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HRC marks International Women’s Day by honoring, celebrating and uplifting the voices of women advocating for LGBTQ and gender equality globally.

As a Moroccan feminist and LGBTQ activist, HRC Global Innovator Nidal Azhary understands that LGBTQ advocates have many obstacles to overcome to achieve equality.

“Women’s rights globally is a universal fight we all need regardless of being in Morocco, Canada, U.S., or wherever in the world,” Azhary, executive director and co-founder of L'Union Feministe Libre, a women’s rights LGBTQ group, told HRC. “We are all in the same struggle.”

Penelope Garcia, an HRC Chicago Steering Committee member and Latinx transgender woman, also understands the importance of intersectionality and fighting for equality at home and abroad.

“For me, International Women’s Day first and foremost is about equality,” Garcia said. “Being a member of the Latinx community… I was raised in a fairly traditional household. It was pretty rigid when it came down to the roles of the men and the roles of the women, and LGBTQ people as well. International Women’s Day is really a wonderful day to celebrate our diversity but also highlight all the things we do have.”

Before coming out in her early 30’s, Garcia considered herself an ally to the LGBTQ community. After coming out, transitioning and experiencing discrimination, she knew she wanted to work with organizations like HRC to protect transgender people locally and nationally.

“When it comes down to allies, really, equality can’t happen without them,” Garcia said. “HRC has been a wonderful resource when it comes down to actually getting those resources and getting that knowledge and being able to actually support your views with solid information.”

Similarly, Azhary notes that learning to be an HRC Global Innovator has helped expand her outreach, knowledge and more.

“Being an HRC global alum has helped with networking and economics from other parts of the world, other continents and other fields. We might always work on human rights and LGBTQIA rights, but we work on different perspectives,” she said.

International Women’s Day is about highlighting those various perspectives, Garcia said

“When it comes down to women, we come in all forms, and I think that’s actually the wonderful thing about International Women’s Day,” Garcia said. “It’s about celebrating all women and also it should be highlighting all of our different struggles.”

This Women’s History Month, we celebrate women leaders like Azhary and Garcia, and the barriers we’ve broken, while recognizing the distance we have to go to achieve full equality for women and all marginalized communities.

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