OutSummit Speakers 2019

OutSummit pushes the boundaries for Global LGBTIQ Activism. Here’s the one day conference line up of speakers from out global LGBTIQ community. Keep checking back regularly for additions to the list.


Neish McLean is the Caribbean Program Officer at OutRight Action International, based in Jamaica. Neish joined OutRight after serving as OutRight’s Religion Fellow in 2018. Neish is a Co-founder of TransWave Jamaica, Jamaica’s first and only organization solely dedicated to advocacy for trans people. Neish is also the Vice-Chair of the United Caribbean Trans Network (UCTRANS). Neish has extensive experience of delivering human rights workshops and trainings throughout the Caribbean and beyond. Neish holds a BSc in Psychology which helps in their work as a human rights defender while using their lived reality as a trans person to inform their advocacy. Neish also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Sports Management. Neish is a sports and fitness enthusiast.


Mary Lu Bilek is dean of CUNY School of Law, where she began teaching as one of the founding faculty in 1985. As a faculty member, associate dean, and interim dean, she led initiatives promoting student-centered instruction, developing and implementing CUNY School of Law’s innovative curriculum for practice, creating a robust bar support program, and spearheading programs that have increased the diversity of the legal profession, including the school’s innovative Pipeline to Justice Program.

Audrey J. Juarez is a third year law student at CUNY School of Law, graduating in May of 2020 with her J.D. She is the current Editor in Chief of the CUNY Law Review, a publication dedicated to publishing social justice focused legal scholarship. During her time at CUNY, she has represented students by serving as student government president and holding a position on the Latin American Law Student Association executive board. Before moving to New York to study law, she worked at the Center for American Progress and interned for Congressman Adam B. Schiff.  

Hosh Ibrahim is British born of Sudanese/Egyptian parentage, and lives in London. Hosh is a graduate from The Central School of Speech and Drama, and for over a decade worked as an actor in television and film. He also has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and History from UCL. His father, Mo Ibrahim, is the founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for African Governance, where Hosh is a board member, and previously the Director of Special Projects. He served as a board member of the New York Africa Centre, which is due to re-open in 2020. He helped set up, and is a trustee of (KBCC)The Khartoum Breast Care Centre in Sudan, for cancer care and treatment. He also serves on the global advisory board of Sesame Workshop. 


Victor Madrigal-Borloz is the United Nations Independent Expert on protection from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. A Costa Rican jurist, he is a senior visiting researcher at the Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, where he will be in residence from July 2019 to December 2020. Until June 2019 he served as the Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), a global network of over 150 rehabilitation centres with the vision of full enjoyment of the right to rehabilitation for all victims of torture and ill treatment until 30 June 2019. 

A member of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture from 2013 to 2016, Mr Madrigal-Borloz was Rapporteur on Reprisals and oversaw a draft policy on the torture and ill-treatment of LGBTI persons. Prior to this he led technical work on numerous cases, reports and testimonies as Head of Litigation and Head of the Registry at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and has also worked at the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Copenhagen, Denmark) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (San José, Costa Rica). 

Mr Madrigal-Borloz is a founding member of the Costa Rican Association of International Law (ACODI), a founding Board member of the International Justice Resource Centre (IJRC), and a founding Board member of Synergia-IDH.

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist and producer and most recently worked as a Senior Presenter for AJ+. He currently lives in NYC where he is producing short films, and a documentary series.

Ahmed has previously worked as a correspondent for VICE on HBO, a host and producer Al Jazeera English, as well as for the The New York Times, The Huffington Post and PBS. Ahmed is best known for creating and co-hosting Al Jazeera English’s flagship show “The Stream,” an interactive talk show which was nominated for an Emmy Award for Most Innovative Program in 2012.

In 2015, Ahmed was a correspondent on six documentaries for the award-winning VICE on HBO. In 2015 and 2016, he was featured on the Arabian Business Power List “100 under 40: The world’s most influential young Arabs.”

Ahmed helped establish HuffPost Live in 2012 for The Huffington Post, producing and hosting “World Brief,” a 30-minute interactive global news show. In 2013 he was featured on Forbes’ “30 Under 30 list of young disruptors, innovators & media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world.”

Opening Plenary:


Legal Battles: Advancing LGBTIQ Equality Through Courts*

Moderator: Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, specializes in gender, sexuality and human rights globally. At OutRight, she has supported the legal registration of LGBTIQ organizations globally, helped secure the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and advanced the UN LGBTI Core Group. She has provided expert opinions to governments globally, regional human rights institutions, and UN mechanisms, including UNWomen where she serves as a member of the LGBTI Reference Group. Her writing has been cited by the Indian Supreme Court in its seminal judgment decriminalizing same-sex relations and featured in The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (2019).

Eric Gitari is a lawyer, an activist and an unpublished poet. He has worked with various organizations on human rights of LGBTIQ persons in Kenya and the Commonwealth. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Nairobi, a Masters degree from Harvard University and is currently a doctorate candidate at Harvard Law School.

Ajeng Larasati works as Research and Programme Coordinator at LBHM, a human rights organisation that provides free legal services for poor and marginalised groups in Indonesia. Ajeng leads the development of LBHM’s research and programmatic works on the issue of drug policy, LGBT rights, HIV and human rights, mental health, and abolition of the death penalty. She also serves as a core team member of the National Crisis Response Mechanism, an initiative to develop a holistic support system to protect the rights of LGBT individuals and organisations.

Rikki Nathanson formed the first trans-led organization in Zimbabwe focused on addressing the social and civil rights shortcomings of the trans diverse population of that country in 2015. She was instrumental in the formation of the Southern Africa Trans Forum. She serves on multiple boards internationally; Social Health Empowerment, SHE, African Men for Sexual Health and Rights AMSHeR and ENZA Research (South Africa), Trans Bantu Association (Zambia), the IRGT – a global network of trans women in the fight against HIV, and OutRight Action International, Global Action for Trans Equality, GATE (Argentina). She took on the State of Zimbabwe, and was successful, for the unlawful arrest she endured for being transgender.

Jenny Pizer is Senior Counsel and Director of Law & Policy for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest, US-based legal organization pursuing full civil rights for LGBTQ people.  She litigates to end discrimination in health care, employment, public accommodations and education, and the use of religion to license that discrimination. She also drafts legislation, advises policymakers, and works with community advocates to advance nondiscrimination protections. Jenny is a leading voice for LGBT family equality and previously directed Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project. She graduated from NYU School of Law and Harvard/Radcliffe College, and serves on the board of OutRight Action International.

Luíza Drummond Veado is OutRight’s United Nations Program Officer based in New York. She is a Brazilian attorney with an International Human Rights Law LLM from the University of Essex.  She has also published several academic articles on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics; trained more than one hundred activists and government officials on international and regional non-discrimination standards, with a focus on LGBTI rights; and has coordinated an award-winning video campaign on violence against LGBTI persons in the Americas.

Closing Plenary:


Success Stories From the Frontlines

Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile is a groundbreaking Trans* ARTivist from Botswana. She is a communications specialist, educator and solution-based thinker with a background in performing arts, education and human rights. She holds an MA in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice from Goldsmiths University of London (UK), a BA Honors Degree in Dramatic Arts from University of the Witwatersrand (ZA), and has participated in leadership development training at Drexel University (USA) as a recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Her accolades include being a TED Fellow, OkayAfrica #100Women honoree, Queen’s Young Leader, Chevening Scholar, and a Best of Botswana Performing Artist.

Yvonne Oduor is a feminist who uses their background as a trained journalist to advocate for the human rights of gender and sexual minorities in Kenya. They are currently the Operations Manager at the Gay and lesbian coalition of Kenya (GALCK).

Sahar Moazami currently serves as a UN Program Officer at OutRight Action International. OutRight Action International is an NGO working to promote and protect the rights of LGBTI individuals globally. Sahar received their JD from Fordham Law school and is a New York State bar admitted attorney with a focus on international human rights law. Prior to law school they attended Boston University for their undergraduate degree, majoring in Political Science and minoring in American and Persian history.

Jennifer Lu has been devoting in LGBT rights movements for 15 years in Taiwan and she currently is Chief Coordinator of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan and also long-term workers in Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBTQ+) Hotline Association. She is an activist, feminist, writer, political worker, and also passionate about encouraging more young LBT leaders to join the movement.  She led the team successfully to achieve a lot of milestones in Taiwan in recent years and will continue fighting for equality in the future.

Aalap Shah serves as the Director of Product for Wikibuy, a startup recently acquired by Capital One Bank. He is a mission driven product innovator and business strategist who leverages human centered design thinking, data driven insights, and organizational transformation. As a Board Member of OutRight Action International, Aalap is also passionately committed to social innovation, economic and workplace inclusion, and LGBTIQ human rights. He lives in New York City with his partner Gregg.

Fadi Saleh is a scholar-activist from Syria. His main research areas are queer and trans migration, LGBTIQ refugee politics, and knowledge production around gender and sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa, with a special focus on Syria. In addition to research, Fadi works with many LGBTIQ organizations in the MENA region and Europe in different consultancy, training, and advocacy capacities.



LGBTIQ people are the subject of discrimination under the guise of religious beliefs. Join panelists for a discussion of the pervasiveness of this bias and how LGBTIQ navigate their own religious and spiritual experiences.


Moderator: Paul Jansen, OutRight’s Senior Advisor for Global Advocacy



  • Jonta Saragih, Queer Activist based Indonesia and Timor Leste
  • Ifáṣínà Efunyemi, Co-founder of the Productive Organization for Women in Action (POWA) and Promoting Empowerment Through Awareness for Lesbian and Bisexual Women (PETAL)
  • Rev. Nokuthula Dhladhla, Survivor of so-called conversion therapy from South Africa


OutRight is the first and only LGBTIQ organization with ECOSOC status based in New York, where the United Nations Headquarters are located. This position makes us the natural convener of our different allies, the LGBTI Core Group, UN agencies and other civil society organizations to move the needle forward on human rights protections for LGBTIQ people everywhere. 





  • Lisa Davis, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic (formerly named International Women’s Human Rights Clinic)
  • Jo Feldman is the First Secretary to the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations.
  • Tess McEvoy, Leader of ISHR’s legal protection work, including contributing to a Model Law for the protection of human rights defenders.


The frequency and quality of media coverage of same-sex attraction has been instrumental in changing the hearts and minds of countless people. It follows, that if the same were true for gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics, societal opinions and progress in recognition of the rights of trans and intersex people would also be swifter. What strategies can be employed to increase visibility of trans and intersex people? 


Moderator: Hugo Greenhalgh, Editor of Openly, the LGBT+ news website from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Reuters, the global newswire



  • Liberty Matthyse, Director of Gender Dynamix, the oldest transgender-specific organisation in Africa and also host to the Southern Africa Trans Forum
  • Nazeeha Saeed, LGBTI Advocate, Journalist Expert in the GCC and covering events across MENA and Europe
  • Ilia Savelev, Russian human rights lawyer, activist, and scholar
  • Kristen Thompson, Communications Director of Immigration Equality
  • Sasha Berezkinis an expert on the human rights of intersex people and is based in New York.


Moderator: Elise Colomer-Cheadle, Director of Corporate Engagement at OutRight Action International



  • Christopher Bylone, Head of Global Diversity & Inclusion, International Flavors & Fragrances
  • Louise Chernin, President & CEO of GSBA, Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied Chamber of Commerce
  • Lanaya Irvin, Co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign’s National Business Advisory Council & on Board of Directors for OutRight Action International and NYC Anti-Violence Project
  • Eric Pliner, CEO of YSC Consulting, a London-based leadership strategy firm specializing in executive assessment and development, team dynamics, organizational culture, and inclusive leadership and diversity


Moderator: Kennedy Carrillo, OutRight’s Caribbean Researcher



  • Wisdom Bebli, Executive Director of Solace Initiative (formerly Solace Brothers Foundation) in Ghana & Executive Secretary of the national coalition of LGBTI+ movement, Alliance for Equality and Diversity (AfED)
  • Lua Da Mota Stabile, Diversity Specialist from the UN Free and Equal Campaign in Brazil and Outright’s UN Religion Fellow
  • Kenita Placide
  • Claire Provost, Investigative journalist and the gender and sexuality editor at openDemocracy.net, a global independent media platform
  • Sulique Waqa


In most countries around the world, discrimination, violence, and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics persist within families, faith communities, and societies at large. Panelists will consider how to support survivors and strategize an end to this harmful practice.


Moderator: Amie Bishop, Consultant Research Advisor for OutRight Action International, author of OutRight’s report on so-called gay “conversion therapy” globally



  • Reverend Nokuthula Dhladhla, Ambassador of Global Interfaith Network (GIN), a member of the Circle of Concerned African Theologians Women, & a founding member of Ashes to Purpose: a healing space for lesbians and gender non conforming people to integrate sexuality and spirituality
  • Omar Fattal, MD, MPH is the Assistant Chief for Quality at the Department of Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at NYU, co-founder and current board member of LebMASH, co-founder and current board member of Friends of LebMASH & member of the editorial board of the LGBT Health journal
  • Ro-Ann Mohammed, Caribbean feminist and social justice activist, founder of SHE Barbados, co-founder of BGLAD, & coordinator of Barbados LGBTQI+ Pride
  • Yanzi Peng, Director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China & Plaintiff of the first conversion therapy court case in China

*CLE Credits: 2 continuing legal education (CLE) credits are available for the following session Legal battles: advancing LGBTIQ equality through courts