Human Rights Campaign Foundation Hosts 32 Inspiring Global Advocates Amid International Crises and State of Emergency

by Kathryn Smith

This week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and its Global Partnerships Program will host its 6th Global Innovative Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. This unique forum will bring together 32 established and emerging LGBTQ+ advocates from 32 countries to exchange experiences, ideas and best practices for promoting LGBTQ+ equality around the world.

At the conclusion of the Summit the Innovators will become members of HRC’s ever-growing Global Alumni Leaders Network — now numbering more than 200 advocates in some 100 countries. They will then become eligible for further support and engagement, including HRC’s Global Small Grants Program, that helps super-charge the impact of these changemakers.

The Summit is being held amidst a variety of international crises affecting LGBTQ+ people, such as Uganda’s draconian anti-LGBTQ+ law that was enacted last May, as well as an unprecedented National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States, as declared by HRC last June.

Our Global Innovative Advocacy Summit is an opportunity for changemakers from around the world to connect, share ideas and lessons learned, and incubate new and creative ways to advance LGBTQ+ equality in their home countries. At this time of immense stress for the global equality movement, we will also take time to celebrate our progress, recognize how far we have come, and support each other in the challenges we face on the path to full equality. By sharing ideas in this open and safe space, we can help advocates identify strategies that work best for them, and develop relationships and partnerships to help them carry them out. Each one of these inspiring Innovators is doing extraordinary work in their own country, and we are honored to host them at HRC.

Jean Freedberg, Director of Global Partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign

As state-sanctioned homophobia in Namibia continues to cast a cloud of permissible discrimination upon the entire LGBTQ+ community and chips away at the foundations of our democracy, participating in the Human Rights Campaign's Global Innovative Advocacy Summit will empower me to advance equality across Africa and breathe life into the promise of the born-free Namibia our Constitution was founded on — a Namibia where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive no matter who they are or who they love.

Omar van Reenen, Founder of Equal Namibia, a youth-led social movement fighting to end state-sanctioned homophobia and intersectional discrimination in Namibia

The global summit for me presents an amazing opportunity for working across contexts. Our shared challenges don't know borders, so why should our work?

Mino Likwasi, co-founder of Women’s Alliance for Equality Limited, a Zambian organization committed to expanding the rights of women of various sexual orientations and gender identities.

The Innovators, who were competitively selected from a large pool of candidates, will be joined by four distinguished alumni from HRC’s Global Leaders Network. During the week participants will engage in a variety of interactive formats on the summit's three movement-building themes: Driving Legal and Political Change, Changing Hearts and Minds, and Creating More Inclusive Institutions of Daily Life.They will also address the challenges presented by the growing global “anti-gender” movements, and discuss strategies to address them.

This year’s 28 new Innovators include: Nassim Yettou, Mahabba Collective (Algeria); Zema, (Anonymous); Eliot Zeballos Cadena, IGUAL Bolivia (Bolivia); Mariah Rafaela Cordeiro Gonzaga da Silva, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Brazil); Aleš Rumpel, Pride Business Forum (Czechia); Julienne, LA COLOMBE Pride ASBL (Democratic Republic of Congo); Jeremy Anfeerne Roa Rosa, RD es de Todes (Dominican Republic); Abdul Mufeez Shaheed, Rainbow Pride Foundation (Fiji); Shone Adjei, Key Watch Ghana (Ghana); Alessandra Hereman,; Henry Tse, Transgender Equality Hong Kong (Hong Kong); Anish Gawande, Pink List India (India); Glenroy Murray, Equality for All Foundation Jamaica (Jamaica); Essy Adhiambo, Initiative for Equality and Non-Discrimination (Kenya); Anonymous, Sisters 4 Sisters ; Numan Afifi, (Malaysia); Enkhmaa Enkhbold, The LGBT Centre in Mongolia (Mongolia); Yaquota El Idrissy, South Trans Voice Organization in Morocco (Morocco); Omar van Reenen, Equal Namibia (Namibia); Oyedayo, Women's Health and Equal Rights (WHER) Initiative (Nigeria); Gabriela Zavaleta Vera, Más Igualdad Perú (Perú); Kristian Ranđelović, XY Spectrum (Serbia); Assala Mdawkhy, (Tunisia); Özgür Gür, ÜniKuir Association (Turkey); Edward Reese, KyivPride (Ukraine); Jau Ramírez, Movimiento SOMOS (Venezuela); Mino Likwasi, Women’s Alliance for Equality Limited (Zambia); Sam Gcinekile Ndlovu, Trans Research Education Advocacy and Training (Zimbabwe).

Among the 28 countries represented by these new advocates, at least nine criminalize consensual same sex sexual conduct. In many others, just openly identifying as LGBTQ+ poses serious threats. For this reason, some attendees have remained anonymous.

Throughout the world, 63 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct, and in up to 11 it is punishable by death. Mauritius became the most recent country to decriminalize when its Supreme Court struck down its colonial era law in October. Last May, Uganda made international headlines for passing an archaic anti-LGBTQ+ law. The 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Act severely and drastically restricts the rights of LGBTQ+ Ugandans to live their lives openly, and to engage in public life or advocacy.” Since its passage, there has been a dramatic increase in arrests of LGBTQ+ people, evictions from homes and violence and assaults against the community by state and non-state actors.

The Global Partnerships Program at the HRC Foundation leverages the knowledge, resources and expertise of HRC to support and strengthen the global movement for equality. To learn more about our innovative work around the world, visit

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