by Matt Landers, Public Policy Manager
| Jul 20, 2018
This week GSBA was honored to receive a delegation of twelve LGBTQ activists and nonprofit leaders from around the world.
Our visitors were in town as part of the International Visitor Program of the World Affairs Council and the U.S. State Department. The State Department’s Resilient Societies program on strengthening minority gender communities has been organized around several objectives:
- Examine U.S. and international initiatives to promote and protect the human rights of the LGBTI community
- Explore equal access to educational, economic, and healthcare opportunities for citizens with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations
- Analyze the legislative framework and political perspectives on current and pending efforts to ensure equal human and civil rights in the U.S.
- Observe how organizations monitor, influence and advocate for human and civil rights policy at the local, state, national and international levels
This extraordinary group spent the morning introducing themselves and talking about the work that they do in their respective communities. They were interested in how GSBA across its 37-year history has supported the LGBTQ community economically and how support from the allied business community was built over the years. GSBA shared our origins and the story of how the organization has become the largest LGBTQ chamber in North America, how we have built alliances between disadvantaged communities, organized a successful political agenda, and ideas of how to fundraise for a community that cannot always be out.
Our guests explained how they do their work in their countries, some of which have stronger protections than the United States and others which face additional challenges. The question was raised about how to get local business people to come out and publicly support the LGBTQ community in a society where that could be detrimental. The role of multinational corporations – who may have good internal policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity – can also be important in extending rights and protections to our community in areas where local laws are still lacking.
GSBA was pleased to hear that some of our previous efforts with Microsoft, IBM, and the GLAS Foundation in Bulgaria had been successful and still have a positive ripple effect.
We are thankful to have organizations like the World Affairs Council that help bring our colleagues from around the world to Washington State so that we can share our stories and expertise with one another. We are certainly looking forward to building lasting connections with these leaders, and hope to be able to visit some of them in their home countries in the future.
We are also thankful to learn that ‘iskis’ means queer in Breton!
Organizations represented included:
- Radio Ekattor, Bangladesh
- Single Step Foundation, Bulgaria
- Child and Youth Protection Center (CEPIJ Copiapó-Caldera), Chile
- Association CGLBT Rennes, France
- Grand Bacolet Juvenile Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, Grenada
- Gila Project, Israel
- Dostana Male Health Society, Pakistan
- Kapul Champions, Papua New Guinea
- Autonomia Foundation, Poland
- The T Project, Singapore
- Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, Turkey
- Institute for Studies of Society, Economy, and Environment (iSEE), Vietnam