We met Jean Wyllys and many other Brazilian activists living in Brussels to discuss strategies to fight against human rights violations taking place in Brazil. Given the current far-right government in power, there is a better need to align international activities with a focus on resistance and respect to diversity and active democracy. Not Only Voices raised concerns about the difficult situation of LGBTI rights defenders and expressed its interest to work on creating a stronger bridge between Belgium/EU authorities and Brazilian civil society, especially LGBTI defenders.
We are engaged with the formation of an LGBT+ Congressional Caucus in Brazil. We attended to this meeting that took place at the House of Represesentatives led by the Aliança Nacional LGBTI, with the support of David Miranda, openly gay federal congressman. We contributed to the discussion about the statute of the Caucus and strategies to gather more support in Congress. After the meeting, we visited many cabinets to collect Congresspeople's signatures to form the Caucus.
We were kindly invited by Human Rights Campaign to attend their Latin American & Caribbean regional workshop in Lima focusing on engaging employers as allies for equality. We engaged with other great initiatives from Peru, Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Ecuador and Jamaica. In the 2 days workshop, we discussed strategic methods to engage businesses as allies in our home countries and joined a reception to meet other LGBTQ activists from Peru. Moreover, we got to know better the Peruvian LGBTIQ+ organization Presente and its great survey evaluating LGBT-inclusion in more than 50 businesses and multinationals.
The global knowledge of LGBTI people is very limited and it makes difficult to design inclusive programs and policies. We discussed during the World Bank Spring Bank Meetings about the importance on data collection in fighting against discrimination and stigma. The panel was composed by our director, Gabriel Alves de Faria, Clifton Cortez, World Bank's Global Adviser on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), Nebojsa Kaludjerovic, Ambassador of Montenegro to the US and Dragana Todorovic from ERA - organization dealing with LGBTI issues in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The panel was moderated by David Kinder, WB's UK Alternate Executive Director.
We had a very thoughtful meeting with "Maes pela Diversidade"in Espirito Santo, Brazil, an initiative led by mothers of LGBT persons. Not Only Voices was happy with the invitation and found it an incredible opportunity to screen the interview we did with PFLAG in Vietnam, an organization also composed by parents of LGBT persons. We came to the conclusion that the happiness and struggles are very similar despite the different cultures and realities. During the event, some of the LGBT sons and daughters were present and talked about their coming out and family relations. It was a truly inspiring moment! Obrigado Maes pela Diversidade and keep inspiring us.
Not Only Voices delivered a workshop at the second edition of the annual “Queer” Asia Conference (QA17). The aim of the conference was to bring together a wide range of academics and activists working at the intersections of “Queer” and “Asia.” It facilitates an interdisciplinary and inter-regional exchange of ideas, builds enriching networks and stimulates a pan-Asian dialogue on LGBTQ+ issues and struggles in Asia.
Videos of Not Only Voices addressing faith and LGBTI persons will open this event. The discussion "Challenges of LGBT-Activism in Religious Societies" is part of The Hague Freedom Book Fair 2017. In this event, they will discuss the current challenges of rising intolerance all over the world and its effect on the LGBTI movements. What spaces and loopholes do exist to use existing social tolerance in the world to promote LGBT rights? Free entrance.
Gabriel gathered with volunteers from AIESEC in Vitória (Brazil) to share how important AIESEC was to his professional development, including in developing Not Only Voices. Some extracts of interviews collected in Southeast Asia were screened. It was an evening about passionate youth leadership and diversity!
We were invited by Prof. Kees Waaldijk to present Not Only Voices to the students of his incredible Comparative Sexual Orientation Law course. We presented our online platform and some videos related to the impact of the laws criminalizing same-sex activity in the lives of LGBTI persons. The very diverse group of students were very enthusiastic and made a lot of questions.
Gabriel and Marcel launched notonlyvoices.org during the International Queer Migration Film Festival. Our launch feature an hour-long presentation about the features of the new website, and also screened some of our teaser and part of the first full interview with Shinta Rantri and Pesantren Waria (Islamic boarding school for trans persons).
Gabriel and Marcel presented some of the material shot in Asia to an audience of 110 people. It was an open event and many friends and professionals from the film industry and human rights advocates attended the event. It was a true pleasure to share some extracts of our interviews, impressions about the whole journey and interact with the public. For example, we discussed about differences and similarities faced by LGBTI persons in Southeast Asia and in the Netherlands and Europe. Finally, many of those who were there contacted us afterwards and are now supporting the project with their knowledge and network. Special thanks to the Mugmetdegoudentand for their kind help in organizing the event.
Gabriel was happy to be back to his previous workplace - the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR/OAS) in Washington, DC. He screened extracts of 4 different interviews that addressed issues such as education, family relations, trans rights and violence. The audience was very lively and made a lot of questions. He further talked about the main challenges for LGBTI persons in SE Asia and made a comparison with the overall situation in the Americas.
Gabriel and Marcel were invited to New York to present the Not Only Voices at Teacher´s College, Columbia University, in the context of its QueerWeek. It was a week full of different panels to discuss about LGBT issues in the USA and the world. We were there to create a bridge between Asian queer students and the US universities.