International Trans Day of Visibility in a polarized context. Out Leadership marked ITDoV in a difficult context with Republican politicians pushing 82 anti trans bills in 28 states. Our coverage included an oped by Senior Advisor Mila Jam, a conversation with Todd and Mila, a note to our trans friends, my interview with Dr. Gen Herley of TransNewYork and a conversation with Stephanie Battaglino and Genn. Also if you missed it: the President issued the first ever formal presidential proclamation in recognition of Transgender Day of Visibility: see the full proclamation here and read more about it in this article.
Uzbekistan: a not-so-vibrant democracy. has never made headlines for being a vibrant democracy but the sad news of the beating of LGBTQ+ activist Miraziz Bazarov this week, is a reminder of the conditions in which activists in Central Asia are working (see my interview this week with a Kyrgyz activist). You can read HRW’s press release on the attack here.
Singapore: more of the same. Out Leadership hosted an off-the-record briefing on the LGBTQ+ situation with like-minded companies and activists on Tuesday. The conclusion is that in many ways the price to pay for its anti-LGBTQ+ attitude is still not high enough for Singapore which feels the corporate love more than ever as the World Economic Forum moves there in August. Time magazine this week also suggested there might be lessons to learn from the Japanese incrementalistic approach.
A Japanese Equality Act. Last week a same-sex marriage opening and this week a renewed demand for legal protections. The concept of a Japanese Equality Act to be passed before the Olympics is best summarized in this press release by our friends at HRW.
But where is the US LGBTQ+ Envoy when you need her/him/they? In its transition brief, Out Leadership reminded the Biden administration of the importance of the State Department’s position once occupied by Amb. Randy Berry. Since then, we have also supported an individual who has both the understanding and diversity profile to play this positive role globally. Two months into the administration, nominations have understandably slowed down but OL is keeping the pressure on to appoint an envoy as soon as possible.
If you have not yet joined the business coalition for the Equality Act. On April 15th at 2 p.m., Out Leadership will organize an Equality Act briefing for HRC with companies outside of the “usual suspects” which have not yet joined the business coalition. Here is the link to the current coalition which we would love to see grow. If you are interested in joining, reach out to me.
When the democrats forget us, we remind them. Out Leadership has started lobbying for an amendment to the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act introduced by Rep. Gregory W. Meeks and Sen. Robert Menendez on February 23rd that would require public companies to annually disclose the gender, race, ethnicity and veteran status of their board directors, nominees, and senior executive officers to include sexual orientation and gender identity. As I mentioned on a panel in California organized by How Women Lead recently sexual orientation and gender identity data is and can be collected, there is no reason to continue excluding us from the definition of diversity in corporate bills.
Racism against Asians in the US. All Americans might soon be vaccinated but not against racism. The recent video of an older Filipino being beaten in broad daylight in New York illustrated an upward in anti-Asian sentiments in the US. Our thoughts are with the many Asian Out Leaders that have had to endure hate speech related to Covid for more than a year. Have a look at this useful Q&A on Racism & Asian American Mental Health by OneMedical and the importance of practicing self-compassion.
And another birthday: author David Mixner’s. Mixner is one of the great civil rights leaders of our time as well as the best-known, longest-serving and most broad-based LGBTQ+ activists in the US. For his 75th birthday this August and to honor his incredible legacy, I set up the David Mixner’s LGBTQ+ fellowship. The ICWA fellowship will send US fellows abroad to study and report on LGBTQ+ rights. Please join the organizations and companies such as Barilla or the Palette Fund that are supporting financially the fellowship (link to the website).