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LGBT Advocates Talk Supporter Mobilization as HRC Global Summit Concludes

by Saurav Jung Thapa April 04, 2016

In the final day of HRC’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit, advocates from 26 countries discussed mobilizing members and supporters to advance equality in their countries.

Jennifer Lu, an openly lesbian politician who recently ran for a seat in the Taiwanese Parliament, presented on the importance of LGBTQ leaders becoming involved in politics and the political process. Lu was one of five openly LGBTQ candidates in general elections in January.

HRC’s Senior Legislative Counsel Cathryn Oakley presented on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which evaluates municipalities on LGBTQ inclusion. Oakley stressed how important the MEI has become to opening up a conversation about inclusion with city officials. Ezgi Seref of SPoD Turkey discussed how activists in Turkey are adapting this methodology to push local governments to support equality.

Over lunch, representatives of the Open Society Foundation, the Global Philanthropy Project and American Jewish World Service discussed how LGBTQ organizations can strategically engage funders. In addition, they discussed trends in global philanthropy support for LGBTQ human rights. They urged activists to familiarize themselves with the mission of funders, not rely on a single donor and to approach donors by talking about their vision of change.

Jeremy Pittman, HRC’s Deputy Field Director, discussed how organizers are mobilized to campaign for priority issues at the local, state and national levels. His team uses a ladder of engagement to build support for grassroots campaigns -- initially asking volunteers to sign a petition and then providing volunteers with additional opportunities to become involved in the effort.

Esteban Paulon of the Federation of Argentinian LGBT people (FALGBT) discussed how FALGBT organized 70 LGBTQ organizations in 24 provinces to advance marriage equality and one the most progressive gender identity laws in the world. He also warned that despite such legal progress in Argentina, LGBTQ Argentinians continue to face numerous challenges.

At the closing of the Global Summit, participants reflected on the sessions, shared their commitments for future action in their home countries, established a network of Global Summit alumni and were presented certificates that recognized their place in inaugural class of Global Innovators.

The event wrapped up when the innovators joined some of HRC’s premier supporters from across the country at a dinner at the Meridian International Center. Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training Mary Beth Maxwell recognized the immense contributions the innovators have made to their movements and the global equality movement. Advocates from Mozambique, Lebanon and Sri Lanka gave remarks about the value of their experience at the HRC Global Innovative Advocacy Summit.

While the Global Summit has now wrapped up, the group of innovative advocates will remain connected through HRC -- allowing for continued collaboration and sharing. 

Read more about HRC Global’s work here.

Saurav Jung Thapa
Saurav Jung Thapa


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