Salzburg Global LGBT Forum » Overview

The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum was formed in 2013 to establish a truly global space to reflect upon and advance LGBT human rights discussions around the world.

Today it is an international network that connects over 150 Fellows in 70 countries across six continents, spanning multiple sectors, generations, cultures and sexual orientations and gender identities.


Read our new, 200-page publication, Building a Global Community - Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: The First Five Years, which chronicles the first five years of the Forum: the stories our Fellows have shared, the wide-ranging issues we’ve addressed, and the impact the Forum has had on individuals, institutions and ideas advancing LGBT human rights around the world.

Download the Report


Related News

LGBT Forum Day 3 - Storytelling and International Connections
B-change Founder Laurindo Garcia with B-change filmmakers and contributors taking part in the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum.
LGBT Forum Day 3 - Storytelling and International Connections
Louise Hallman 
The third day of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum in Chiang Rai, Thailand saw participants focus on storytelling and strengthening international connections with panels featuring filmmakers, lawmakers and diplomats.

The Power of Sharing Our Lives Through Video and Film

Representations of LGBT people and characters in TV and film have been increasing in recent years, but how do we make sure we have the opportunity to tell our own stories? What sorts of stories should they be – positive or negative? And who do we want to share these stories with? These were just some of the questions facing the panelist of filmmakers from China, Myanmar, the Philippines and Nepal.  “Filmmaking is a communication between you and the people in front of your camera, between them and the audience,” shared one of the filmmakers.  What we want to communicate is important. Films often reflect the personalities of their makers – the more positive they are the more positive their films are likely to be. One panelist admitted he had been accused of being “too positive” in his films, a series of which show LGBT people and their families’ acceptance – an experience not shared by all LGBT people. When asked what inspires her more – the negative stories or the positive – another filmmaker-panelist responded: “I want to tell the story of now.” That “now” may be negative or positive or constantly changing – the immediacy and genuineness of the film is more important than whether it is relentlessly positive or brutally negative. Queer film festivals are growing in the region with international networks forming to help promote such festivals in communities with less experience or success so far. However, these film festivals are still mostly only reaching a niche audience.  “When I first became a filmmaker, I was a lesbian but I never identified as a LGBT filmmaker,” admitted one panelist who has worked primarily in mainstream rather than LGBT cinema. “I thought that if I establish myself as a filmmaker first, then I can later make films that matter more to me – and my audience will accept me.” She added: “We don't want just LGBT people to watch LGBT films, we want the entire population to see our stories.”  Sharing these stories are important not only to help foster acceptance and understanding of those outside the LGBT community towards LGBT people, but also to offer reassurance to those within the community: you are not alone.  

Rooted within the Family? A look at families, gender and sexuality in Asia

Continuing with the storytelling and families themes of the week, a further panel on day three had participants from Bhutan, Cambodia, Korea, Nepal and India share their own experiences and country-wide trends and attitudes towards three aspects of our family lives: the families we’re born into, the families we choose to create, and the families we raise.  Family is important in cultures across Asia. In many countries across the region, it is typical for multiple generations of families to live together in the same house, leaving minimal opportunities for independence and privacy. Nepalese and Bhutanese participants told the international audience of their compatriots’ ancient beliefs that one cannot die in peace until one has seen the face of their grandchild. A family’s “honor” is important in countries such India, with certain behaviors or actions considered “dishonorable” and worthy of a variety of often severe punishments.  All of these attitudes can have serious negative implications for LGBT people, with a number of the participants sharing personal stories or anecdotes of how they or their friends have been cast out of their families for being LGBT. Many then seek to establish “alternative” families or “families of choice” that offer them the love and security they did not find with their families of birth.  “I have found an alternative family where we have love and care,” shared one participant, who had been cut off from his family and had at one point turned to sex work to help fund his university studies. His new family includes parental figures as well as siblings.  For those LGBT people who choose to raise their own families, legal protections are sparse in the region, leaving children vulnerable should anything happen to their biological parent – there is little guarantee that their deceased biological parent’s partner will be able to continue to care for them. Advocates are working to change the laws in many countries, but some communities, such as in Cambodia, have found legal support at lower, local levels, where a contract can be signed by two individuals agreeing to take shared responsibility for caring for a child, which is enforced by local village chiefs.  After inputs from the panelists, participants discussed the three elements of families in groups. These discussions will feed into their main thematic working groups being held throughout the week. The purpose of these groups is to encourage the participants to share their own stories and experiences of families – be that the families they were born into, choose to build, or raise – with these stories later becoming part of an exhibition to be hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in Berlin, Germany in May 2017.

Strengthening International Connections

Another key theme of this year’s Salzburg Global LGBT Forum is “strengthening international connections,” building on the Forum’s existing work of bringing together LGBT rights activists and advocates with government ministries, agencies and embassies to examine how they can collaboratively and independently work to advance LGBT rights in countries across the world. Bhutanese politician Ugyen Wangdi, Venezuelan politician Tamara Adrian, Canadian Ambassador to Thailand Donica Pottie, UK Ambassador to Thailand Brian Davidson, Swedish Ambassador to Thailand Staffan Herrström all spoke on the panel, moderated by Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia. 
Read the full report of the Ambassadors’ Conversation panel here.

The fourth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum is being held in Chiang Rai, Thailand in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Being LGBTI in Asia programme.

Funding for this joint Salzburg Global-UNDP session was generously provided to Salzburg Global Seminar through a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to support the “Family is…” Project and through a donation by US philanthropist Michael Huffington. The Being LGBTI in Asia programme is supported by UNDP, the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Additional session support was provided by the Austrian Embassy New Delhi, Austrian Development Cooperation, Capital Group Companies, Dreilinden gGmbH, the Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship Fund, the Embassy of Canada to Thailand, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Recaps and interviews with participants will be published on a regular basis throughout the session onlgbt.SalzburgGlobal.org and medium.com/being-lgbti-in-asia. You can also follow the event on social media using the hashtags #SGSlgbt and #BeingLGBTI on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

*LGBT stands for 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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Stronger partnerships are needed between government and civil society to advance LGBT-inclusive societies
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum founder and chair Klaus Mueller introduces the Ambassadors' Conversation panel
Stronger partnerships are needed between government and civil society to advance LGBT-inclusive societies
UNDP & Salzburg Global Seminar 
Government and civil society from across the globe must work together to identity strategic opportunities and leverage each other’s strengths to further advance the human rights and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, said a panel of ambassadors and lawmakers at the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum this week in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The Ambassadors to Thailand from Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as lawmakers from Bhutan and Venezuela participated on the panel, titled "Strengthening International Connections," moderated by the Honourable Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia. The panel was part of a week-long global forum on LGBTI inclusion with more than 50 advocates, artists, government representatives and human rights experts from Asia-Pacific and beyond, and was organized by Salzburg Global Seminar and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The panel agreed on the importance of building coalitions — be they within the LGBTI community, between the LGBTI community, governments and development partners, or with other civil society organizations that deal with other marginalized populations. Building these bridges, particularly with governments and state structures, can contribute greatly towards turning advocacy into legal reform and policy change. “In Bhutan, we are currently reviewing the legal provisions in Bhutanese law which discriminate and criminalize LGBTI people, and will be making the necessary recommendations for amendments,” said Ugyen Wangdi, Member of Parliament from Bhutan. “This opportunity [Salzburg Global LGBT Forum in Asia] gives us a unique chance to learn about the needs and issues concerning the LGBTI community, and how us, as lawmakers, can make a difference to improve their well-being.” “An active civil society will likely further necessary progressive social and legal change that will advance LGBT peoples’ rights, health and well-being,” said Staffan Herrström, Swedish Ambassador to Thailand. “All citizens have a right to be treated equally in society, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” The discussion highlighted how some governments currently address LGBT issues within their development and social protection priorities, and identified where further opportunities exist. It also noted potential entry points that civil society can use to further engage with governments and donors to improve access to policy making processes and LGBTI participation in human rights reporting mechanisms. “It was great to have such a wide ranging discussion from such a diversity of perspectives. Engagement across the three pillars of civil society, government and the donor community is essential to developing effective agendas for economic and social inclusion,” said Brian Davidson, British Ambassador to Thailand. “I will be taking back the lessons from today to inform the approach of my own Embassy in supporting the work of LGBTI groups in Thailand.” In the Asia-Pacific region, as in all parts of the world, stigma and discrimination are widespread in key aspects of LGBTI lives including employment, education, housing, and health care. While there has been significant progress, LGBTI people continue to face both legal and social barriers to equality and inclusion, which must be dismantled for these marginalized populations to fully enjoy their deserved individual rights to development and quality of life. Attention to these needs are essential if countries are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. “It is imperative that the international community recognize that inclusive development has to address the barriers to equality faced by LGBTI communities,” said Donica Pottie, Canadian Ambassador to Thailand. “This requires strong partnerships between government, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders.” The challenges confronting LGBTI persons are not only national or regional, but also global. Developing an understanding of how the region’s successes and challenges relate to and influence issues at a global level is essential. The lessons that different cultures and experiences provide should be harnessed to advance LGBTI inclusion on the global stage. “Countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador in Latin America have made remarkable strides on improving the legal recognition of transgender people and their access to official identity documents,” noted Tamara Adrian, the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in Venezuela. “Opportunities to exchange best practices between governments and civil society across regions are tremendously beneficial for those working on the protection of transgender health and citizenship rights, but also broader LGBTI advocacy efforts.” “This session in Asia builds on a series of meetings and engagements of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum with numerous foreign offices and other government ministries and agencies,” explained Forum Founder and Chair, Klaus Mueller. “Continuously bringing LGBT human rights groups and government agencies together is vital for a better understanding of how both can collaboratively and independently advance equality and inclusion of LGBT people and communities.” “Today’s conversation between ambassadors, lawmakers and civil society highlighted that governments remain key partners in promoting and protecting the inclusion of LGBTI people,” said Edmund Settle, Policy Advisor for UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. “We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that marginalized groups, including LGBTI people are not left behind.”
Media contacts: Louise Hallman, Editor, Salzburg Global Seminar lhallman@SalzburgGlobal.org Ian Mungall, Programme Analyst, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub ian.mungall@undp.org Salzburg Global LGBT Forum
The challenges confronting the LGBT and human rights movements are no longer only national or regional. They are influenced by a multitude of factors at the global level. The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, a multi-year series of Salzburg Global Seminar, is therefore working to advance civil dialogue through further developing an active network of global LGBT and human rights actors. Founded and chaired by Dr. Klaus Mueller, the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum currently connects representatives from more than 60 countries. The Forum’s goal is to negotiate these interconnected global challenges and advance the free and equal rights of all LGBT people.
The fourth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum is being held in Chiang Rai, Thailand in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Being LGBTI in Asia programme. Funding for this session, entitled “The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion,” was generously provided to Salzburg Global Seminar through a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to support the Forum’s ongoing “Family is…” Project and through a donation by US philanthropist Michael Huffington. For more information visit: http://lgbt.salzburgglobal.org/ *LGBT stands for 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. UNDP and the Being LGBTI in Asia programme
UNDP is the UN’s global development network advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP’s vision is to support countries in achieving the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequalities and exclusion.
Being LGBTI in Asia is a regional programme aimed at addressing inequality, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status, and promotes universal access to health and social services. It is a collaboration between governments, civil society, regional institutions and other stakeholders to advance the social inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. The programme recognizes that LGBTI people are highly marginalized and face varied forms of stigma and discrimination based on their distinct sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. The programme is supported by UNDP, the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and the U.S. Agency for International Development. For more information visit: http://www.asia-pacific.undp.org/content/rbap/en/home/operations/projects/overview/being-lgbt-in-asia/
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LGBT Forum Day 2 - Visibility & Inclusion
Pema Dorji and Saska Wieringa at the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum
LGBT Forum Day 2 - Visibility & Inclusion
Louise Hallman & contributors 
Visibility and inclusion were repeatedly cited on the second day of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, being held in Chiang Rai, Thailand in partnership with UNDP and Being LGBTI in Asia, as Fellows shared knowledge and stories in panel and working group discussions. Can we measure LGBT inclusion? “Invisibility is not inclusion,” declared a speaker on the opening panel “Can we measure LGBT inclusion?”, which was chaired by UNDP Policy Advisor Edmund Settle.  If we cannot have inclusion without visibility, then one might assume that LGBT people and communities were not included in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – none of the 17 SDGs explicitly mention LGBT people, communities or issues. However, as Settle pointed out, the SDGs have an inclusive “No One Left Behind” agenda, adding: “Increasing civic and political participation of LGBTI people is crucial to address inequality and discrimination in societies.” Indeed, Inclusion of LGBT voices is essential to achieve the not only the SDGs but also human rights for all peoples and communities. Recognizing the intersectionality of LGBT issues and health, education, social care, welfare, employment, etc., is important in order to advance LGBT rights as not only is socio-economic wellbeing is key to LGBT inclusion, but these intersections can also offer an important entry point into existing, further-advanced dialogues.  Personal visibility was also discussed by the panel as they considered not only the data that policy and lawmakers need to ensure LGBT inclusion, but also the stories than can help “change hearts and minds.” “Being proud and out is the first step to inclusion” especially for public figures, remarked one participant, reminding the audience that there are many more LGBT people in positions of power and influence in politics, the judiciary, and media, but many of them have not come out publicly (or even privately in some cases) yet.  However, as another participant pointed out: “Visibility can change hearts and minds, but also could put people in danger. Visibility is a personal choice.” Greater visibility can be achieved by ensuring that LGBT people and communities share their own stories – especially those that are positive rather than reinforcing the negative narratives commonly found in the media. The stories we tell should be relatable rather than abstract. Truth and Transformation In-keeping with that notion of relatability, three participants generously shared their own life stories at the session. With questions from Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Chair Klaus Mueller, the three storytellers from Bhutan, Syria and the Netherlands shared their experiences of growing up LGBT; the acceptance they did or did not receive from their families, friends and wider communities; the violence, rejection and persecution they have been subject to; and how these experiences have spurred them on in their activism and helped make them the strong and resilient people they are today. Please note, we respect the participants’ right to control over their own narrative. Short summaries of these life stories will be published with approval and agreement of the participants in question in the final session report. To receive that report, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bpToTn

Knowledge Café

As well as personal stories, participants also shared knowledge on the second day of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. At six tables, participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Argentina led a “knowledge café” that saw participants cycle through and discuss topics from across the region. Bangladesh LGBT Movement: Looking Ahead The Bangladesh LGBT movement that was growing strong despite the law and social taboos came to a complete halt as many activists went underground and some relocated abroad after the brutal murder in April 25, 2016. There is a deafening silence prevailing among the LGBT community, which is scared, scattered and more vulnerable than ever. This discussion saw participants analyze the situation and strategize a way forward to revitalize the movement. Intersectionality between Faith and SOGIEB and how to reconcile multiple identities To challenge people and the communities on how they define inclusion and visibility. Does visibility only apply to people who have already coming out with their sexual identities? How about people who are not able to share their belief just because their LGBTIQ communities don't want to discuss about faith and belief? Some people are struggling with their multiple identities whether to be a good believer or express their feeling for same-sex/gender attraction. On the other hand, there are people who have already accepted themselves but are prohibited to do their religious activities when they come out or are identified as LGBT people. Furthermore, their belief are questioned when they come out and identify as LGBT. Unfortunately, this also happens in our LGBT communities who are proud of visibility and inclusion. This discussion encouraged participants to embody their experience so that they have understanding on their authority to narrate, define themselves and also to help them to negotiate their diverse identities. Protective legal mechanisms for LGBT families in Cambodia Cambodia, like many countries, does not recognize same-sex marriages, which leaves gaps in legal protections for couples and their children. Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) gathered information on the LGBT communities’ legal protection needs regarding their relationships and families as well as legal recognition through a 2015 baseline study implemented in collaboration with TNS as well as through key informant interviews at RoCK’s events. In order to respond to the stated legal protection needs of LGBT families, RoCK has initiated a project call “Declaration of Family Relationship” or DoFR as a legal protective mechanism for them. Currently, this project is implemented in ten provinces, engaging both the LGBT community members and local authorities. Inclusion of LGBT community voice and legal environment in Gross National Happiness Country Bhutan, the “land of happiness,” does not share Western view of heterosexuality or homosexuality. Same-sex relations are illegal, and while the law is not widely enforced, many people still live in fear of persecution and even seek health services overseas to avoid detection. But the legal and social environment is changing, as laws are to be harmonized with the Constitution that enshrines the rights of all citizens regardless of “race, sex, language, religion, politics or other status.” This discussion considered how increasing the visibility of LGBT individuals and communities in Bhutan and finding allies can ensure the LGBT community’s voice be included in this harmonization process and broader positive societal change. Proud To Be Us Laos: A milestone event in LGBT community in Lao PDR “Proud to Be Us Laos” is a local LGBT initiative, with meaningful involvement of LGBT community and ally organizations in Lao PDR. It's an important initial step in gaining visibility and paving the way to discuss human rights of LGBT people in the Lao PDR, and has attracted interest from many international media and support from international partners. The table discussed possible solutions how to effectively adapt advocacy efforts to a sensitive local context based on the Proud to Be Us experience in Laos. Global and Local Advocacy: Making use of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum connects over 120 Fellows from more than 60 countries. How can those in Thailand connect with Fellows who have attended sessions in Salzburg, stay in touch with each other, and collaboratively join their voices and leverage their own networks to raise local and regional issues to the global discourse? This discussion saw the newest members of the Salzburg Global Fellowship consider existing and new ways to connect the whole Forum’s network and propose recommendations to Salzburg Global Seminar of how the network can raise awareness of LGBT issues, respond to atrocities and challenges facing the community, and advocate for LGBT rights the world over.

Trans-Asian Perspectives

Recap of this panel to come.
The fourth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum is being held in Chiang Rai, Thailand in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Being LGBTI in Asia programme. Funding for this joint Salzburg Global-UNDP session was generously provided to Salzburg Global Seminar through a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to support the “Family is…” Project and through a donation by US philanthropist Michael Huffington. The Being LGBTI in Asia programme is supported by UNDP, the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Additional session support was provided by the Austrian Embassy New Delhi, Austrian Development Cooperation, Capital Group Companies, Dreilinden gGmbH, the Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship Fund, the Embassy of Canada to Thailand, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Recaps and interviews with participants will be published on a regular basis throughout the session on lgbt.SalzburgGlobal.org and medium.com/being-lgbti-in-asia. You can also follow the event on social media using the hashtags #SGSlgbt and #BeingLGBTI on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  *LGBT stands for 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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LGBT Forum Day 1 - Solidarity & Diversity
LGBT Forum Founder & Chair Klaus Mueller welcome participant Anuj Rai from Nepal
LGBT Forum Day 1 - Solidarity & Diversity
Louise Hallman 
Solidarity and diversity were two key takeaways from the first day of discussions at the fourth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum, The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion. Opening the session, the first of the Forum to be held in Thailand and in partnership with the UNDP and Being LGBTI in Asia, a panel of speakers from China, Thailand, Nepal and South Korea shared insights on challenges and progresses in Asia-Pacific with an audience from the region and beyond. Legal progresses have been made in some countries, such as in Nepal where a third gender can now be officially declared in all government documents including passports. But legal recognition and protections are still lacking in many other countries in the region. For example, in Korea civil partnerships or marriage are not recognized, and in Thailand, a country with a highly visible LGBT community, gay adoptions are not recognized, leading one participant to share her fears of what might happen to her daughter if she were to die as her wife would not be legally entitled to continue to care for their child.  However, as one panelist rightly pointed out: “Laws do not guarantee equality... we need to look at the attitudes and acceptance of public and society.” In many countries, while laws were starting to offer protection to LGBT people and communities (albeit not all these laws are “inclusive, representative and consultative” of communities they're supposed to protect), societal attitudes have yet to catch up, with stigmatization and bullying prevalent, especially in schools where uniforms often constrain preferred gender expressions. To counter these legal and societal backlashes, there were calls from the panel and the audience for LGBT groups to join in solidarity with each other and build coalitions with other rights groups, such as workers’ and women’s groups, in order to advance all human rights.  “When it is cold, we need to all band together for warmth,” remarked one participant. The intersectionality of issues was also highlighted, as LGBT issues touch on many other areas such as bullying in school, access to relevant health services, discrimination in the work place, etc.  However, a counterpoint was also raised: in many countries vocal and visible groups within the LGBT communities (such as gay men in China and trans people in Nepal) have led to a conflation of identities, with the public and politicians mistakenly assuming that all members of the LGBT community are represented by and share the same problems as the more prominent “face” of LGBT people.  “As LGBTI people, we don't all have the same issues!” stated one participant, with another adding: “How can we show and include the many faces of LGBT people?”  As the session moves into its next four days of panels, roundtable discussions, working groups and intimate storytelling and sharing sessions, this question and how these many faces can be better included in societies – in Asia and beyond – will continue to resonate. 
 Congratulations! As Fellows arrived in Chiang Rai for the first-ever session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum to be held in Asia, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed its first independent expert to investigate the violence and discrimination faced by the LGBT community: Thai professor, Vitit Muntarbhorn. Participants of the 4th session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum congratulate Prof Vitit Muntarbhorn on his appointment as the first United Nations independent expert on LGBT rights
The fourth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum is being held in Chiang Rai, Thailand in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Being LGBTI in Asia programme. Funding for this joint Salzburg Global-UNDP session was generously provided to Salzburg Global Seminar through a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to support the “Family is…” Project and through a donation by US philanthropist Michael Huffington. The Being LGBTI in Asia programme is supported by UNDP, the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Additional session support was provided by the Austrian Embassy New Delhi, Austrian Development Cooperation, Capital Group Companies, Dreilinden gGmbH, the Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship Fund, the Embassy of Canada to Thailand, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Recaps and interviews with participants will be published on a regular basis throughout the session on lgbt.SalzburgGlobal.org and medium.com/being-lgbti-in-asia. You can also follow the event on social media using the hashtags #SGSlgbt and #BeingLGBTI on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  *LGBT stands for 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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The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion
The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion
Louise Hallman 
Activists, legislators, and filmmakers will be among those gathering in Chiang Rai, Thailand this weekend for the fourth session of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum (October 2 to 7, 2016). Held in partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Salzburg Global Seminar, this year’s program will examine The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion and seeks to be a platform for enhancing Asia’s previously underrepresented role in existing global LGBT dialogues, highlighting Asia’s unique legal, religious, and cultural positions regarding LGBT individuals and their communities.  The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum was formed in 2013 to establish a global space to reflect upon and advance 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.  The Forum currently connects representatives from more than 54 countries – with representatives from six more countries joining in 2016. After two successful sessions in Salzburg, Austria and another in Berlin, Germany, in 2016 Salzburg Global sought to expand the global footprint of the multi-year series by travelling to Thailand and partnering with UNDP’s Being LGBTI in Asia programme – a regional initiative to reduce marginalization and exclusion of LGBTI people. Of the 52 participants taking part in Chiang Rai, 32 are from Asia. As founder and chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, Klaus Mueller explains: “In the global discourse on LGBT equality, Asian perspectives are underrepresented. We hope that our meeting can contribute to amplifying Asian voices and we are excited to learn from and meet new friends.” Edmund Settle, regional Policy Advisor on HIV, Human Rights, Law and Sexual Diversity for UNDP in Bangkok and co-chair of The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion, added: “UNDP believes that for development to be effective, it must be inclusive. Therefore, we must proactively ensure that all marginalized populations, including LGBTI people, are encouraged and supported in achieving the full realization of their rights.” Through the five-day program, the organizers aim to foster open, strategic and focused discussions while examining progress – such as the changing legislation in Bhutan – and challenges – including the worsening security situation in Bangladesh – for LGBT rights in the region. Participants will identify concrete potential for further positive change in Asia, and share best practices from around the globe that can be adapted and adopted in the region. Recognizing that the challenges confronting the LGBT and human rights movement are not only national or regional, the 2016 Forum in Thailand will expand understanding of how the region’s successes and challenges relate to and influence issues at a global level. The lessons that different cultures and regions provide will be harnessed to advance LGBT human rights on the global stage, as well as bolstering individual participants’ future contributions at larger global conferences such as the 10 Year Anniversary Conference for Yogyakarta and the ILGA World Conference in Bangkok. Since its beginnings in Salzburg in 2013, the Forum has placed great emphasis on the power of storytelling, encouraging participants to share their own personal stories as well as sharing their professional experiences. Through telling and sharing original and authentic stories, the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum seeks to challenge misrepresentations of sexual and gender diversity, and help understand the similarities and differences. Storytelling aspect is the cornerstone of the Forum’s ongoing project “Family is…”, which was launched in 2015 with support of the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The project thus far has collected dozens of video testimonies and published a report on how members of the Forum view and experience families – both of birth and by choice. The project will continue gathering video testimonies in Chiang Rai, culminating in an exhibition in Berlin in 2017.  In addition to strengthening international connections, and promoting discussion on families and storytelling, the Chiang Rai event will also focus on the high visibility of the transgender community in Asia, and especially Thailand, including the progress made and the continuing legal and social challenges. Funding for this joint Salzburg Global-UNDP session was generously provided to Salzburg Global Seminar through a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to support the “Family is…” Project and through a donation by US philanthropist Michael Huffington. The Being LGBTI in Asia programme is supported by UNDP, the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Additional session support was provided by the Austrian Embassy New Delhi, Austrian Development Cooperation, Capital Group Companies, Dreilinden gGmbH, the Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship Fund, the Embassy of Canada to Thailand, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Recaps and interviews with participants will be published on a regular basis throughout the session on lgbt.SalzburgGlobal.org and medium.com/being-lgbti-in-asia. You can also follow the event on social media using the hashtags #SGSlgbt and #BeingLGBTI on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  *LGBT stands for 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 LGBT Forum Fellow Updates
Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Fellow Updates
Jessica Franzetti 
Have you got some news - a new book, a promotion, a call for grant proposals - that you'd like to share with the Salzburg Global Fellowship? Email Salzburg Global Seminar Fellowship Manager Jan Heinecke.
From being featured in the New York Times to leading an LGBT rights campaign in Japan, and showcasing Jamaica to mapping China's sex life, from alerting us to challenges for LGBT rights in Indonesia to our cheers for nominations as global leaders - find out what the Fellows of our Salzburg Global LGBT Forum have been up to in 2016.  Tamara Adrian, a professor and human rights activist in Venezuela, was featured in a United Nations video, titled, UN Free & Equal: Why we Fight, which highlighted the individuals, groups and organizations fighting for change in their countries and communities.  Watch the video here.  Danish Sheikh, an advocate and researcher, has been featured in an article by The New York Times entitled “Dreaming of Gay Rights in Delhi.” The article talks about Danish’s assistance with two briefs in the Indian Supreme Court that is attempting to decriminalize homosexuality in India as well as his struggles he faced with his family accepting his sexuality. A full article about Sheikh’s experiences can be found here. Angeline Jackson, an LGBT rights activist and co-founder of the first registered organization for lesbian, bisexual and trans-women in Jamaica, was recently in the television documentary series, Gaycation, during its Jamaica episode. The show features Ellen Page, who travels to different countries and regions, exploring their LGBT rights and movements. Watch the full episode here.  Fumino Sugiyama is leading an LGBT rights campaign in Japan. An article about his work, titled, Transgender Man Helps Shibuya Make a Difference, was published in The Japan Times.  The full article can be found here. Kaoru Aoyama, a professor of sociology, was references in a Japan Times article, where she discussed the impact of new legislation on human right protections. Read the full article here. Martin Vidaurre Vaca, who provides legal representation to the LGBT community and works on political and legal advocacy in Bolivia, assisted in the passage of a Bolivian bill that will allow trans-people to change their name and gender on official documents.  A full article about the law can be found here. He is featured on the left in the photo accompanying the article.  Yinhe Li has been featured in an article by the BBC on the high speed sexual revolution happening in China. Li is the country’s leading sexologist and the article goes into detail about China’s history with laws on writing about sex, pornography and sex before marriage laws as well as Li’s history and influential work she has published in the country. The article can be found on the BBC website here.  Popo Fan, a filmmaker and writer, has been nominated as an LGBT activist making positive change in communities around the world in a Guardian Witness assignment.  Fan was nominated by Matthew Barren as a #LGBTChange hero and was described as “a monk of cinema, a one-man crew who carts everything around in a backpack.” The Guardian’s list of nominees can be found here. A book review has also been published for the book, Queer/Tongzhi China: New Perspectives on Research, Activism and Media Cultures by Elisabeth L. Engebretsen and William F. Schroeder." The book is a volume of essays that explores queer activist communities in China, traversing such themes as media representation, queer filmmaking and film festivals and autoethnographic methodologies. Fan contributed chapters about strategies used by community activists to put on queer film festivals in contrast to festivals that are a given in other global cities. In addition, Wei Wei - Professor of Sociology, East China Normal University, China - published an article in the same book where he charts HIV/AIDS activism in Chengdu through showing an organisation’s tactfulness in building up a positive media presence. The book review can be read here. Shereen El Feki, author and healthcare journalist, was recently featured in article and joint TED talk, where she discussed attitudes towards sex as well as mens' roles in the Arab world. View the video and read the full article hereTunggal Pawestri, a program officer of Hivos in Southeast Asia and an active campaigner for women's rights in Indonesia, wrote an article for the Jakarta post, titled, More hard times for Indonesian LGBT people, where she discusses the challenges facing LGBT rights in Indonesia. Read the full article here.  Sridhar Rangayan, a filmmaker and LGBT rights 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. As well as this, his documentary Breaking Free has won the Best Editing category of India’s 63rd National Film Awards. To read more details about the film and the fiveFilms4freedom Global List, please read our article here.  M.V.Lee Badgett, a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Policy & Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, published a book, titled, The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World. An article about her book can be found here.  Badgett was also recently featured in The New York times article, The Most Detailed Map of Gay Marriage in America, which was published this September.  Read the full article here.  Georges Azzi, a Lebanese LGBT and human rights activist, was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article, titled, How gay rights advance democracy in the Middle East. Read the full article here.  Laurindo Garcia, a Filipino HIV advocate, was inducted as an Ashoka Global Fellow. Lear more about the Ashoka fellowship program and Garcia's work in a full article here. Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a Ugandan LGBT rights activist, wrote an article about the extreme challenges facing LGBT people in Uganda. She also reflect on the successes of the LGBT rights movement in the country.  Read the full article here.  Klaus Mueller, Founder and Chair of the Global LGBT Forum, redeveloped his Memorial Space 'Within the Pink Triangle' that showed six survivors of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals for an exhibit on 'Homosexualities' at the Münster Modern Art Museum (May-Sep 2016). Watch his interview about the long-term goals of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum here. Some LGBT Forum Fellows at an impromptu reunion in Berlin earlier this year. 
To learn more about the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum as well as past and upcoming sessions, visit: http://lgbt.salzburgglobal.org/overview.html.
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Transgender Man Helps Shibuya Make a Difference
Transgender Man Helps Shibuya Make a Difference
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Fumino Sugiyama, a Fellow of the session Global LGBT Forum - Strengthening Communities: LGBT Rights and Social Cohesion, is leading an LGBT rights campaign in Japan. Below is an excerpt from The Japan Times article, Transgender Man Helps Shibuya Make a Difference, written by Naohiko Hatta.  
Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender man, had always felt trapped in a girl’s body while growing up. Now, following breast-removal surgery at age 27, and after taking hormone therapy and growing a beard, the 34-year-old is a leading campaigner in Japan for better understanding of sexual minorities. In early May, Sugiyama was at the head of a parade organized by nonprofit organization Tokyo Rainbow Pride, where he works as a co-leader to provide help to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The parade in Tokyo’s Shibuya district drew 4,500 participants, the most since its inception in 2013. Sugiyama is also known for having played a central role when Shibuya Ward passed an ordinance last year allowing certificates to be issued recognizing same-sex partnerships as being equivalent to marriage. The ward was the first municipality in Japan to adopt such an ordinance and several others have since followed suit. “Without realizing, we had given up on living” like non-LGBT people, Sugiyama said. “But the enactment has offered us hope that we can bring about change if we pursue it.” Read the full article here.
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