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).

Most recent sessions:

Home: Safety, Wellness, and Belonging
May 14 to 19, 2017 (Salzburg, Austria)

Building structures to support equal rights for LGBT people
Seminar and networking reception at the Embassy of Canada, Berlin, Germany, July 21, 2016

The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion
October 2 to 7, 2016 (Chaing Rai, Thailand)

Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: LGBT Human Rights & Social Cohesion
June 14 to 19, 2015


Related News

Global LGBT Forum, Day 1: No Compassion Without Passion
Global LGBT Forum, Day 1: No Compassion Without Passion
Sudeshan Reddy and Klaus Mueller 
As the returning Salzburg Global Fellows and the three new members of the Global LGBT* Forum network arrived in Berlin, participants began the three-day program updating each other on developments since the inaugural Global LGBT Forum held at Salzburg Global Seminar in June 2013.  In Uganda and Russia especially, the security of human rights defenders has deteriorated considerably while reports from Latin America, China, South Africa and Europe gave some reason for hope. In fact it seems that despite the negative as well the positive developments, LGBT human rights are finally recognized as an important issue for societies across the world to deal with. In a series of discussions, the group grappled with the question: “What can we do to advance LGBT human rights?” The consensus was that the struggles LGBT activists are finally getting global attention for what they actually are – fundamental human rights. The chair of the session, Klaus Mueller asked if this current period is indeed a golden age for LGBT rights, and, if so, how do can those working in the field secure long-term change before the global spotlight moves away. Olga Lenkova, spokesperson for Coming Out, a St. Petersburg, Russia-based LGBT support group, emphasized the need for donor countries in particular not to be paternalistic and prescriptive. If we want to change things globally, we all need to understand that there is no perfect place, she argued. Venezuelan human rights advocate and law professor, Tamara Adrian highlighted the need to have a global strategy that can work with local tactics. It is important to look at the big picture, she posited, but it is also critical to work within the local context and understand local partners and their distinct situations and challenges. For a global strategy, LGBT rights activists need to have a clear vision of sexual rights as well as the right to sexual identity and expression, and for these to be mentioned at every possible level at the UN. Many countries are not willing to change their position on LGBT rights unless they face a global challenge. Geeta Misra, executive director of CREA, a feminist human rights organization in India, reinforced the need to move beyond the narrow confines of LGBT rights only.  It is important that one takes a stand across related human rights issues, she argued. We need to stand for something bigger than the identity-based work as this loses people who don’t identify as LGBT. Related to this point, Dennis Wamala, program manager for Icebreakers Uganda, cited the example of the establishment in Uganda of an umbrella civil society group comprising 60 organizations with a human rights mandate. Thus if anyone is speaking about rights, they are speaking for all human rights which are after all linked. Concurring with this, Pooja Bandarith, also from CREA, stressed that all prejudice has similar roots including patriarchy and paternalism, and there is a need to see when one should talk from a narrow approach versus a broader approach. For Dan Zhou, a lawyer from China, communication is a skill that is much-needed in the LGBT sector and capacity building here is key.  He cautioned that anger is not always a useful weapon and that LGBT activists instead should rather use passion.  If there is no passion, it is difficult for us to generate compassion, he added. After the discussion, the group visited the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and the Memorial to the Homosexuals persecuted under the Nazi regime. In addition, the Salzburg Global Fellows also discussed the impact of the 1933 book-burning where many publications and books from the first LGBT institution ‘The Institute for Sexual Science’ were destroyed, before visiting the memorial to the book burning in Berlin.                                                                       
The Salzburg Global Fellows in Berlin, with the support and partnership of the German Federal Foreign Office, are taking part in the high-level program Creating Long-Term Global Networks to Sustain LGBT Human Rights Organizations and will be conducting meetings with the German Foreign Office, representatives of foreign embassies, human rights groups, and other select partners. For daily updates and Tweets, please see the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/545 and the Twitter hashtag #SGSlgbt * 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.
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Salzburg Global Fellows Travel to Berlin for Global LGBT Forum
Salzburg Global Fellows Travel to Berlin for Global LGBT Forum
Louise Hallman 

Left to right: Julia Stepan (Salzburg Global staff); Kasha Nabagesera and Dennis Wamala from Uganda, Olga Lenkova from Russia, Geetanjali Misra from India, Dan Zhou from China, Tamara Adrian from Venezuela, Sudeshan Reddy from South Africa, Pooja Badarinth from India

Front row: Klaus Mueller and Wanja Kilber from Germany, Georges Azzi from Lebanon, Ben Glahn (Salzburg Global staff)


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. To address this uneven progress, the
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum was formed in June 2013 to establish a truly global space to reflect upon and advance the LGBT and Human Rights discussions around the world.   This weekend, ten participants of the first Forum, together with three new members will meet in Berlin for the second Global LGBT Forum, hosted by the German Federal Foreign Office, looking at the specific ways that LGBT issues are addressed by ministries of foreign affairs and their embassies across the globe, but especially in the global South and East, and how their support for human rights issues can help to ensure that LGBT and other human rights organizations, embassies, and other actors can build closer networks and more effective relationships. Speaking about the decision to partner with the German Federal Foreign Office, Global LGBT Forum Chair, Klaus Mueller said: “Our partnership with the German Federal Foreign Office, I believe, 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 and protocols of the Foreign Office; 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.  “And we both struggle with a growing global polarization on questions around sexual orientation and gender identity. 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?” He also pointed out that the German Federal Foreign Office has supported the Global LGBT Forum from the start, and that the series of meetings over three days with colleagues from across the Ministry and other embassies is a direct follow-up of the work started at Schloss Leopoldskron, home of Salzburg Global Seminar, last year.  The Berlin meetings of the Global LGBT Forum will bring together human rights leaders from around the world: Tamara Adrian from Venezuela, Kasha Nabagesera and Dennis Wamala from Uganda, Olga Lenkova from Russia, Dan Zhou from China, Geetanjali Misra and Pooja Badarinth from India, Sudeshan Reddy from South Africa, Georges Azzi from Lebanon, Fadi Saleh from Syria, and Wanja Kilber and Klaus Mueller from Germany. A full list of all members of the Global LGBT Forum network (including those who will not be present in Berlin) is available on the newly launched website: lgbt.salzburgglobal.org Besides the ten representatives from the German Federal Foreign Office, which is actively engaging their own experts to deepen participants’ understanding of relevant diplomatic procedures, structures and potentials, representatives from the German Ministry of Family Affairs, the European External Action Service, the Dutch Embassy, as well as experts from Frontline Defenders, Tactical Tech and Transgender Europe and other international human rights organizations will be joining meetings and conversations over the course of the three day program. The program will comprise a two-day working group of global LGBT activists and other stakeholders followed by a jointly organized public symposium at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.  The public symposium will include staff based at multiple embassies in Berlin, journalists, other government agencies, human rights groups and LGBT human rights activists. It will explore the specific questions raised above and highlight examples and lessons learnt from where ministries of foreign affairs, human rights groups, and LGBT human rights groups have worked together effectively. 
You can follow all the conversations from the Global LGBT Forum in Berlin on Twitter via the hashtag #SGSlgbt. Interviews and recaps will be posted to the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/545
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Salzburg Global Fellow elected Vice President of Costa Rica
Salzburg Global Fellow elected Vice President of Costa Rica
Alex Jackson 
Ana Chacón, a Salzburg Global Fellow of the inaugural LGBT forum at Salzburg Global Seminar, has been elected as one of two Vice Presidents of Costa Rica, assuming her role in full yesterday, Thursday May 8. Chacón, a member of the Citizen’s Action Party (PAC), has, over the course of her prolific career, served as Vice Minister of Public Safety during the Pacheco administration (2002-2006) and later was elected to the position of deputy in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica from 2006 to 2010. Her politics and approach have been notably different from the more traditional policies of her contemporaries in Costa Rica, and Chacón is not afraid to ruffle feathers in the name of fair politics. She has a formidable reputation for tackling difficult issues on the national agenda, having worked with the block of deputies who were in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA); expressing interest in favor of in vitro fertilization; the rights of children; and same sex marriage. Her tough stance on such issues may have often put her at odds with other party members, but made her an electoral favorite with the public. At Salzburg Global Seminar’s first Global LGBT Forum in June of last year, Chacón expressed her concern for the lack of support of the LGBT community in Costa Rica. Speaking to Salzburg Global, she explained: “In Costa Rica, and in the whole region of Latin America, we still have a lot of violations in their [the LGBT community] lives, we still violate their dignity, we still violate their integrity. “We would like to have a fairer world, a better world, a better society.” The landmark election marks a change in political direction for Costa Rica, bringing about an end to nearly half a century of ruling by the country’s two main traditional parties, the National Liberation Party and the Social Christian Unity Party. The results of the election were announced on Friday April 25, when Chacón was officially presented with her credentials.
Chacón was a participant of session 506, LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps. To read more from the session, click here.
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Zanele Moholi: "We don’t document for fun... I have a collective calling"
Zanele Moholi: "We don’t document for fun... I have a collective calling"
Louise Hallman 
South Africa is the only Africa country where not only is homosexuality not illegal, same-sex couples can also marry and adopt children, and are legally protected under anti-discrimination legislation. But this masks the horrors faced by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered South Africans. Through the medium of photography, one South African “visual activist” aims to show the truth of what it is like to live as a black lesbian in the country. “I’m a visual activist before I’m a photographer, before I’m an artist,” says the award winner photographer Zanele Muholi. The 40-year-old was selected as a Fellow for the Salzburg Global session ‘Power in Whose Palm? The Digital Democratization of Photography’ in February; her focus on black lesbians and dedication to the visual documentation of her community led to her being invited back as a member of the faculty for the session ‘LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps’. Despite all the supposed legal protections the LGBT community receives in the increasingly prosperous southern African country, lesbians, especially black lesbians, are frequently subjected to “corrective rape” attacks, where often gangs of men pin down and sexually assault lesbians in attempts to “cure” them of their homosexuality. Some of these attacks have led to the death of their victims. As South Africa struggles to combat its high level of crime, these attacks often go unprosecuted. Speaking to Salzburg Global after the Power of Photography session in February, Muholi explained why she believes photographing this marginalized group is important: “If I even talk about the work that I’m doing on black lesbians, I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it for the younger generation; I’m doing it for the older generation, who never, who were never even given the opportunity to open their mouths.” Muholi has been widely acclaimed for her work. In March, Muholi was honored in London at Index on Censorship awards – which seek to “celebrate the fundamental right to write, blog, tweet, speak out, protest and create art and literature and music” – for her “courage and the powerful statements made by her work”. Accepting the award, Muholi said she hopes that her work helps other lesbians in South Africa. “The minute you see likeness is when you realize that no matter what you're going through in your own life, you are not alone,” she said. Capturing history The black lesbian sees her work as part of a wider effort to document black history in the post-Apartheid country. “The issue of black history is a very, very sensitive one, because you deal with a community that is ever degraded, if not excluded from mainstream spaces… “In South Africa, my focus has ever been on black lesbians, on black gays, on black trans-men. And why black specifically is because as black people, they don’t have a tangible history that is captured by us on us,” Muholi explained. “So my approach is that of an insider, and I know that it’s possible to do other races, but it’s easy for me to start with a community that I understand…and so doing it, unapologetically. “For many times, we have people who write our history on our behalf as if we did not exist, so this is my time, this is my terms and it is possible, or it should be, for us to do it on our own terms, in a way we fully understand. “We cannot always expect people to do things for us,” the photographer elaborated. “For the longest time, black history had been captured by the outsiders, as if we never existed. From our mothers to our fathers, to our great-grandfathers… I think one has to find ways to re-write the history, for our own great-grandchildren. For them to know that we were once here and for them to understand fully the resistance and other struggles, that we still encounter…now.” The Salzburg Global session on photography heard from many photographers who have used photography as a means for activism. Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam’s exhibition ‘Crossfire’ exposed the extrajudicial killings of the Rapid Action Battalion to a wider international audience. Despite the accolades he has received for his photography, Alam says he simply works with the medium best suited to social activism. If something better comes along, he explains, he’ll change his medium and tactics. “Beyond me documenting in South Africa, the lessons and information I learned here, I can take back home and apply, so photography, films, audio-materials can be better used for advocacy work,” Muholi said on the last day of the session. “Other people may have different notions of how they perceive their photos as art; they don’t understand how you could push one political agenda using the very same.” Photography proves particularly persuasive in countries and communities where literacy is not yet high, said Muholi. “You don’t need to speak any special language in order for others to understand fully what’s going on. If you see a dead man, that doesn’t matter what language. If you see a person in shackles, [language] doesn’t matter.” Beyond posterity So, when she takes her photographs, is she doing it for posterity, or is it part of an agenda, an activism for the current space? “[My work] is beyond posterity,” said Muholi. “It’s for current reference, for use by scholars and other fanatics… We’re talking about the now, so it’s sort of like capturing the visual presence, which then becomes a visual history… To say, yes we are here.” In addition to her photography, Muholi also blogs and is a prominent voice in a growing community of queer and queer-focused artists in South Africa. She sees the work of her own and that of the community as more than just art – it is a vital part of the activism needed to counter the extreme prejudice faced by the LGBT community in the country. “We are dealing with human beings who are being violated and raped, simply because we express the sexuality we do. They’re at risk of either losing their lives, or being curatively raped, like how people assume, if you rape a lesbian, she’ll become a straight woman.” When speaking with Muholi, her anger at the situation is glaringly apparent. As a member of the black lesbian community, these are issues that she feels personally; she is not some neutral observer as some photographers and photojournalists try to be. (This neutral stance was perhaps most notable in the late Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer prize-winning photograph of the starving Sudanese girl stalked by a waiting vulture.) Whilst at the seminar in Salzburg, Muholi received news from a friend in Cape Town that another black lesbian had been killed because of her sexuality. Muholi and her photography collective have been photographing and documenting the funerals of such victims. “We don’t document for fun, or just because we have powers and cameras. With my team, I have a collective calling; we document all of these atrocities because we want the world to know that we have a situation at hand.” As the Open Society Foundation recently wrote in their publication on South African artists using their work to tackle social injustice, “Through her work, she shines a spotlight on her community – forcing everyone to acknowledge that they are ‘normal’, that what they do is ‘beautiful’, that who they are is ‘human’ – just like everyone else.” It is normality and acceptance, as well as an end to persecution that Muholi strives for. Just as the oppressive regime of apartheid was ended in South Africa in 1994, Muholi hopes to see the end of the persecution of the LGBT community in her country, and believes photography can be a tactic in doing so, bringing the plight of her community to the attention of the wider national and international consciousness. “We call upon those with powers to agitate with us, just like the people who worked with activists in South Africa to end apartheid and I think the same strategies could be used,” she said, angrily hopeful. Salzburg Global's photography session was named “Power in Whose Palm?” Apt for Muholi, who is determined to ensure the camera in her hands and the photography she produces is indeed powerful. See more of Zanele Muholi's work on her website
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Advancing human rights for LGBT people and communities
Advancing human rights for LGBT people and communities
Salzburg Global Seminar Staff 
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.
At its session
‘LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps' (June 2–7, 2013), Salzburg Global Seminar brought together in June a diverse group of more than 60 LGBT and human rights activists, artists, lawyers, donors and academics from over 30 countries on five continents to discuss the new challenges facing LGBT people and communities all over the world –and work out what the next steps can be to address these issues. The Salzburg Global Fellows tackled the topic from a multitude of angles, including the function of international institutions and the rule of law, the impact of both globalization and domestic party politics, the need for funding and where to get such money from, the threat of violence and how to tackle it, the growth and security of social media and online networks, and the role of religion, as well as exhibiting and examining the importance of culture and the media. The result of these discussions has been compiled into a ‘Salzburg Statement of the Global LGBT Forum: Advancing human rights for LGBT people and communities’, proposing principles and recommendations to the following questions for all those working in the field of LGBT and Human Rights:
•Who should we work with?
•What do we need to do and where?
•How can international law help?
•How do we fund our work?
•How should we network and communicate?
•How can we use art and the media as tools for change?
•How can we address the urgency of transgender rights? As written in the Statement, the recommendations are not exhaustive or prescriptive; instead the participants hope that the Statement will serve to “deepen future conversations and help us to reach out and build broader alliances across law, politics, activism and culture.” The Statement will be accompanied by a full report to be published later in the summer. Speaking at the seminar, session chair, Klaus Mueller, museums consultant, film-maker and historian, and whose academic work includes in-depth study of the persecution of homosexuals under the Nazi regime, said: “I strongly believe now is the time to create a Global LGBT Forum. A space to come together and reflect on the new challenges we are facing and consider the next steps needed to secure the safety, free expression and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and communities. “By bringing together leading voices from around the world and the diverse spheres of law, politics and culture, we hope to start a truly global, multidisciplinary conversation. Our goal is to build new alliances, learn from each other and strengthen fundamental human rights for all regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Mueller added.
You can sign up and endorse the Salzburg Statement of the Global LGBT Forum: Advancing human rights for LGBT people and communities via change.org
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The Salzburg Statement of the Global LGBT Forum
The Salzburg Statement of the Global LGBT Forum
Salzburg Global Staff Writer 
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. Now is the time to create a Global LGBT Forum. A space where all those working to advance LGBT human rights can come together to further progress, reflect on new challenges and opportunities, and consider the next steps to secure the safety, free expression and assembly, and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and communities. We, the sixty participants at Salzburg Global’s session on ‘LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps’ (June 2–7, 2013), came together from over 30 countries to launch the Global LGBT Forum. The following principles and recommendations are a result of our discussions. They are not exhaustive or prescriptive. We hope they serve to deepen future conversations and help us to reach out and build broader alliances across law, politics, activism and culture. *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. Principles and Recommendations to advance LGBT human rights Who should we work with? Strength comes in numbers. We need to form broad alliances within LGBT communities and outside them, nurturing collaboration. New alliances can engage religious leaders and the corporate sector, when appropriate, and identify new partners. This inclusive approach should inform all areas of LGBT human rights work, from campaigns to fundraising. What do we need to do and where? Our efforts must be firmly grounded in the fundamental principles of universal human rights, but a global approach to LGBT issues that does not take local contexts into account may not be the answer. Understanding local cultures, economies and politics is essential to initiate and safeguard lasting change and achieve recognition of the same rights for all people. Embedding human rights principles in social, political, medical or economic contexts can contribute to a better understanding and greater impact over time. Global campaigns need a unifying message with broad appeal and clear, realistic objectives. However, their phrasing and presentation should be designed with input from both local and global stakeholders. Although such campaigns can raise the visibility of LGBT struggles and expose violence against LGBT people, public exposure can also worsen dangerous situations. Sensitivity and caution are essential. How can international law help? Legal strategies to combat discrimination can differ at global and regional levels. Regular review mechanisms and litigation on the basis of existing international human rights law should be pursued, alongside the development of global and/or regional conventions on LGBT equality. Action within the United Nations framework is important to set global minimum standards. UN achievements on LGBT rights must be protected, and this means that we need to remain constantly engaged. The UN and its entities should establish or adapt structures to address human rights issues specifically related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Gathering reliable data on threats confronting LGBT people is a key next step. Gender identity and sexual orientation need to be incorporated into procedures for documenting and monitoring human rights violations around the world. How do we fund our work? Donor countries should be careful about making development aid conditional on the advancement of LGBT rights. This can, and has, backfired in the past. Donors should not be prescriptive, but understand local contexts and listen to advice from local organizations on the ground. LGBT organizations need to be strategic in identifying donors, and understand their respective conditions and agendas. Reliance on a single funder should be avoided, to prevent being subject to shifting changing donor interests. Defining long-term goals can communicate the vision of the society we are helping to build. We need to demonstrate how our work contributes to overall social cohesion to make our projects more appealing and fundable. How should we network and communicate? Global, national and regional coalitions can help share information and promote democratic, transparent, inclusive and non-racist networks. In order for all to actively engage in such networks, building capacity is essential. Mutual respect, deeper collaboration and the sharing of expertise and resources between and within the Global North and the Global South can strengthen effective international action. We commit to dialogue with all groups founded on the belief of full equality for all. How can we use art and the media as tools for change? Telling our stories challenges misrepresentations of sexual and gender diversity as well as dominant patriarchal and hetero-normative values. Increasing the visibility of LGBT people and communities in mainstream and alternative media and spaces is a key step to counter homo-lesbo-transphobia. Culture and art are essential to dialogue on political and social change. Artists sharing ideas, experiences and collaborations can empower those working on LGBT issues. Skills building and appropriate financial resources are vital to advance dialogue, collaboration and visibility. We need to work with all media to develop standards to ensure dignified and accurate representation. Social media has become a major global tool for activism and advocacy. However, hate speech, online security, censorship and the digital divide are challenges that need to be confronted. How can we address the urgency of transgender rights? Transgender people across the world face threats to their lives and safety. Governments, legal institutions, faith leaders and the media must fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard human lives and challenge transphobia.
The Salzburg Statement of shared principles and recommendations is accompanied by a comprehensive report on the conversations and topics addressed by this first Global LGBT Forum. We hope this statement allows us to begin conversations on many levels. The views expressed in this Statement are those of session participants individually and should not be taken to represent those of any organizations to which they are affiliated. Salzburg Global Seminar is an independent non-profit organization founded in 1947 whose mission is to challenge present and future leaders to solve issues of global concern. We design and facilitate international strategic convening to drive progress based on Imagination, Sustainability and Justice. Salzburg Global Seminar hopes that this Statement by participants at our session on LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges and Next Steps (June 2-7, 2013) will pave the way for a Global LGBT Forum to address interconnected issues surrounding LGBT, human rights and wellbeing.
You can sign up and endorse the Salzburg Statement of the Global LGBT Forum: Advancing human rights for LGBT people and communities on
Change.org.
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LGBT & Human Rights - Day 4: Safety and Social Media
LGBT & Human Rights - Day 4: Safety and Social Media
Louise Hallman 
The debate surrounding the value and impact of online vs. print media concerns much more than just the LGBT community, but what does it mean for access to and distribution of content, LGBT identities and new social spaces, and what are the limitations? Moderated by Bahraini journalist Nazeeha Saeed, the panel on ‘Social Media and LGBT Identities in the 21st Century’ featured Jordanian author and blogger, Fadi Zaghmout; blogger Lesego Tlhwale from South African lesbian website Inkanyiso; and American, UK-based writer and broadcaster, Amy Lamé. All the panelists agreed they turned to online media as a place where they could share their content on LGBT issues - something unlikely to happen in the mainstream media, especially in Zaghmout’s native Jordan. But with online comes the decision: to anonymous or not. Both have their draw backs. Being anonymous might mean greater safety, but it can also carry less legitimacy and fewer followers, and thus less impact. Zaghmout started out his Arab Observer blog anonymously, but realized he’d have greater reach if he was “out”. He received threats following the publication of his book, Aroos Amman, making him question his decision. “For years I wanted my voice to be heard but when my book was published I got scared,” admitted the Arab blogger. “I have to remind myself why I am doing this,” he added. Tlhwale, together with some other like-minded South African lesbians, set up Inkanyiso.org to provide daily coverage of the lesbian community in the country after realizing that lesbians were only ever covered in mainstream media for either rape incidents or pride ralleys. “We have daily lives!” she declared, somewhat exasperated. Although Tlhwale has been targeted, she doesn’t blame her blogging - lesbians are targeted in South Africa regardless. For Lamé in the UK, being out was never a problem and on her former mainstream radio show for BBC London she and her male co-host would both talk about their female partners. Online, both blogging and podcasting however means she can focus on covering LGBT issues, with social media proving essential to spreading the word about her work. Online certainly gives opportunity to cover these less mainstream issues, avoiding dealing with hostile publishers and printers, but as another Fellow pointed out, it doesn’t stop a government from blanket censorship - or from gathering data to use again its population.
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NEWSLETTER

 

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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