Human Rights Campaign Hosts Annual Summit Honoring Global Innovators in Fight for LGBTQ Equality

by Alberto Morales

Global Summit — which has been running for 5 years — is dedicated to lifting up the voices of global leaders in the fight for LGBTQ equality in the age of COVID-19.

HRC) — the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization — kicks off its fifth - and first virtual - Global Innovative Advocacy Summit. This annual event brings together LGBTQ advocates and allies from around the world to share strategies and develop innovative ways to advance LGBTQ equality. 

This year, HRC is honoring 31 outstanding LGBTQ advocates and allies from 25 countries at a virtual global summit on June 24th that will kick off a series of programs over the next three months. Participants will share their personal and professional experiences, learn new ideas and best practices from each other and from HRC, and attend virtual workshops and town halls to strengthen their efforts to improve the lives of LGBTQ people in their countries. 

“Even in the midst of a global pandemic, LGBTQ advocates around the world continue to find creative ways to further the fight for LGBTQ rights and equality,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Their contributions in the fight for full equality, in some of the world’s most challenging places, are truly remarkable. HRC is proud to bring these 31 outstanding global leaders together for our annual flagship summit. They represent hope for marginalized and vulnerable peoples everywhere and inspire us all to continue the fight for LGBTQ rights and dignity around the world.”

This year’s summit will focus on the innovative ways in which LGBTQ people around the world have responded to the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and will allow participants to share ideas and best practices for dealing with its impact. In addition, the summit will address some of the global themes presented by the invigorated movement for racial justice and equality around the world. 

“Despite the pandemic crisis, we are continuing the fight for our dignity as human beings,” said HRC Global Innovator Daniella Solano from Costa Rica. “And we won’t let up, ever. It’s this tireless energy that helped local Costa Rican advocates turn our dream of marriage equality into a reality in 2020. The fight was long, and the celebrations are very much well-deserved, but the fight for LGBTQ rights is not over. We must remember always the plight of the most vulnerable among us, and that includes the fight for the rights of trans and intersex people, and we can continue to win if we stay together and build the world we want for the future.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been distressing for diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics communities (SOGIESC) everywhere with no end in sight as we continue to face a lethal combination of crises on multiple fronts, including health, hunger, loss of livelihoods, mental trauma,” said HRC Global Innovator Gopi Shankar Madurai from India. “We, intersex people, are the worst affected because we do not have a community of our own and we are often mis-identified as transgender people in Asia. Lack of collective action and community support makes us even more vulnerable. The pandemic has made us realize the importance of coming together to form a community to give voice to the rights of intersex infants and intersex people in all age-groups.”

“Covid-19 has exposed the ugliness of the world, that some people are still more equal than others and sadly those in the margins have been pushed further adrift,” said HRC Global Innovator Monica Tabengwa from Botswana. “There’s never been a better time to re-examine our approach to saving humanity than now.”

The 2020 HRC Global Innovators are from Armenia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Egypt, Ghana, Guyana, India, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkey, and Uganda.  They join HRC’s growing alumni network of more than 170 advocates from over 90 countries and territories. 

HRC strengthens the global equality movement through public education, advocacy, and partnerships. While millions of LGBTQ people around the world are gaining visibility and fighting for their rights, far too many still live in fear and isolation, often under the rule of governments that criminalize their very identities.  For more information on HRC’s international work, please visit