In the evolving tapestry of global politics, LGBTQ+ advocacy has emerged as a vital force, pushing for inclusivity, equality, and the recognition of fundamental human rights. As we begin to wrap up 2023, it’s crucial to assess the current state of affairs for the LGBTQ+ community on a global scale. Around the world, LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face a myriad of challenges, from legal discrimination to societal prejudice. Despite progress in some regions, 63 countries still maintain laws that criminalize same-sex relationships, reinforcing the urgent need for comprehensive advocacy efforts.
Pictured above: Criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual acts via ILGA World.
Amidst these challenges, there have been notable legislative strides in various parts of the world. Marriage equality victories in the United States, Andorra, Nepal, and Estonia; the removal of discriminatory laws in Vietnam, Cuba, and Peru; and the extension of anti-discrimination protections in Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea are testaments to the resilience of LGBTQ+ activists and their allies.
Technology and social media are also driving the advocacy landscape. Platforms like TikTok have been a haven for LGBTQ+ people of color and have provided an enormous platform for LGBTQ+ activists, often fostering solidarity and accelerating the pace of change. Conversely, interconnectedness facilitated by digital platforms has also allowed for the rapid dissemination of disinformation (e.g. threats against hospitals providing gender-affirming care provoked by LibsOfTikTok, or hatemongering against queer Ethiopians) and accelerated the censorship of LGBTQ+ topics by governments in countries like Kenya and Russia. Finally, the internet controversy machine churned out impossible-to-ignore headline after headline about influencer Dylan Mulvaney’s partnership with Bud Light on Instagram and anti-trans rhetoric from Twitter mogul Elon Musk. Given the nonstop nature of the internet discourse cycle, LGBTQ+ leaders will need to recommit to sustained advocacy efforts and improved educational initiatives to combat persistent misinformation fueled by conservative ideologies and backlash against LGBTQ+ rights in more hostile regions.
Pictured above: The 2023 Love Rising benefit concert in Tennessee. Photo by Laura Schneider.
The interconnectedness of today’s world requires a more collaborative and cross-border approach to LGBTQ+ advocacy than ever before. In 2024, Out Leadership will continue in our unwavering commitment to forward LGBTQ+ equality initiatives worldwide by convening global businesses, activists, nonprofits, and world leaders to share strategies, resources, and support. As we honor the progress achieved in 2023, we must also remain engaged, vigilant, and proactive. We’re counting on the dedication of countless individuals like you, who strive for a world where everyone can live free from discrimination and persecution, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Thank you for being our partners in this journey.
Managing Director, Government Affairs & Public Policy
Here’s what you need to know this week…
This week, we honor those we’ve lost and renew efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Friday, December 1st marks World AIDS Day, a global movement to unite people in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Since 1988, this annual event has served as a reminder of the global struggle to end HIV-related stigma, as an opportunity to honor those we have lost, and as a rallying cry to commit to working toward a day when HIV is no longer a public health threat. In 2023, we honor the 35th anniversary of this important occasion with the theme: “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit”.
“The 35th commemoration of World AIDS Day is an opportunity to reflect on our journey, acknowledge and celebrate the progress we’ve made, and recognize the challenges remaining,” said Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “However, many people with HIV still lack access to essential healthcare and support services. We must strive to increase equitable access and outcomes for HIV testing, prevention, treatment, and care services. The battle is far from over.”
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Strategy in the United States have identified critical steps that advance efforts to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat, including increasing awareness and ending stigma, expanding healthcare access, improving prevention efforts, scaling up research and innovation, and prioritizing community-driven responses.
The late Larry Kramer (pictured right), a friend of Out Leadership and mentor to Founder & CEO Todd Sears, was a critical and defining voice from the early days of the AIDS epidemic to rally public health awareness, whose advocacy demanded protection for the millions of people whose lives were at risk from HIV/AIDS.
Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears to address NYU Stern School of Business
Empowering Out Leaders at the World’s Largest Companies
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
NYU Stern School of Business
Henry Kaufman Management Center
Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears will join the Chen Institute for Global Real Estate Finance and co-hosts at the NYU Stern School of Business for a fireside chat, moderated by Sam Chandan, PhD, Founding Director of the Chen Institute.
Todd will discuss the latest developments at the intersection of LGBTQ+ equality and business, and how Out Leadership has partnered with over 100 of the world’s largest companies to advance LGBTQ+ equality initiatives worldwide.
Don’t miss the latest insights from our pioneering ERG research from the UK with NEXUS, promising new data about LGBTQ+ professionals in the workplace from our global talent study, Out to Succeed 2.0, and critical developments around corporate social responsibility in our brand new ESG report.
Help SAGE understand the needs of LGBTQ+ older people.
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBTQ+ older people and their caregivers.
SAGE’s Center of Excellence has partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to conduct a “State of LGBTQ+ Aging Survey” to understand better the current experiences, needs, and resiliencies of LGBTQ+ older people in the U.S.
The SAGE Center of Excellence and UNLV will share the findings publicly in hopes that others will be able to use the findings to improve the field of LGBTQ+ aging.
All LGBTQ+ identified adults ages 50 and older residing in the United States, with access to the internet or a phone can participate. The survey will be offered online in English and Spanish or can be completed over the phone in English. The estimated time commitment is 45 minutes to 1 hour. If they consent to sharing their email address, participants who complete the survey will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card.
Solemn past, sanguine future: artist Jordan Eagles commemorates World AIDS Day.
Illuminations – World AIDS Day
December 1, 2023
High Museum of Art
To commemorate World AIDS Day 2023, New York–based artist Jordan Eagles presents Illuminations, a site-specific installation and activation that serves as an immersive environment and a participatory photography set. The artist invites visitors to contemplate and engage with their own histories and to consider the continuing impact of HIV/AIDS. Visitors will be able to sit for a portrait with the artist (limited availability on a first-come-first-serve basis) and are encouraged to take photos of friends, fellow visitors, and themselves to foster dialogues and inspire individual action.
Out Leadership member firm Citi to host inclusion pioneer Dr. Sylvia Ann Hewlett for a special fireside.
Navigating Executive Presence in a Changing World
December 6th, 2023
Citi Headquarters, New York
Join Citi for an exciting fireside chat with author Sylvia Ann Hewlett about her latest book, “Executive Presence 2.0: Leadership in an Age of Inclusion.” In this book Hewlett reveals the qualities essential to leadership in our post-pandemic and increasingly diverse world. The event will be moderated by Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Global Head of Talent Erika Irish Brown.
Reception to follow the event.
Dr. Hewlett is an author, an economist, and an entrepreneur. She is CEO of Hewlett Consulting Partners and founder of the Center for Talent Innovation, a think tank where she built a Task Force of 90 global companies focused on Leadership in an Age of Inclusion. Dr. Hewlett’s high-profile books quantify the “value of difference,” and provide vivid word portraits of highly qualified women, people of color and LGBTQ employees attempting to gain traction in their careers.
Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears has been a friend a colleague of Dr. Hewlett for over 15 years, having co-authored the Power of Out 2.0.
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