Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly equality news digest, Global Pulse on Equality, where I share important news, updates, and commentary about the LGBTQ+ equality movement globally.
Equal access to credit is key for LGBTQ+ businesses to flourish. New York Representative Ritchie Torres’ bill to collect LGBTQ small-business loan data (H.R. 1433) is going to committee today (Wednesday) probably around 12/noon. Out Leadership sent a letter of support last week, on behalf of its member companies, to Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry as we believe it should be a bi-partisan effort. I published a blog on the reasons we support the bill. Read it here.
You are not alone. May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. This week is also Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK with the theme of “Connecting with nature”. I wrote a piece titled “Ode to the bravery of those who struggle”. Mental health is an LGBTQ+ question when the pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on the wellbeing of our community.
Last week, we lost prematurely Patrick O’Connell the creator of the red ribbon. The ribbon has become the universally recognized symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. His death was an opportunity to reflect on “compassion fatigue” at a time when the West is tempted to celebrate another very partial “end” to a pandemic. Read my take here.
What proud mothers can teach CEOs. On Mother’s Day I interviewed super mom Julie Tarney. CEOs are about to face deep changes in their workforce including an unexpected focus on quality of life at work. In fact, many already do (see Get ready for the post-Covid office workers’ rebellion). Strangely enough, what Julie highlighted – the need for empathy, curiosity and the ability to challenge one’s beliefs – applies to anybody running a business in 2021.
In the UK, the conservative party is banning conversion therapy. This might be surprising to those of us in the US where LGBTQ+ issues are increasingly stuck in a strange, polarized standoff, but Boris Johnson, leader of the conservative party, confirmed he will move forward with the ban. The UK will join Canada, Malta, Germany, Mexico and parts of Australia in this move. Dustin Lance Black prevailed as did his husband in the Diving World Cup in Tokyo by the way: a great week for the family.
Turkey. Spotlight on Listag, flying the rainbow colors in Erdogan’s Turkey. Our friends at ERA placed Listag, a PFLAG-type organization which has been flourishing since 2008, on our radar screen. It now coordinates a group of 25 companies based mainly in Istanbul, called “Friends of Listag”. Listag played a key role in fighting anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech during the recent Melih Bulu protests. To me this is a stark reminder to avoid being driven by headlines and pay attention to on-the-ground nuances.
France: Nominate your LGBTQ+ and allies role models. Our friend Alain Gavand, who heads l’Autre Cercle “Rôles Modèles LGBT+ et Allié·e·s”, just announced the 2021 nomination period is now open. It is a crucial initiative in a country where LGBTQ+ people often report believing that their sexual orientation and gender identity only matter to their “private life”. A belief which is highly correlated with homophobic and transphobic work environments. I like to remind people that in 2016, the French business tribunal “Prud’Hommes”, decided that it was acceptable to call a hairdresser a “fag” (“PD”) without it being an insult as “it is recognized that hairdressing salons regularly employ homosexual people ”.
Next Monday May 17th is IDAHOBIT: Some of our partners, like Emergence, have already launched their campaigns. You can watch this Vanessa Paradis/Hoshi video collaboration or register for this Hong Kong panel on trans issues organized by Standard Chartered on May 14. Join me on the 17th as I moderate LGBTQ+ activism and Africa (live) with my friend and author Robbie Corey-Boulet and an Asian Development Bank event (recorded) with economists Lee Badgett/Kaushik Basu on ensuring development efforts work for sexual minorities too.
In the French-speaking movie section for your weekend: the 2017 acclaimed André Téchiné “Being 17” on love in the French Pyrenees is available on Amazon Prime Video (NY Times critic here). I also watched – a little late – I admit Xavier Nolan’s “Laurence Always” which is such a masterpiece on transition and is available on Tubi.
Shop to support our Brazilian and Indian friends. Last week, I sent a suggestion on how to support embattled trans Indians during COVID-19. This week, these beautiful glass creations benefit our friends in the LGBTS Center in Brasília, Brazil (@centrolgbts on Instagram and Facebook) focusing on LGBTQ+ people facing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.