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.
Read last week’s Global Pulse on Equality here
Derek Chauvin’s very rare conviction is top of mind this week in the US. While the renewed focus on racism and police violence is often credited to greater awareness, social media and recording devices, it is also the sign of a society that will not tolerate discrimination any longer. Don Lemon yesterday was echoing James Baldwin “The Fire Next Time” and it reminded of this Baldwin quote summarizing the experience of many who are not born in the dominant class: “You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were Black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity.”
HR 1277 – a discreet setback for LGBTQ+ Board representation in the House yesterday. Talking about limits to one’s ambition, Bill HR 1277 (Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2021) sponsored by Rep. Meeks (Dem), was discussed in the House Committee on Financial Services chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters yesterday. As a reminder the bill will cast in stone the federal definition of Board diversity. After five minutes of speeches, it was approved without any lawmaker championing the sexual orientation and gender identity language we had pushed for. You can see the replay here starting around the fourth hour. HR 1277 (remember that number) is now heading to the House floor where we will unleash our efforts (reach out to join the coalition). Limiting the definition of Board diversity used by the SEC to gender, racial and ethnic diversity and veteran status could be an irrevocable setback for the LGBTQ+ community.
Interested in Board Service? look beyond publicly listed companies. The vast majority of Board seats are outside of the large public companies’ LGBTQ+ leaders tend to focus on. According to Bolster, only 11% of seats on private boards are filled by non-investors or non-management directors — but more than half of these companies expect to fill independent seats in the next 12 months. This constitutes a huge opportunity for Quorum aspiring candidates. Join me at The Women Business Collaborative and Bolster event on Tuesday, April 27th at 12:00 p.m. EST where I will speak on “Flipping the Script On Private Company Board Diversity”.
Quiet diplomacy in Poland: focusing on the local level. Our friends in the UK Liberal Democrat party had the brilliant idea to use the twinned cities channels to champion human rights of LGBTQ+ people in embattled Poland (read this article on the “Protect Our Twins” campaign). Beyond Poland, this strategy is groundbreaking. A lot of our diplomacy around human rights tend to be focused on central institutions when there is probably more leverage at the local level.
Claiming the LGBTQ+ economic power for Equality. In an interview published this week-end in Decrypt “Can Blockchain Safeguard the Rights of At-Risk LGBT People?” and in a separate blog on LGBTQ+ impact investing, I discuss new channels for LGBTQ+ to ensure they leverage their economic power for global social change.
From China: another defeat in court. Between its clamp down on freedoms in Hong Kong, military action across the Asia-Pacific region, and accusations it covered up the initial spread of the coronavirus, you would think Chinese authorities would embrace the LGBTQ+ community to bolster their reputation. This local judge’s decision highlights the predicament of LGBTQ+ couples which are not recognized under Chinese law.
#IDAHOBIT2021 is one month away! As the Treasurer of the non-profit behind the International Days Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, I have a view of what is being planned and corporates have been a bit absent at the moment. If you need ideas, here is the newsletter from May17.org regarding initiatives, events and images. The uplifting theme is “Together, Resisting, Supporting, healing”.
And Pride month is only two-months away. Out Leadership will be hosting its virtual month-long, global Pride celebration #ProudlyResilient“. Check out the speaker line-up (between us I also plan to interview Fr. James Martin – who is featured in this new documentary – for a session on spirituality) and schedule here: https://www.proudlyresilient.com/
And finally The Economist’s irritated answer to corporations stepping in on restrictive voting laws “The Vocal CEO” did not convince my son… He probably knows that his future is way too important to be left to politicians alone to manage…