Salzburg Global LGBT Forum » Overview

Humankind’s strength is its diversity. Free expression of sexuality and gender increasingly defines the societies in which we want to live in the 21st century. But progress is uneven. In 2011, the first UN Resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity was supported by over 40 countries. Yet in many others, governments still legitimize and sponsor violence against LGBT citizens through legal discrimination, condoned police violence and hate speech.  

The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum was formed in 2013 to establish a truly global space to reflect upon and advance the LGBT and Human Rights discussions around the world. Its signature is the international representation of leaders from diverse fields – including human rights, legal, artistic, and religious backgrounds. Founded and chaired by Dr. Klaus Mueller, the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum currently connects representatives from more than 65 countries (as of February 2017).

Upcoming events:

Salzburg Global LGBT Forum - Home: Safety, Wellness, and Belonging
May 14-19, 2017

Most recent session:

Building structures to support equal rights for LGBT people

Seminar and networking reception at the Embassy of Canada, Berlin, Germany, July 21, 2016

Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion
October 2 to 7, 2016

Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: LGBT Human Rights & Social Cohesion

June 14 to 19, 2015


Related News

Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Fellow Updates
Salzburg Global LGBT Fellows
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Fellow Updates
Ana Alania 
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera won Sweden's Right Livelihood Award, a kind of “Alternative Nobel Prize” for her work on LGBT rights in Uganda. The award recognizes those who do inspiring and courageous work to combat social issues and since its inception 35 years ago, there have been 162 recipients from 67 countries. In December 2015, Nabagesera also spoke at a panel at the UN on the economic costs of exclusion and benefits of inclusion of LGBT individuals from the business, State and civil society perspectives. Watch her interview on how the Global LGBT Forum supports her work here.  Lee Badgett joined the same UN panel where her two reports were referenced throughout by many speakers (including Zachary Quinto). Our friends at UNDP including Clifton Cortez, UN Development Programme (UNDP), announced a global LGBTI inclusion index, and utilizing the power of data. Cortez published an article with the title titled 'When people are counted, no one is left behind': “If LGBTI people continue to face exclusion, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will remain out of our reach,” Cortez stated and urged to ensure LGBTI inclusion in data and efforts on the SDGs.  Tamara Adrian, a lawyer and advocate for LGBT rights, was elected as a congresswoman in Venezuela’s National Assembly. This has been deemed by many as a historic moment for the nation, as Adrian became the first transgender congresswoman elected in the country and in the whole of South America. Watch her interview on being trans with the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum here.  Fan Popo and his team successfully organized the 8th Beijing Queer Film Festival in September 2015, now referred to as Love Queer Cinema Week. His 2012 documentary, Mama Rainbow, which follows mothers in China who love their gay children, was banned from a popular streaming website 56.com. Following this, the filmmaker sued SARFT, a regulatory organization in China that reportedly ordered the ban. Fan Popo is currently awaiting the results of his lawsuit case. Watch his interview about family and love with the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum here.  As a Latin America and Caribbean outreach and communications officer at the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia Committee (IDAHO Committee), Mariano Ruiz is currently organizing and putting together a schedule of activities for 2016 event, which will run under the theme of "Mental Health and Well-being". Find out more about IDAHO, which takes place every year on May 17th, here. Watch his interview about the importance of family with the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum here.  Yuko Higashi recently organized a series of seminars on ‘Sexual Diversity and Family’ at her Women’s Studies Center in Osaka Prefecture University. In one of the sessions that took place in November 2015, Kaoru Aoyama spoke about what it is like to be in a same-sex relationship with a partner of different nationality and raising their child, which remains uncommon in Japan.   Saskia E. Wieringa coordinated the International People’s Tribunal on the mass Crimes Against Humanity committed in Indonesia after October 1, 1965. The Tribunal took place in November 2015 with an aim to examine the evidence for these crimes against humanity and develop an accurate historical and scientific record. It was a highly emotional event with the organizers - as Saskia reports - now facing ‘inevitable backlash’. Dr. Wieringa is currently engaged in a legal mapping of homophobic and heteronormative bylaws in Indonesia, collaborating with several LGBT organizations and other groups working on sexual rights.  Benjamin Cantu, currently an artist-in-residence in Tel Aviv, is working on a family-biography film script. Before arriving in Tel Aviv, Benjamin completed filming and editing of an 80 min version of the documentary titled 'Because of Who I Am'. He has submitted the film to various film festivals and is looking forward to setting up community screenings in 2016 with the help of our Global LGBT Forum network.  Blue Diamond Society, headed by Manisha Dhakal as its executive director, conducted their first #PurpleMySchool Campaign at Joseph High School, Chakrapath, Nepal. It was attended by 130 students of grade 9 and 5+ teachers. The same campaign is planned to be carried out in 5 more schools in Kathmandu valley despite the problems created by the earthquake and India Blockade. Watch her interview on the importance of family with the Global LGBT Forum here.  Homosexualities (June 26 - Dec 1, 2015), an exhibition  at the German-Historical Museum and the Gay Museum in Berlin, Germany, did draw an unexpected 100,000 visitors. As part of the exhibit, Klaus Mueller had curated 'Within the Pink Triangle: a Memorial Space' that showed six survivors of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Watch his interview about the long-term goals of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum here. Spanish photojournalist, Álvaro Laiz, was awarded the 2015 FotoVisura Grant for Outstanding Personal Project for his photo series “The Hunt,” that documents the Udege people and their practice of shamanism in the heart of the Russian Far East. 
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Mariano Ruiz – No matter where you are, you know someone is taking action
Mariano Ruiz – No matter where you are, you know someone is taking action
Heather Jaber 
While gay pride days occur on different dates throughout the world, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHO) occurs on May 17 - a day to raise awareness to LGBT rights issues across the world. “May 17 is the day where no matter what part of the world you are,” said Mariano Ruiz,  “you know that someone is taking action in [over 130] countries today.” Ruiz, a participant of the most recent Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion, works to create calls to action for LGBT rights on May 17 in the Latin American and Caribbean region. In this region, he said, things are moving in a progressive direction, with countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Mexico as recent supporters of equal marriage rights. Ruiz touched on his own experiencing moving from a small village to the big city and how he learned the importance of communal pride movements that support LGBT rights. “Pride was the break point that made me change my mind to try and change reality.” Mariano connects with other activists in the region, maintaining partnerships and campaigning for equal rights for the LGBT community. He also works with the Argentinian Federation for Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transexuals (FALGBT) to campaign for passing bills on equal marriage and gender identity. To see the full interview, check out the clip below.
The Salzburg Global program Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/551
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Danish Sheikh - Law was the sphere through which I broke my silence
Danish Sheikh - Law was the sphere through which I broke my silence
Heather Jaber 
For Danish Sheikh, being in law school meant not only a future career as a lawyer, but it also meant using the law to advocate for LGBT rights. “I feel like I came out as a gay man just before I came out as a human rights lawyer,” said Sheikh. “I feel like the two are very connected in my head." Sheikh works at the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore, India, conducting research and providing legal support for LGBT initiatives, including the decriminalization of homosexuality.  At the third Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, Danish led a group discussion on battling discriminatory laws, especially within India. Participants discussed methods for making laws irrelevant, identifying conflicting laws, and including various LGBT groups within the law. The biggest obstacle, said Sheikh, has been advocating for LGBT rights under a conservative government. One way to tackle this issue is to identify cases where the individuals from the LGBT community are being prosecuted under the law by requesting information from police stations. “We’ve always made the case that discrimination in LGBT sphere in India is a case of persecution rather than prosecution. Now we’ve started to actively go and find instances of prosecution happening.” To watch the full interview, check out the clip below.
The Salzburg Global program Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/551
READ MORE...
Kasha Nabagesera - My motivation is knowing people follow my struggle
Kasha Nabagesera - My motivation is knowing people follow my struggle
Heather Jaber 

When Kasha Nabagesera landed the cover of TIME magazine’s Europe edition in June, she viewed it not only as a personal achievement, but as a way to garner attention for LGBT rights. “It feels great and incredible, but also for me it’s more than just me being on the cover,” she said. “It’s more of putting the visibility of the LGBT struggle around the world or the movement, because as much as they said it’s out of Africa, it carries stories from very many people around the world.”

The activist had been joining the meetings of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum since 2013 and shared her perspectives in many of the conversations at the third gathering of the Forum in June 2015. In November 2015, Kasha received Sweden's Right Livelihood Award, the “Alternative Nobel Prize” which recognizes those who do inspiring or courageous work to combat social issues. Since its inception 35 years ago, there have been 162 recipients from 67 countries.

Throughout the last decade, Kasha has used the judicial system to fight institutionalized homophobia and discriminatory laws in Uganda. She has also used the media, co-founding Uganda’s first LGBT publication and initiating media campaigns about LGBT issues. 

Of the Global LGBT Forum, Kasha Nabagesera said that learning best practices from other activists around the globe going through the same struggles has been very inspirational for her struggle. “Even just knowing that people around the world are following your struggle and they're supportive is also something that really motivates me,” she said.

To see the full interview, check out the clip below.


The Salzburg Global program Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/551
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Klaus Mueller - We are a growing network to reach full equality now
Klaus Mueller - We are a growing network to reach full equality now
Heather Jaber 
In an increasingly globalized world, both rapid progress and severe backlashes in the human rights situation of LGBT people are apparent, said Klaus Mueller, founder and chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. To understand and contextualize these changes, a global perspective is needed. The Forum was established to bring leaders from political, legal, artistic, cultural, and religious backgrounds together and advance LGBT human rights across the world. Mueller founded the Forum with the inaugural Forum meeting in 2013. The most recent gathering, under the theme of 'Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion', took place in June 2015. “We are a growing global network with the explicit goal to advance LGBT human rights around the world in all aspects of life and to reach full equality now” said Mueller. He emphasized that the Global LGBT Forum today has members from 54 countries.  Mueller explained that the Forum is a personal network of trust that is slowly expanding and  developing into a long-term network to exchange expertise and life experiences. “The Forum is really guided by many voices, and I think that is necessary in a global conversation."   "What we do right now is that we connect on many different layers,” said Mueller. “We connect to governments, we connect to cultural new developments, we connect to religious communities, and I think that's the only way how real change can happen.” Not only do leaders come together to discuss rights issues, said Mueller, but regain energy, a sense of community and a shared understanding of the importance of their work. “We often get people who come and think what they do is not really that important, whereas all of us think that’s amazing what they're doing,” he said. “So we create a space in which we actually understand that these are the leaders to move forward on basic human rights around the world. And when they leave, they have the energy to continue and deepen their mission.” Mueller (www.kmlink.net) is an international consultant for museums, foundations, and NGOs and has been working on LGBT human rights for many years. He is an author, independent film maker (Paragraph 175) and exhibition curator, with exhibitions on the Nazi persecutions of homosexuals in the Netherlands, South Africa, and Germany. He is working as the European Representative of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and consulted the Holocaust Museum on the inclusion of related materials in its permanent exhibition. He is also chair of Salzburg Global’s Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Initiative. For the full interview, check out the clip below.
Klaus Mueller is founder and chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The Salzburg Global program Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/551
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Monica Pisankaneva - LGBT people are common scapegoats to blame for social issues
Monica Pisankaneva - LGBT people are common scapegoats to blame for social issues
Heather Jaber 

When it comes to various social issues like increased social spending or poverty, said Monica Pisankaneva, a participant of the latest Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, the LGBT community often becomes the scapegoat. This stems from the lack of awareness about LGBT rights, she said. “I think the understanding of the importance of LGBTI equality is still not at a very high level in the political mainstream in Bulgaria,” said the Fellow.

Pisankaneva is chairperson of the Bilitis Resource Center Foundation Bulgaria, which works for LGBT rights and inclusion in Bulgaria. She spoke of studying in Amsterdam where she became interested in minority inclusion and LGBT rights. “This is where I became an activist in spirit,” she said, “and when I got back to Bulgaria, I became an activist in practice.”

The participant also spoke of the need for political support in efforts towards bottom up change. “My experience shows that bottom up work would be effective only if there is political understanding and political leadership to pick up what the activists are trying to promote.” Rather than working in a vacuum, activists need some sort of wider understanding.

That understanding may lie in the form of alliances, she said, such as research data for evidence-based advocacy, or relationships with international organizations which support human rights efforts. This, she said, may convince political leaders that LGBT rights must be dealt with.

Monica is also project manager at the initiative Towards Inclusive of LGBTI Students and Staff School Policies, where she researches school policies in Sofia to analyze protection levels of LGBT students and staff. She then provides recommendations for more inclusive school policies. Pisankaneva also works in as philanthropy development manager at the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation, introducing new concepts of local giving. 

For more about the importance of activism and broader alliances, watch the interview below.


The Salzburg Global program Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/551

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Victor Yang - We need to not only sit in the bargaining chair, but shake the table
Victor Yang - We need to not only sit in the bargaining chair, but shake the table
Heather Jaber 

While many institutions claim to also work for the marginalized, the reality is that many of these people are not involved in decision-making processes, said Victor Yang, participant of the third annual Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion.

“Who is at the table?” asked Yang, who is a community organizer and doctoral Student at the University of Oxford UK. “What I really would like to see, and have seen achieved in the past in rare instances, are those people coming to the table empowered not only to sit in front of that bargaining chair, but also to shake it so vigorously that the table actually falls over and that there’s a radical shift and change in power structure.”

Yang shared his formative experience of growing up as a person of Chinese heritage in the American south. “Seeing how discrimination, racism, difference manifested themselves very viscerally and personally growing up planted the seeds. I didn’t have the words to talk about it, but I definitely had the emotions with which to label that.”

Yang's research relates to these feelings of difference, and looks into the lives of low-income people of color within the HIV/AIDS movement. Specifically, his work focuses on the Philadelphia chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and the impact of these types of movements in uprooting traditional hierarchies of power. 

Yang also works as a community organizer, focusing on anti-racist and street-level activism. He led academics from Oxford to launch their first summit on race equality. What is important in this type of activism, said Yang, is to make sure people are not being used as pawns or numbers for organizations, but actually "thinking about people in their own transformative potential."

To hear more about Yang's formative experiences and outlook on systems of power, watch the interview below.


The Salzburg Global program Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/551
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NEWSLETTER

 

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VIDEOS

Now is the time to create a Global LGBT Forum
Call to action by Global LGBT Forum Chair, Klaus Mueller

The core of being a trans person is about being oneself and transforming into who you are  

Think outside the box:
New ideas for LGBT philanthropy

Online security of LGBT activists in the Arab world:
How can you be safe online? 

My Love Knows No Boundaries
A poem by Elizabeth Khaxas

Sexuality in the Arab world 
and the shifting borderlines between ḥalāl and ḥarām

How artists shape our conversations 
on LGBT human rights

The lives of older Hong Kong gay men
as interviewed by Travis S. K. Kong


For more videos with our Global LGBT Forum members, click here