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 to 19, 2017

Most recent sessions:

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

Danish Sheikh - Dreaming of Gay Rights in Delhi
Danish Sheikh at Session 551 - Global LGBT Forum - Strengthening Communities:
Danish Sheikh - Dreaming of Gay Rights in Delhi
Patrick Wilson 
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Fellow Danish Sheikh has been featured in an article for the New York Times entitled “Dreaming of Gay Rights in Delhi.” Sheikh worked at the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore, India, primarily focusing on conducting research and on litigation and activism concerning LGBT rights. He has been assisting with two briefs in the Indian Supreme Court that is attempting to decriminalize homosexuality in India. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states that people can face life imprisonment for committing “carnal intercourse against the order of the nature.” Due to the subjective interpretation of the order of nature, the law has been used to prosecute members of the LGBT community as well as material to blackmail them. In the article Sheikh talks about his own personal experiences working to fight the case at the Alternative Law Forum while struggling with his family confronting his sexuality. At one time, his family even sent him to a psychiatrist as an attempt to cure his homosexuality. Confronted with the psychiatrist wild theories, Skeikh threatened to sue him for malpractice - which was followed by a huge fight within his family. But that fight proved to be cathartic. “After that, things got a lot easier,” Danish Sheikh said, "The origins of Section 377 can be found during the British rule of India in the 1800s. Despite a court decision that finally ended this colonial law and decriminalized sex between consenting adults in 2009, the judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court of India in 2013." Now the Indian Supreme Court has accepted to review of Section 377 once again. Sheikh - who recently started to work for the International Commission of Jurists and closely follows the case - explained in an interview with Klaus Mueller, Founder and Chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, where the process stands: "The latest order from the Court notes that the petition will be referred to a 5 judge Constitution Bench. This indicates that the Court is committed to engaging with the matter at the depth it deserves and will re-examine all the arguments that were raised and discarded in its prior ruling which recriminalized same-sex relations in the country. Hopes are high that the Court will set right the great wrong of that ruling."  He also pointed out that "the transgender community has often been at the very forefront of LGBT advocacy in the country. The Supreme Court's judgment of 2014 - that affirmed the constitutional rights and freedoms of transgender persons - provided transgender individuals in the country with a path breaking charter of rights. It also paved the way for a more inclusive jurisprudence with respect to sexuality and gender." Sheihk shared his recent Op-ed for the Indian Express in which he explained the potential extensive effects of a Supreme Court vote for the 'right to love' beyond LGBT equality, for example in the protection of now disputed inter-caste unions or inter-faith relationships.  Sheikh is a member of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum since its third meeting on Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion in 2015. You can see his interview on the legal situation in India for the Global LGBT Forum website here.  During the session, he hosted a table at the “Knowledge Café” on “Reading between the lines: Battling discriminatory laws.” The group discussed legal mechanisms to push LGBT rights forward, such as narrowing the scope of discriminatory laws or broadening legal principles to make them more inclusive. Sheikh shared with human rights defenders from around the world the legal strategies the LGBT community has used in India, such as making oppressive laws irrelevant by preventing enforcements; fracturing the law by highlighting conflictive laws; and expanding the coverage of transgender laws to include as many LGBT groups as possible. You can read the full report from the 2015 session here.
READ MORE...
Sridhar Rangayan – Fellow named in Global List of filmmakers promoting LGBT rights
Sridhar Rangayan at Session 506 - LGBT and Human Rights:
Sridhar Rangayan – Fellow named in Global List of filmmakers promoting LGBT rights
Patrick Wilson 
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Fellow, Sridhar Rangayan has been selected by the British Council for his inspiring work in the LGBT community. The Indian filmmaker and gay activist, was selected by a worldwide nomination to be part of the British Council’s inaugural “fiveFilms4freedom” Global List. The list consists of 33 inspiring people from 23 different countries who are changing social perceptions about LGBTQ communities throughout the world. The #fiveFilms4freedom Global List was launched in 2016 as a global social media campaign that aimed to highlight inspiring people who are using culture to promote freedom and equality, who are provoking debate, or are risking their lives to promote the rights of LGBT people in their society or country. #fiveFilms4freedom is part of the BFI Flare – the London LGBT Film Festival. Rangayan is an award winning filmmaker with his most recent movie Breaking Free winning the Best Editing category of India’s 63rd National Film Awards. He also is the Founding Director of the Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival.  Breaking Free was shot over seven years and embarks on a personal journey to expose the human rights violations faced by the Indian LGBTQ community due to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which carries a heavy sentence of 10 years or up to life for sexual activities considered “against the order of nature.” The film is described as a truthful and honest film that exposes the brutality of the law, police and government in victimizing gay and transgender persons using Section 377. Rangayan was a Fellow of the Founding gathering of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum in 2013: LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps. At the session, Rangayan spoke alongside Indonesian filmmaker Lola Amaria about “reflecting and creating new realities” through queer filmmaking. He has been an active member of the Global LGBT Forum ever since, which today includes a network of representatives from more than 54 countries on six continents. That first session also saw the publication of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Statement on Advancing Human Rights for LGBT People and Communities, which highlighted the important role culture and the arts have to play in promoting “dignified and accurate representations” of LGBT individuals and communities
READ MORE...
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. 
READ MORE...
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
READ MORE...
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
READ MORE...
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
READ MORE...
Displaying results ###SPAN_BEGIN###%s to %s out of ###SPAN_BEGIN###%s

NEWSLETTER

 

To receive updates from the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, click here to subscribe.

VIDEOS

 

In the lead up to our fifth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, we're sharing videos from our session in Chiang Rai, Thailand last year.

This week's theme is ASIA

Founder and Chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Klaus Mueller explains why the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum met in Asia

Laurindo Garcia on the diversity and complexity of LGBT lives in Asia

Bao Chau Nguyen and Seakley Pipi Say on being happy & transgender

Thilaga Sulathireh on LGBT communities in Asia

Passang Dorji on coming out on TV in Bhutan and the progress made in his country since then

Cha Roque about being a lesbian filmmaker

Pema Dorji on being bullied in school