation, Grindr for Equality, Zalando, and the 7,000+ donors from 60+ countries who have contributed to these efforts. You can follow our progress and read quotes from grantees on our Ukraine Fund webpage.
     
  • The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing triggered discussion of a range of human rights concerns in China. Among them is the increasingly precarious situation for LGBTQ people and activism in support of their rights. Last month, OutRight Action International prepared a brief Q&A, Fading Rainbow, to spotlight China’s Party-state’s efforts to obstruct LGBTQ equality and inclusion. We are proud to share our publication in Spanish.
     
  • JOIN OUR TEAM! OutRight is currently recruiting for the following positions: Executive Director (NYC), UN Program Director (located in NYC); Director of Communications & Marketing; Media Relations Manager; and Regional Director - Asia. For information about these roles and how to apply, please see https://outrightinternational.org/content/job-opportunities.

Get to Know Us

rikki nathanson

Rikki Nathanson

Rikki Nathanson (she/her) is Senior Advisor - Global Trans Program at OutRight, based in Washington, DC. Rikki's two-decade career spans both the private and non-profit sectors, and her expertise ranges from finance and business management to organizational development and movement building. Prior to joining OutRight as ember, from 2019-2021, Rikki served on OutRight's Board of Directors - including as Chair of its Finance Committee - while also serving on the Executive Management Team at Casa Ruby as Director of Housing Programs.

An immigrant, Rikki moved to the United States from Zimbabwe for personal safety after bringing and winning a legal case against the police for her unlawful arrest for using a female restroom. She went on to be instrumental in the formation of the Southern Africa Trans Forum and vigorously continues her global trans activism in her affiliation to several trans organizations and movements globally. Rikki holds a qualification with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators of Zimbabwe.

Learn more about Rikki's and OutRight's work here.

 

OutRight in the Media

  • OutRight’s Acting Executive Director joined the Bloomberg Equality Summit discussing LGBTQ+ Rights around the Globe.
     
  • OutRight’s Africa Team published an op-ed in the Mail&Guardian, a south African weekly newspaper and website with a wide reach in Africa, highlighting research on the impact of conversion practices in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. The piece is entitled “Africa governments must stop harmful conversion practices to ‘cure’ sexual and gender diversity” and further calls on governments to take measures to eradicate conversion practices in Africa.
     
  • OutRight’s efforts to support LGBTQ communities in Ukraine have been picked up by several media outlets including USA Today, Gay Times, Refinery29 and others.
     
  • OutRight’s Senior Researcher, Amie Bishop, who has 25 years of experience working in Ukraine, was quoted in Time Magazine.
     
  • OutRight’s Senior Fellow - Emergency Research, J. Lester Feder, wrote an article for Vanity Fair on the battle for LGBTIQ human rights and what is at stake in Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Term of the Month

Transgender

The term transgender refers to people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were thought to be, or assigned, at birth. “Trans” is often used as shorthand for transgender.

 

  • On June 6, 2022, OutRight will hold its in-person Gala, Celebration of Courage, in New York City. Tables are now on sale!

 

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