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 Fellow on TIME Magazine Cover
Salzburg Global Fellow on TIME Magazine Cover
Rachitaa Gupta 
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a Fellow of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, was featured on the cover of the TIME Magazine’s European Edition: Out in Africa this week. Boldly posing, with her fist raised on the cover of TIME, Nabagesera is the leading LGBT activist in Uganda, a country facing extreme homophobia, following the passing of a bill in 2014 that can lead to life imprisonment for the LGBT community. Nabagesera is also the co-editor of Bombastic, Uganda’s first LGBT publication. She told The Advocate that she hopes the cover will not only bring awareness to the plight of LGBT Ugandans, but also help people realize globally that LGBT people are their friends, neighbors, and family members.  “It’s a great honor for me to be on the cover because it brings attention to the global LGBT struggle,” Nabagesera told The Advocate. “Now many people will know about the struggles LGBT people go through in Africa and the world over. They will realize that the people they hate most are actually the people they love most when they get to read the article. They could be hating on their beloved family and friend without knowing they are LGBT.” Nabagesera was featured as a part of a photo essay by Robin Hammond showcasing 65 portraits of LGBT people, from 15 different countries, who have faced discrimination. According to Hammond, the photographs were all posed portraits and it was a collaboration between him and the subject. “I would ask them how we could illustrate their story. The results were sometimes interesting. Kasha, the Ugandan lesbian activist, wanted to be shown as a strong leader. I asked her if she had a symbol of strength — she rose her fist,” Hammond told TIME. "We have very long way to go in this struggle but I am glad we are not just sitting back," Nabagesera said in the photo essay. She is also the founder of gay rights organization Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), and attended both the sessions of Global LGBT Forum at Salzburg Global Seminar. She has been advocating for the rights of the LGBT community in Uganda globally at various international fora. As a plenary speaker at the Founding gathering Global LGBT Forum 2013, she talked about the need for the international politicians and campaigners to coordinate with the local activist to fight against the hate crimes plaguing the countries. She was also a panel speaker at the Public Forum at the German Federal Foreign Office during the Berlin meeting 2014, where she shared her experience of helping the local activists in Uganda cope during the government and public crackdown through security and safety training. In 2013, Nabagesera was awarded the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award for continuing her fight for the rights of the LGBT community in Uganda despite the threats of imprisonment and death she faces every day in her country. She will be returning to the Salzburg Global Seminar for the 3rd Global LGBT Forum- Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights and Social Cohesion. * LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. We are using this term as it is widely recognized in many parts of the world, but we would not wish it to be read as in any way exclusive of other cultures, terms or groups.
New LGBT Fellows
New LGBT Fellows
Rachitaa Gupta 
At the brink of our third meeting of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum we want to use the momentum and start a new twice-a-year newsletter for our Global LGBT Forum Network. In this edition (subscribe here) we start with a few highlights from our past Fellows and the new people joining us this year. We hope that it inspires you to reconnect, and even more, share with us your own stories for future editions of our newsletter. If you want to reach out to our Fellowship Network, please keep us updated and send your updates to:  Salzburg Global Seminar would like to welcome the following new fellows to its Global LGBT Forum, who will be joining us for Global LGBT Forum - Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion.
Rangita de Silva de Alwis was appointed Associate Dean for International Affairs, University of Pennsylvania Law School in January, 2015. She was also honored by the SEC Women's Committee "for her contributions as an advocate, scholar, and policy maker forging the path for women’s equality." Kiromiddin Gulov is director of Equal Opportunities at AIDS Action Europe, the only organisation providing support for LGBT community in Tajikistan. He was a panelist at the 2nd Regional Practical Conference “Eurasian Trans Health” (forming the system of medical care for transgender people in the CIS countries) in October 2014. Robert Moeller, Assistant Professor at Middlebury College, authored an article 'An episodic analysis of substance use and risky sexual behavior in a racially diverse sample of young men who have sex with men' in Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services. His research is also published in Journal of Homosexuality. Arber Nuhiu, Executive Director at Center for Social Group Development in Kosovo, contributed to the Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo report, “Freedom and Protection for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender in Kosovo” in 2013. Stefan Scholz spoke at Discussion Meeting on EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans – Strengthening Regional Cooperation in April 2015. He is Head of Department, Planning and Programming Development at Federation Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. Wei Wei, Associate Professor of Sociology at East China Normal University, published his second book 'Queering Chinese Society: Urban Space, Popular Culture and Social Policy in Chinese. Kaoru Aoyama co-authored 'Asian Women and Intimate Work' published in 2013, which was the Winner of the 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award. Patricia Davis was panel speaker at 'Global Leadership in the Fight for LGBT Rights and Equality' event on Capitol Hill in December 2014. She is the Director for Global Programs, Human Rights, and Labor at US Department of State. The Salzburg Global program Global LGBT Forum - Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights & Social Cohesion is part of multi-year series Global LGBT Forum. The list of our partners for Session 551 can be found here. For more information, please visit the link: You can follow all the discussion on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSlgbt. * LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. We are using this term as it is widely recognized in many parts of the world, but we would not wish it to be read as in any way exclusive of other cultures, terms or groups.
LGBT Fellow Updates
LGBT Fellow Updates
Rachitaa Gupta 
We are starting a new twice-a-year newsletter for our Global LGBT Forum Network (subscribe here). In this edition we start with a few highlights from our past Fellows and the new people joining us this year. We hope that it inspires you to reconnect, and even more, share with us your own stories for future editions of our newsletter.
Tamara Adrian was appointed Chair of the IDAHOT Committee’s Board of Trustees in March 2014. IDAHO Committee was created in 2005 by the founders of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia “For the past 10 years, the IDAHO Committee has worked to make the Day (May 17) become the single biggest LGBT global annual mobilization moment.” Also see our video interview with Tamara Adrian. (Fellow of Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: Creating Long Term Global Networks to Sustain LGBT Human Rights Organizations and LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera was featured on the cover of the TIME Magazine's European Edition: Out in Africa, this week. She was also the recipient of 2013 Nuremberg Human Rights Award. She also launched Bombastic, first LGBT publication in Uganda. Also see our feature on her. (Fellow of Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: Creating Long Term Global Networks to Sustain LGBT Human Rights Organizations and LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Ralf Kleindiek was appointed State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs by minister Manuela Schwesig in January 2014. (Fellow of Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: Creating Long Term Global Networks to Sustain LGBT Human Rights Organizations) Michael Kirby, a long time Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, was appointed Vice Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association and Commissioner of UNAIDS Commission on Sustainable Health. He was the Commissioner and Chair, UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and was awarded the Leo Nevas Award for Human Rights from the UN Foundation of the USA. Yinhe Li was featured in New York Times for promoting the rights of LGBT community in China. She and her partner were also featured on the cover of People Weekly, one of the most widely read magazines in China. Also see our video interview with Yinhe Li. (Fellow of LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Fadi Zaghmout will be releasing English translation of his first novel "Aroos Amman" in July, 2015 after presenting a translated chapter of his book for the first time at our Founding gathering Global LGBT Forum 2013. Titled "The Bride of Amman", the novel was first published in 2012 in Arabic and "takes a sharp-eyed look at the intersecting lives of four women and one gay man in Jordan’s historic capital, Amman—a city deeply imbued with its nation’s traditions and taboos." He also published his second book, "Heaven on Earth" in 2014. (Fellow of LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Travis Kong presented a short video on older Chinese gay men during our Founding gathering Global LGBT Forum 2013, with a very lively and supportive discussion, and has continued working on this topic. He now presented his book 'Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong' and was featured in Gay and Grey Talk in March, 2015. The book documents "twelve life stories of such men and captures how complexity of their lives is interwoven with the Hong Kong history, as well as the difficulties and hardships they have encountered especially due to their sexual orientation, through colonial to contemporary times." Also see our video interview with Travis Kong. (Fellow of LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Nazeeha Saeed was nominated for the Johann Philipp Palm Award, by the Committee to Protect Journalists for showing "a dedicated commitment to free expression in a country with consistent history of repression and censorship and denial, despite the risks to her safety." (Fellow of LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Zanele Muholi shared her work and new projects with us in a lively evening presentation at our Founding gathering Global LGBT Forum 2013, and now works on her exhibition Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence at Brooklyn Museum. This exhibition is the "most comprehensive museum presentation to date of Muholi’s works and features several of the artist’s ongoing projects about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) communities, both in her home country and abroad." (Fellow of LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Ana Chacon took the office as the Vice President of Costa Rica in the administration of Luis Guillermo Solís. She is one of the two Vice Presidents of Costa Rica and was elected on May 8, 2014. Also see our video interview with Ana Chacon. (Fellow of LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps) Klaus Mueller curated In the Pink Triangle: a Memorial Space for the larger exhibition Homosexualities at the German-Historical Museum and Gay Museum in Berlin that opens on June 26, 2015.  His exhibition In whom can I still? on the Nazi persecution of homosexuals was shown in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, South Africa. (Founder and Chair, Salzburg Global LBGT Forum). If you want to reach out to our Fellowship Network, please keep us updated and send your updates to: * LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. We are using this term as it is widely recognized in many parts of the world, but we would not wish it to be read as in any way exclusive of other cultures, terms or groups.
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: Creating Long-Term Global Networks to Sustain LGBT Human Rights Organizations
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: Creating Long-Term Global Networks to Sustain LGBT Human Rights Organizations
Salzburg Global Seminar 
The report from the May 2014 program of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum is now available online. The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum was formed in June 2013 to establish a truly global, open and conducive space to reflect upon and advance the LGBT human rights discussion worldwide. To ensure a sustainable follow-up to the Salzburg gathering, the German Federal Foreign Office, in conjunction with Salzburg Global Seminar, brought together, in Berlin, human rights leaders from China, India, Germany, Lebanon, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Uganda, and Venezuela for three days of consultations in May 2014 as part of the Salzburg Global session Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: Creating Long-Term Global Networks to Sustain LGBT Human Rights Organizations. You can read more about the sessions and the Salzburg Global Fellows' recommendations in the report below.
Download the report as a PDF *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 w ish it to be read as exclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender-nonconforming identities.  
Re-envisioning Salzburg Global Seminar
Re-envisioning Salzburg Global Seminar
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Salzburg Global Seminar proudly presents its new periodical, The Salzburg Global Chronicle. Replacing the traditional annual President’s Report, the new publication “chronicles” Salzburg Global’s programs at Schloss Leopoldskron and around the world, including profiles on both “up-and-coming” leaders and high profile Salzburg Global Fellows, and features on the impact Salzburg Global Seminar, its programs, staff and Fellows have in the world beyond the Schloss.

Highlights include:

15 Faces for the Future  

Salzburg Global Seminar’s mission is to challenge current and future leaders to tackle problems of global concern. To this end, Salzburg Global brings young, emerging leaders to Schloss Leopoldskron, not only for our Academies programs, but for every Salzburg Global session. Nearly 500 of our 1844 Fellows who attended sessions between 2011 and 2013 were under the age of 40, in addition to the more than 800 Academies participants. Below are just 15 of our remarkable young Fellows.

The Power of Partnership 

Salzburg Global Seminar’s programs would not happen without our partners. Partners provide not only the intellectual capital and input to drive the session forward but often the much needed financial capital necessary to bring Fellows and faculty to Salzburg. But what do partners get out of working with Salzburg Global?

A Distinct History, a Universal Message  

For three days, at a palace once home to the local Nazi party leader, experts from across the globe considered the value of Holocaust education in a global context at a symposium hosted by Salzburg Global and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. They proved the Holocaust is more than just a European or Jewish experience.

Strength in Diversity 

LGBT rights are moving up the international agenda, and while progress is being made, at the same time some countries are passing increasingly regressive laws. In June 2013, Salzburg Global convened its first ever Salzburg Global LGBT Forum addressing LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps, starting a truly global conversation.

An Unlikely Constellation of Partners  

Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Appalachian College Association, member institutions of which serve predominantly white students, do not seem like the most obvious of partners. But this did not stop them from coming together to transform their schools into sites of global citizenship through the Salzburg Global Seminar-led, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Mellon Fellow Community Initiative.

Media Change Makers

Since helping to launch the program in 2007, Salzburg Global President Stephen L. Salyer has taken a hands-on role in the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change: helping to devise the program, delivering lectures and mentoring students. This year, he met with student representatives from each region represented at the eighth annual program to find out how the Academy is helping shape them. The Chronicle is available online at and to download as a PDF and in our ISSUU Library    Download the Salzburg Global Chronicle as a PDF Print copies are available at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron and all upcoming Salzburg Global Seminar events and programs.
Helena Kennedy and Michael Kirby: "A Law Unto Themselves"
Helena Kennedy and Michael Kirby: "A Law Unto Themselves"
Tanya Yilmaz 
Helena Kennedy had not even finished listing attributed qualities when Justice Michael Kirby interrupted her with a good-humored laugh.

“God that makes me exhausted! I didn’t know I’d been accused of so many crimes,” Kirby remarked.

In an interview for BBC Radio 4, Cutler Lecturer Baroness Helena Kennedy spoke to Salzburg Global Fellow, Justice Michael Kirby, in a new series of talks called “A Law Unto Themselves”. The series will see Kennedy interview four eminent international lawyers and judges whose courage and dedication to protecting the rule of law has helped make societies more justifiable.

Kirby discussed how his life-long pursuit of justice was driven by his own experiences with equal gay rights in Australia which has led him to use his expertise to fight for human rights in North Korea.

He was the first Australian High Court judge to come out as gay in 1999 after he revealed that he had been in a stable same-sex relationship since 1969. Kirby has since campaigned for gay rights which have brought him into conflict with not only politicians but also the church and fellow judges.

As a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow, Kirby has attended numerous sessions in the past including, “Biotechnology: Legal, Ethical and Social Issues” and “Telecommunications: Policy Issues and Regulatory Practices.” Kirby also expressed support for (though was unable to attend) the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum in Berlin this year. Whilst in North Korea, Kirby produced a report detailing and investigation into the widespread violations of human rights in the country and to ensure full accountability is evident, particularly, for acts which may be classified as crimes against humanity. In 2014, Kirby penned a letter to the participants of the Salzburg Global session Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention: Sharing Experience Across Borders”, where he outlined the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations, particularly within the context of North Korea. He not only discussed the modern definition of genocide but also called for participants to engage with new issues such as the global approach to narcotic drug control; human rights issues presented by HIV; the issues of animal rights, protection and welfare. In his letter, Kirby stated: “I applaud the program at which the marvellous Salzburg Global Seminar will address issues presented by Holocaust and genocide education.” When talking with Kennedy about his judicial work within the High Court of Australia and the Court of Appeal of New South Wales, Kirby made reference to how he adopts the rule of law based on his values.

“I do admit that my background, my experience, my education and my sexuality have an impact on your values and values are critically important – the higher you go up the judiciary ladder, the more important are your values because in the spaces left in the ambiguities of law and statues,” Kirby explained.

Baroness Helena Kennedy has also strong ties with Salzburg Global having been the Cutler lecturer at the “Third Annual Lloyd N. Cutler Lecture on the Rule of Law: ‘Conversation at the Court’”. She also attended Cutler Fellow Program in 2012 as well as the November Board of Directors Dinner in the same year. During the interview, Kennedy described Kirby as the “Great Dissenter”, as he frequently votes against his fellow judges and expresses his personal views outside of the courtroom – something which judges are not supposed to do.

The BBC program also featured speakers such as John Doth and Geoffrey Robertson, who both praised for Kirby’s openness about his sexuality.

Robertson said: “He had two qualities which were remarkable as a judge…He was gay and he came out, and that gave him the perspective of a minority group, it gave him a real, visceral understanding of how law and non-discrimination law was important for different groups of people… [which] marked him as someone who was particularly able to bring the law into the 21st century and into a position where it could better advance human aspirations.”

Doth added that by coming out as gay, Kirby “gave a real respectability to the gay community” and it made a huge difference to public attitudes in Australia. 
To listen to Baroness Helena Kennedy interview Justice Michael Kirby, go to the BBC iPlayer website: Download Michael Kirby's letter to Salzburg Global Fellows on Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention
Global LGBT Forum, Day 3: Public Forum on supporting LGBT human rights held in Berlin
Global LGBT Forum, Day 3: Public Forum on supporting LGBT human rights held in Berlin
Klaus Mueller and Sudeshan Reddy 
The Public Forum provided a unique opportunity for the Global LGBT Forum participants and representatives of the German Foreign Ministry to address key issues facing LGBT communities globally. Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, opened the evening outlining how the German government supports a large variety of measures to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI persons in the world: "While contexts and stakeholders vary, the questions Foreign Service members face in choosing these measures are often similar: Should support be public or discreet? How do we avoid endangering human rights defenders and the very rights they are trying to protect?" He continued that regular conversation with civil society and human rights defenders is vital: "To help us identify these questions and identify answers, we have invited a core group of the Global LGBT Forum to join us in Berlin for meetings and conversations on how to sustain Global LGBT networks." Klaus Mueller, the chair of the Global LGBT Forum, thanked the German Federal Foreign Office for their invitation and emphasized that "our partnership is driven by two shared perspectives: to strengthen cooperation that, while established, is relatively new for both sides: LGBT groups would benefit from better understanding procedures of the Foreign Office; and the Ministry struggles to build continuous engagement with groups that in many countries operate under extreme pressure, are fragile, or even illegal. We both believe this new relationship should not be taken for granted, but nurtured through regular meetings." Adding, that "we both struggle with a growing global polarization on questions around sexual orientation and gender identity," Mueller asked the question: "How can we react to the fact that not only the struggle for LGBT rights has gone global, but hate too - and that trans- and homophobia are more and more connected globally?" Christoph Strässer moderated the first conversation entitled: "Supporting LGBT Human Rights: What works, where and when, and what does not?" Hans-Ulrich Südbeck, the Head of Division of the Western Balkan Office of the Federal Foreign Office described the close cooperation between LGBT activists and EU embassies in Serbia. Diplomatic pressure on the Serbian government helped to secure the freedom of assembly and Pride March in Belgrade. Diplomatic intervention by EU members, Germany included, led to integrating LGBT rights into the general human rights framework in some Balkan countries. As diplomats have limited terms in a duty station, he emphasized, that it is critical that local activists have more than one contact point at an embassy and operate pro-actively. Russia is a similarly difficult environment as described by Olga Lenkova, spokesperson for Coming Out, a St. Petersburg, Russia-based LGBT support group, who made the case that behind-the-scenes diplomatic engagement with government officials at times can be very useful as these officials are often less hostile and defensive during private discussions. Wanja Kilber, spokesperson for Coming Out, a St. Petersburg, Russia-based LGBT support group, suggested to use existing networks, such as city partnerships, to address LGBT human rights. With regard to the role of the United Nations, Tamara Adriana of the Central University of Venezuela described the increasing visibility of LGBT issues. Capacity building by diplomatic missions, among others, has allowed activists to travel abroad and get better informed through the exchange of ideas and best practice. Sudeshan Reddy from the United Nations Information Centre in South Africa noted how, in numerous multilateral forums, homophobia and transphobia has moved away from the periphery of global human rights discourse. From the UN Secretary-General to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, LGBT rights are prominently discussed and promoted. Examples of this are the landmark 2011 resolution in the UN Human Rights Committee as well as launch of an anti-homophobia campaign titled “UN Free and Equal.” The UN remains the largest forum in the world and the significance of its increasingly assertive anti-homo- and transphobia stance should not be underestimated; but that strong and continuous pro-active support from countries like Germany remains essential for future success. The situation in India remains complex according to Pooja Badrinath of CREA with both progressive and regressive legal supreme court judgments within the last year. Civil society in India remains active and vibrant but capacity building is key and the support of diplomatic missions here is valuable. Dan Zhou, a lawyer and activist from China highlighted the significance of networking and urged a more coordinated approach from embassies on LGBT human rights that could facilitate regular exchanges and meetings as well as build bridges to other civil society organizations, as for example to gender activist groups. 
The Public Forum provided a unique opportunity for the Global LGBT Forum participants and representatives of the German Foreign Ministry to address key issues facing LGBT communities globally. The second part of the Public Discussion examined the issue of “Crisis Response: How to react? How to react well?” and was moderated by Anke Konrad, the Deputy Head of Division in the Human Rights Office of the Federal Foreign Office. When there is a sudden deterioration of the human rights situation on the ground, it is critical that local organisations have contingency plans. As the situation in Uganda worsened, Kasha Nabagesera, Founder and former Executive Director of FARUG in Kampala, Uganda, spoke of how prior training in security and safety helped local activists cope. The support of various diplomatic missions in Kampala was also encouraging both prior to and after the crack-down by the government against the LGBT community. What was not anticipated was the public outing campaign by some of the Ugandan print media which then meant it became less secure for LGBT activists to meet. Here too, the Guidelines prepared by Farug for diplomatic missions, among others, assisted with providing them with advice on how to support the LGBT community. These included information on the sanctions that should be applied as Uganda should serve as deterrence for other countries. Legal assistance, advice and general moral support from diplomatic missions based in hostile countries cannot be underestimated. In a crisis situation, key contacts are a vital tool, argued Dietrich Becker, Head of Division for Western and Central Africa in the Federal Foreign Office. Hence, it is important for activists to  establish personal relationships and keep these contacts going before the situation deteriorates.  In addition, activists need to be pro-active in contacting ambassadors and should not expect any pre-existing knowledge. Even conservative diplomatic staff are aware that LGBT-issues are high on the  German agenda. Discussing the Uganda case, Riccardo Serri of the European External Action Service informed the audience that the EU member states viewed the passing of the homophobic laws in Uganda as a very serious issue.  Guidelines on LGBTI issues proved to be helpful to senior EU officials. Steps taken included the collection of information on the situation in Uganda as well as open-door and closed-door diplomacy tactics. With regard to Eastern Europe, he noted, that there is considerable leverage if a country aspires to be a member of the EU. Financial pressures can be used if governments do not respect human rights (i.e. suspending aid).  When discussing how best to foster positive development in a hostile environment, Dennis Wamala of Icebreakers in Uganda, emphasized the need to understand the causes of a difficult situation. In the case of Uganda, religion (in the form of right-wing evangelists), culture (where one does not talk openly about sexuality), and lack of knowledge (where information is not readily available to society) created the conditions for the difficult situation.   With regard to addressing this, one needs to reach out to progressive elements in society, educate civil society partners to begin a process of change.  Media should be, where possible, be used as an ally. Local activists need to work with international organisations to remind hostile governments of their obligations under international law. Postive news has emerged from Lebanon as recounted by George Azzi of the Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality who elaborated on a few recent court judgements in the country. As a consequence, there is a noticeable reluctance among the authorities to target the LGBT communities. In responding to the question: “What can we do at home to advance human rights?,” Klaus Mueller, the Chair of the Global LGBT Forum, argued that bold and clear leadership now on full equality is decisive. "Clear legislation from homo- and transphobic laws. Ensure the safety of teenagers. Recognize and value families in all shapes. Open marriage. At Home." He noted that South Africa's constitutional protection of LGBT human rights, Argentina's transgender legislation or the opening of marriage in many Latin American countries are models to follow - emphasizing the sense of urgency while the global spotlight is on the LGBT issue. In summarizing the evening Forum, Anke Konrad highlighted the need to for LGBT activists to remain in constant contact with diplomatic missions, to not work in isolation and to be prepared for emergencies.
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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