Recap of Celebration of Courage 2018

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Celebration of Courage

Hi Friend,

Last night OutRight hosted our annual Celebration of Courage gala. We had a terrific time celebrating the strength and determination of our community.

The night’s host, actor, activist, and newest board member, Karamo Brown, entertained and moved the crowd with his commitment to OutRight.


For me, the highlight of the evening was hearing from our awardees and honored guests. Lois Whitman, who received this year’s OutSpoken award, shared a glimpse of her pioneering work to ensure that all children - including LGBTIQ children - are entitled to human rights. The OutSpoken Award recognizes an ally who has advanced LGBTIQ rights and equality globally. Past OutSpoken awardees have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Irish President, the honorable Mary Robinson.


Georges Azzi accepted the Felipe de Souza award on behalf of the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality. In his speech, Georges shared that across the Middle East and North Africa, “we are determined to keep our voices loud and clear, we want to be accepted and embraced for who we are, no less than anyone else.”

In my keynote speech I highlighted some of the work that OutRight has done in the region, including:

  • Helped to open the first-ever gay and trans shelter in Iraq.
  • Created the world’s largest information clearinghouse about LGBTIQ rights in Farsi, spoken in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and beyond.
  • Helped LGBTIQ people from Iraq and Syria flee violence by ISIS.

Every year I look forward to Celebration of Courage, not only to be able to shed light on the many fearless activists and allies that OutRight has the privilege to call our partners, but also to bring attention to the necessary work we do as an organization.


Jessica Stern,
Executive Director, OutRight Action International