40 LGBTIQ Activists, 29 Countries, 5 Days of Activism in New York City

OutRight Action International kicks off the Global Week of Advocacy, where dozens of LGBTIQ activists from 29 countries from every region of the world has come to participate in the organisation’s 6th annual United Nations (UN) Week of Advocacy. From December 4 to 8, human rights defenders meet with government representatives and UN officials.

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Advocates will meet dignitaries such as Karel J.G. van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN and United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft, and UN diplomats from the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe, the Asia Pacific and Latin America. They will also meet with representatives from UN Women, the UN Development Programme and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of Outright Action International, comments on the significance of the Global Week of Advocacy, saying,

Advocacy week allows for LGBTIQ voices and lived realities to be brought to the attention of Ambassadors and diplomats at the United Nations, people with power to influence change at the international level. At the same time it offers activists from the world over to come together to strategise and learn from each other. The purpose is to catalyse real, positive change in the lives of LGBTIQ people.

This year there will also be two meetings specifically focused on trans and intersex issues, hosted by the missions of Denmark and Argentina, and Malta, respectively. These meetings will elevate the concerns of trans and intersex people to the international arena and recommend ways in which States can be more progressive in advancing the human rights of trans and intersex people.

Commenting on the importance of this week, Anjelika Carrillo, a lesbian women engaged in HIV work in Belize says,

Every opportunity to learn and network is an important opportunity. I have heard from other LGBTQI colleagues and peers of their experience in Advocacy Week and have seen their growth because of this process. I want and need that for myself so that I may be better equipped and greater inspired to continue my work.

The Global Week of Advocacy culminates on December 9th, with OutSummit, a one-day global conference themed “Pushing the Boundaries for Global LGBTIQ Activism” bringing together U.S.-based and international activists to meet and discuss critical issues affecting the global LGBTIQ movement. This year’s conference highlights some of the world’s foremost experts and activists discussing the most cutting edge issues impacting the global human rights movement.

Including such experts as:

  • Joy Belmonte, Vice Mayor of Quezon City, Philippines
  • Jack Harrison-Quintana, Director of Grindr for Equality
  • Michael Karimian, Human Rights Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Kimberly Zieselman, Executive Director, InterACT Advocates for Intersex Youth
  • Neish McLean, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Transwave Jamaica
  • Jennifer Lu, Coordinator of the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan

And such issues as:

  • LGBTIQ Rights & Business: Symmetries & Challenges
  • UN-locked: Diplomats and Officials Address the Independent Expert on SOGI, the Equal Rights Coalition and Where We Go From Here
  • Global Intersex Rights: Diverse Pathways to Dignity and Equality
  • Maintaining Safety and Security Amidst a Global LGBTIQ Backlash

OutSummit will be hosted at The City University of New York Law School and is organised in partnership with the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice.

To attend OutSummit buy a ticket on the OutSummit website: www.outsummit.org.