Posts Tagged 'Julie Dorf'

Council for Global Equality Co-Sponsoring Two Films at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival

San Francisco International LGBT Film FestivalThe Council for Global Equality is proud to be a Frameline Community Sponsor for the 38th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival  taking place in San Francisco from June 19 through June 29. We are co-sponsoring two films, along with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), both with a Russia focus, Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda and Pussy vs. Putin. Follow the links for each film to learn more, get show times, and buy tickets.

Following the film screening of Campaign of Hate (June 22), Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor at the Council, will be participate in a panel discussion with the film’s co-director Michael Lucas.

Both films are a great primer into the complex world of human rights in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. We hope to see you there! If you aren’t in San Francisco please share with people you know who are.

 

 

For the First Time in History, the World Health Organization (WHO) Vigorously Debated LGBT Health

United Nations GenevaOn May 29, the Executive Board of the WHO, comprised of 34 member states, discussed an item titled “Improving the Health and Well-Being of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender People” for six hours at the United Nations in Geneva.

The item had been initiated by Thailand and the United States, but was objected by Nigeria and Egypt, on behalf of two of the six WHO regions.  Countries lined up clearly in support or in opposition to discussing LGBT people’s health issues as a legitimate public health topic. Opposing countries were exceedingly vocal in their discomfort with the topic, sometimes displaying extreme homophobia during the discussions. Support for the issue came from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America. The debate ended by striking the item from the agenda of this meeting, but with the assurance that the topic will return to the next meeting of the body under a different title that is more acceptable to the different regions represented at the WHO.

Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Nils Daulaire, representing the United States at the meeting, argued, “The United States understands that access to care for LGBT persons is a sensitive issue for many Member States. It is sensitive in my own country. However, debating and seeking common ground on sensitive issues is one of the key reasons we all do the work we do. If there were clear and simple answers we wouldn’t have to be here….We have raised this issue as a health issue; we leave the rights debate to other bodies.”

Reports from every region of the world show that LGBT citizens lack equal access to health care and experience real discrimination based on exposing their sexual orientation, sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression in health care settings. Such discrimination takes many different forms, including outright denial of services, harassment, embarrassment, violence and arrest, as well as internalized stigma and shame. Such experiences lead directly and indirectly to bad health outcomes.

WHO has a clear recent history of a people-centered approach to the health needs of particularly vulnerable populations – women, disabled, indigenous people, the elderly, slum residents and others. Working to address the specific health challenges of LGBT populations is a logical, and indeed critical, next step for WHO in its efforts to improve vital and universal access to health care.

Ironically, despite the very contentious nature of the debate about whether to discuss the issue at all, the body discussed the topic for more than one-third of the two-day meeting. And despite extreme anti-LGBT statements by many governments, representatives from all over the world, including and especially some from Africa and the Middle East, re-affirmed their commitment to providing access to health to all citizens, without discrimination on any basis, including sexual orientation, gender, or other status.

Strange bedfellows

reuters-theeconomist-religionRepost from The Economist 

American Christian zealots are fighting back against gay rights—abroad

IT MIGHT seem only a nasty coincidence. As gay rights advance in the West—France and New Zealand are the latest countries to legalise same-sex marriage—homophobia is on the rise elsewhere. But these apparently contradictory trends may be related. Confounded at home, a crusading squad of American conservative Christians are taking the fight abroad.

In an unusual case, brought under the Alien Tort Statute, a judge in Massachusetts is pondering a claim by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a gay-rights group, against Scott Lively, a preacher and co-author of “The Pink Swastika” (which argues that Nazism was fuelled by homosexuality). Mr Lively visited Uganda in 2009, meeting politicians, appearing on television, and sharing his theories about homosexuals’ recruitment of youngsters.

Shortly afterwards a Ugandan MP introduced a parliamentary bill that would stiffen existing penalties for homosexual behaviour; among other drastic measures it mandated the death sentence for “aggravated” homosexuality. Amid a burst of anti-gay vitriol, and headlines such as “Hang Them, They Are After Our Kids”, a gay activist was murdered. SMUG alleges that, on this occasion and previously, Mr Lively conspired to persecute Ugandan homosexuals. He says he advocated therapy and prevention, not harsh punishments. Continue Reading

Pressure Builds on Ukraine to Reject Anti-LGBT Legislation

Washington, DC – March 13, 2013 –The Council for Global Equality applauds the 62 members of the U.S. Congress, who yesterday, called on Chairman Rybak of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, urging the country to refrain from passing pending anti-gay laws. These so-called “Homosexual Propaganda” laws clearly violate basic freedoms of assembly, speech, and press, with criminal sanctions of up to six years in prison for positive media portrayals of same-sex relationships or public gatherings for LGBT rights.

The bipartisan letter was led by Congressman Eric Swalwell of California who stated: “Ukraine in recent decades has made significant strides and commitments to human rights, but these bills threaten to create an environment that condones state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people. This is a clear violation of the fundamental freedoms that both of our countries respect and I urge the parliament to reject both of these bills.”

Tomorrow in Geneva, human rights defenders from the LGBT Council of Ukraine will be delivering a response to these proposed laws before the UN Human Rights Council, where they will condemn Ukraine’s blatant rejection of the UN’s call to scrap these bills. As part of the “Universal Periodic Review” of Ukraine’s human rights record, Ukrainian diplomats stated that their constitution provides sufficient protection, and that the government had no authority over members of Parliament. Olena Shevchenko, representing Ukrainian civil society, responded by noting: “Unfortunately, we need to recognize that the human rights situation of LGBTI people has worsened in Ukraine. Violence against LGBTI people has increased, and peaceful and legitimate public demonstrations against homophobic legislation have been banned and led to the arrest of LGBTI human rights defenders.”

In addition to the public sentiments of the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, members of the European Parliament have also written to their Ukrainian peers to express similar concerns and to call on them to reject the laws. “We hope this public pressure will encourage Ukrainian authorities to see the crucial need for protective legislation for LGBT citizens, as opposed to these outrageous attempts to criminalize basic freedoms of expression. As nondiscrimination laws and provisions are reviewed, sexual orientation and gender identity should be included as grounds for protection – as opposed to these laws, which purposefully exclude LGBT citizens from basic human rights protections,” said Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor at the Council for Global Equality.

Read the letter.

Related Content:  Sixty-two Members of Congress Call on the Ukrainian Parliament to Reject Anti-LGBT Legislation

Sixty-two Members of Congress Call on the Ukrainian Parliament to Reject Anti-LGBT Legislation

Ukraine Parliament LGBT rightsWASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Joe Crowley (NY-14) and David Cicilline (RI-1) led a bipartisan letter to the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament expressing their concerns about draft Ukrainian laws that violate the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies – specifically the freedoms of assembly and expression.

Currently two discriminatory bills are pending in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament. The bills prohibit “propaganda of same-sex sexual relations.”  If passed, the bills would ban sending out positive messages about being gay, whether through materials, the media or public gatherings like parades.  For example, the bills could restrict access to accurate information about HIV and AIDS.  Violators would face fines and up to six years in prison.

“Ukraine in recent decades has made significant strides and commitments to human rights, but these bills threaten to create an environment that condones state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell.  “This is a clear violation of the fundamental freedoms that both of our countries respect and I urge the parliament to reject both of these bills.”

“These proposals are a chilling threat to not only the LGBT community, but all Ukrainian citizens who deserve to live in a society where the fundamental rights of speech, expression, peaceful assembly and equality are protected,” said Rep. Joe Crowley.

“As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I am deeply disappointed to see some elements of the Ukrainian government supporting discrimination against members of the LGBT community,” said Rep. David Cicilline.  “We should never excuse these sorts of regressive proposals, and I look forward to working further to ensure that human rights are fully embraced across the world.”

“The LGBT community in Ukraine has seen a significant increase in targeted violence since the introductions of these bills. With homophobia on the rise in Ukraine, it’s crucial that the legislature protects the rights and freedoms of all its citizens,” said Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor at the Council for Global Equality.

Click here to read the letter

2012 Global Equality Leadership Award Event Photos

We would like to thank everyone who attended the award ceremony and reception for Ambassador Susan E. Rice, especially our gracious hosts. For those of you who were not able make it, you can view some photos from the event.

Ambassador Rice’s remarks, at the event, were not only moving, they were humorous, determined, and and most of all genuine. So glad that the LGBT community has an ally with her principles and drive. Stay tuned for a short video of the award ceremony.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All photos by Noah Devereaux

Click to read related content. 

The Council for Global Equality honors Ambassador Susan E. Rice with the 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award

Ambassador Susan E. Rice accepting The Global Equality Leadership Award

Photo: Noah Devereaux

October 10, 2012 – The Council for Global Equality honored Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, with its 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award at a reception this evening at the home of Mitch Draizin and Fritz Brugere-Trelat.  The award recognizes U.S. leadership in support of LGBT equality in the United States and abroad.  Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was the last award recipient.

Former U.S. Ambassador Michael Guest, a former State Department colleague of Rice and currently a Senior Adviser to the Council for Global Equality, presented the award to her.  In his remarks, he noted the leadership qualities he had seen in Ambassador Rice across her many years of public service and described how those qualities had empowered the UN’s growing recognition that LGBT rights are human rights.

In accepting the award, Rice noted that “I am truly honored to receive this recognition, because LGBT rights has been one of my personal passions throughout my tenure at the United Nations and long before.”  She explained that the struggle is personal, noting “the fight for equal rights is fundamental.  It defines who I am, how I was raised, where I come from, and where I am determined to go. . . . That principle is what made us a nation and its implementation, progressively but still not sufficiently, is at the core of our work to perfect our nation.”  She emphasized that “LGBT individuals around the world have sacrificed so much – including in some cases their lives – to seek and obtain their basic human rights.”

Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality, noted that “in December 2008, just before Ambassador Rice took her seat at the UN, the United States refused to join a basic UN statement affirming that LGBT rights are human rights, leaving us alone among all of our close allies in our regional Western voting bloc at the UN to reject that fundamental premise.  Since then, thanks to Ambassador Rice’s personal commitment and leadership, the United States has emerged as one of the strongest international advocates for LGBT rights at the UN and beyond.”

Julie Dorf, also Senior Adviser to the Council for Global Equality and the founder of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), which advocates for LGBT rights globally, noted Rice’s leadership in securing UN recognition for IGLHRC, the first such UN recognition for an LGBT group from the United States.  That status allows IGLHRC to speak in support of LGBT rights at UN human rights fora.  IGLHRC’s current Executive Director, Jessica Stern, also thanked Ambassador Rice for her leadership and noted the role that organizations like hers are playing in partnering with supportive governments to advance LGBT equality for all.

Under the leadership of Ambassador Susan Rice, the United States has finally joined our closest allies in the UN in condemning violence, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  And by directing the full force of U.S. diplomacy to such long-neglected human rights concerns, Rice helped put LGBT rights firmly on the UN agenda with an unprecedented new appeal to all countries in all regions.  In accepting the award, Rice said that the struggles in support of LGBT equality at the United Nations are some of her “proudest moments at the UN,” recognizing that “together, we’ve made a bit of history. The UN is far different today than it was four years ago.”  The Council for Global Equality is proud to be a partner in such history and proud to recognize the leadership of Ambassador Susan Rice.

Advocacy at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC

Global Activists  Meet at the White House. International AIDS ConferenceDuring the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington this summer, the Council organized a series of meetings for 60 LGBT leaders from around the world to introduce them to U.S. government officials representing U.S. foreign affairs agencies.  LGBT leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean held in-depth roundtable discussions with regional bureaus at the State Department and with the White House.  The meetings provided an opportunity for frontline activists to explain how they have experienced the recent change in U.S. foreign policy, whereby President Obama has directed “all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”

There was widespread appreciation for the new collaboration that LGBT advocates are receiving from U.S. embassies around the world.  In that sense, many activists described the meetings as having an historic quality to them.  The participants shared stories about U.S. embassy personnel reaching out to LGBT advocates, and they offered a number of positive comments on specific aspects of U.S. programming abroad.  At the same time, the Council recorded feedback on how our government can continue to improve its efforts to support local LGBT organizations in hostile environments internationally, including the following points:

  • U.S. embassy posts should engage LGBT organizations in an annual human rights dialogue across the year.  In parallel, posts should catalogue the priority needs of these organizations, with a view to discerning the relevance of State, USAID and other foreign affairs agency programming.
  • The Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator at the State Department should underscore to its overseas PEPFAR administrators that, as a matter of national policy integrity, programming for men who have sex with men (MSM) should be included in each country plan, regardless of whether host countries suggest this as a priority.
  • All U.S. foreign affairs agencies should integrate LGBT human and civil rights issues into training provided to U.S. and overseas employees.  Training should include both general policy information and its specific applicability to the overseas programs of individual agencies.
  • U.S. foreign affairs agencies should include binding contractual references to federal executive agency policies on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Only binding language can provide the leverage to ensure that program contractors do not undercut broader U.S. policy objectives through inappropriate projection of their personal biases.
  • The framing of our public diplomacy efforts is critical to their success.  Posts should engage local LGBT groups on the usefulness of public messaging on LGBT issues; what the content of that messaging might be; local or regional voices that might feature in any such messaging; and how this messaging might be integrated into broader democracy and civil society programming goals.
  • Further thought should be given to how LGBT individuals might be included in exchange programs related to democracy, civil society, and the rule of law.  LGBT inclusion in these programs should mirror in-country inclusion of LGBT people in post programs.
  • There is a clear need for greater engagement on rule of law issues impacting LGBT individuals abroad, including police training and post engagement with host governments on legal reform.  The recently passed U.S. hate crimes law could be a helpful fulcrum for this engagement.
  • Embassy posts should consider faith-focused programming, with the goal of encouraging dialogue between LGBT people and local faith leaders.  This engagement may be key to a long-term reduction of legislative and other discriminatory policies toward LGBT people.
  • Embassies should also consider increasing their small grant support for LGBT civil society groups, across all geographic regions.  These small grants, targeted toward needs identified by the groups themselves, can be lifelines for small and otherwise resource-stretched organizations.

Julie Dorf named to Go Magazines “100 Women That We Love”

Julie Dorf, Go Magazine's 100 Women We Love

photo: Ana Grillo

The leader of our nation has come out in support of LGBT equal rights—but millions of LGBT people around the globe have no such government advocate. Fortunately, they do have Julie Dorf. A leader in the movement toward international LGBT equality for the past 25 years, Dorf’s work ranges from lecturing on reparations for homosexual victims of Nazi persecution to acting as a philanthropic consultant for the world’s major social justice foundations. Based in San Francisco, she currently serves as the Senior Advisor to the Council for Global Equality, an organization she helped create and which advocates for LGBT-inclusive American foreign policy. Dorf also founded and directed the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) from 1990 to 2000, which advances the human rights of all people subjected to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status. Abuse of LGBT individuals around the world is intractable—but Dorf is buoyed the fact that she “get[s] to work with and be inspired by so many amazing activists and thinkers from all over the world. I wake up every day feeling so fortunate. It is truly a privilege and a source of huge satisfaction to help make change for LGBT communities.” Find out who else made the list.

Analysis: The global impact of Obama’s support for gay marriage

President Barack Obama, Supports Gay Marriage

(Pete Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

The president’s decision represents a “next generation” for whom LGBT equality is a given.

May 10, 2012–As an LGBT rights advocate, I have experienced so many proud moments with our president. Our community in the United States can count a number of major achievements during President Obama’s tenure: an inclusive hate crimes law; the repeal of the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; and the hugely important decision that the attorney general will longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

So when the rumors started buzzing yesterday morning that Obama was about to announce his support for marriage equality, it was yet another exciting moment of tangible progress in our country and by our president. When I watched the ABC interview, I was most struck by the weight he gave to his conversations around the dinner table with his daughters, who themselves have friends with lesbian and gay parents. Obama acknowledged that his daughters’ perspectives have helped him evolve: “It wouldn’t even dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently.” Continue reading ‘Analysis: The global impact of Obama’s support for gay marriage’


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