Post submitted by HRC Global Deputy Director Jean Freedberg.
Over the past year, HRC Global has partnered with organizations in six countries, forming the inaugural class of our newly launched Partnerships in Innovative Advocacy program.
The purpose of the partnerships is to support LGBTQ activists and organizations around the world who are doing groundbreaking work to improve LGBTQ lives and to help them develop innovative and effective campaign plans and strategies to reach their goals. After a competitive selection process, we were proud to partner with the Georgia Democracy Initiative and Equality Movement Georgia, Colors Rainbow in Myanmar, Kyrgyz Indigo in Kyrgyzstan and Ovejas Negras (Black Sheep) in Uruguay. We continued our work with the Consejo Consultivo LGBTI (Consultative Council) in Nicaragua, in partnership with the National Democratic Institute and with a group of incredible activists in Turkey.
In each country, we worked alongside truly remarkable LGBTQ activists to identify and plan for a long term goal -- like a campaign plan for relationship recognition and reducing hate crimes by the police in Georgia, an LGBTQ non-discrimination municipal ordinance in the Nicaraguan capital Managua, a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance in Kyrgyzstan, the repeal of discriminatory and punitive anti-LGBTQ laws in Myanmar and helping Ovejas Negras strengthen their volunteer structure in Uruguay. We worked with each organization to design an advocacy campaign that would advance these long term goals. In most cases we focused on how to gain allies and build visibility, often critical first steps to changing hearts and minds in order to gain broader societal support for the LGBTQ community.
Through our partnerships program, we were also able to work side by side with advocates in South Africa at a convening to combat violence against transgender communities and in Australia on strategies that look beyond the country’s recently won fight for marriage equality. And through our Global Partnerships in Pride program, we were able to assist LGBTQ communities in their quest to be more visible in their towns, cities and countries through supporting events in El Salvador, Peru, Jamaica, Uganda, Bulgaria, India and Cambodia.
Everywhere we went over the last year, we witnessed and were inspired by the advocates’ amazing energy, excitement and passion for their cause. We saw them reaching out to new audiences and engaging new allies - from their close friends, colleagues and family members to TV talk show hosts, union leaders, political figures and small business owners. We also saw the results -- insightful business leaders hiring trans people, organizations enlisting and training unprecedented numbers of enthusiastic volunteers and newly empowered allies speaking up on their behalf.
“Excellent HRC! Thank you for helping the LGBTI community in our country to have a broader vision of our advocacy processes and how to generate allies,” said a participant in a recently concluded HRC workshop.
We were honored to work alongside these creative, courageous and inspiring individuals, often in extremely challenging social, cultural, religious and political environments. We were able to share with them some of what we have learned over HRC’s more than 30 years of experience and activism in the LGBTQ movement in the U.S. and beyond. At the same time, they taught us even more about how to adapt to challenges and opportunities and how they tackle the mountain of work that lies ahead. As we continue to fight for our rights here in the U.S., we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow advocates around the world.