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LGBT Forum - Engaging global communities on family

Salzburg Global LGBT Forum marks IDAHOT 2017 with launch of new film

Participants from the fifth Salzburg Global LGBT Forum celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Participants at the fifth Salzburg Global LGBT Forum were treated to a film premiere as they celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).

Klaus Mueller, chair and founder of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, began proceedings on Wednesday morning by showcasing his new film, 'Family is...? A Global Conversation.'

The film includes several interviews with LBGT Forum members - a network of leaders coming from more than 70 countries - about their families of birth, their families of choice and the families they raise.

The production was made possible thanks to the support of the German Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women & Youth.

The film, which received a positive reaction from participants, portrays the complexities of people's lives and aims to support a global conversation on inclusive families.

Family of Birth, Family of Choice, Families we raise

After the screening, participants took part in a panel discussion about families, tying in with this year's IDAHOT theme. Several panelists were asked to reveal their experience of coming out to their relatives.

One participant, from the Republic of Korea, said he was the eldest boy in his family. He came out at 18. He said, "We can't deny the fact there is a special relationship between parents and children. You can't discard of it."

The second speaker, from Japan, said a lack of positive representation in the culture made it difficult for her to come out. Aged 20, her mother said to her, "I'm afraid you like girls." She confirmed to her she was a lesbian.

Acceptance can take time. This scenario is what happened for the third speaker, whose mother began to accept him once she talked to his boyfriend. He said gay men weren't able to be very public about their relationships in his country.

Participants learned attitudes in Japan toward gay, and lesbian couples had changed drastically. Couples can have partnership certificates, buy houses, and visit each other in hospitals.

The panelist from the Republic of Korea said they were still fighting for partnership laws and same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples can include each other in their wills in the case of emergencies and can register as roommates. The panelist said gay and lesbian people existed in every era, and there was a written history of homosexuality in the country.

Participants heard there were conditions in the Republic of Korea for sexual reassignment, such as parental consent. The panelist said trans men and women who have had children aren't legally allowed to transition.

The panelists were asked several questions, including whether they ever felt pressured to get legally married elsewhere. One participant, meanwhile, wanted to learn about the legal rights in each country regarding assets for same-sex couples.

The panelist from the Republic of Korea revealed he remained in the process of coming out to his family. He told participants he didn't feel like he needed 100 percent acceptance. He said he sometimes thought: what if I gave up my family?

Concepts for social media advocacy

Participants spent the remainder of the morning putting the finishing touches on their group work, which called on participants to conceptualize a social media campaign aimed at creating online conversations, rather than likes and shares. In rooms and gardens throughout Schloss Leopoldskron, participants shot videos, created animations, composed scripts, and acted out scenes to create the finished product.
 
In keeping with this year’s IDAHOT theme, each campaign revolved around the idea of family – covering topics like inclusion and acceptance.
 
The first group designed an animated graphic, designed to be shared on social media platforms, showcasing the wide-ranging image a family can have. The GIF showed the traditional male and female icons in various combinations; blue male figures, pink female figures, pink male figures, blue female figures, and the figure representing trans people, in addition to smaller child-sized icons in each color combination.
 
The group explained the animation is meant to show any combination – a straight couple with an LGBT* child, an LGBT* couple, or a trans man or woman with a child. The images rolled through a picture of a slot machine, “Because every combination is a winner,” said one group member.
 
Another group presented a campaign using the slogan, “Is it worth the sacrifice,” showing one image of a family at dinner, and another with one family member missing. The group explained the image would address families who had pushed away loved ones who identify as LGBT*.
 
Leaning on personal experiences, one group composed a video showing LGBT* people writing down some of the hurtful things their family members had said to them after coming out. The hurtful message was then torn away to reveal a new message – one that the person would have liked to hear.
 
“Mine said ‘Get out of here,’” said one group member. “When really I would have liked to hear, ‘We accept you and support you.’”
 
The exercise was designed as a practical exercise on social media advocacy, from idea to implementation.

The session continues.

*LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. We are using this term as it is currently widely used in human rights conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world, but we would not wish it to be read as exclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender-nonconforming identities.


The fifth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum - Home: Safety, Wellness, and Belonging is taking place at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg. It is being held in partnership with the German Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women & Youth. It is being supported by the Government of Canada. The Forum is a network of expertise through which conversations are facilitated to advance equal rights for LGBT people across the world. You can follow the event on Twitter, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #SGSlgbt. For more information, please visit salzburgglobal.org/go/578.

17.05.2017 Category: SALZBURG IN THE WORLD, SALZBURG UPDATES, JUSTICE, LGBT
Nicole Bogart and Oscar Tollast