Ben Hunte is a journalist and presenter, he is the BBC’s first LGBT Correspondent, reporting on stories surrounding sexuality and gender. In July, Ben took the top spot of The Guardian and DIVA Magazine’s Pride Power List 2020. Since starting the role in April 2019, Ben has uncovered Poland’s ‘LGBT Free Zones’; how LGBT people are still under attack and failed in 2020; he exposed how black male victims of sexual abuse are ‘ignored’ by the government; he broke the news of HRH Prince William supporting a potential LGBT royal, and he fronted a season of coverage celebrating 50 years since the Stonewall Riots. Ben’s digital films have been seen by millions, with topics ranging from men feeling ‘too ugly’ to be gay, to racism within the LGBT dating scene. As one of the BBC’s youngest correspondents, Ben’s journalism has already been nominated for awards, including by the Royal Television Society, PinkNews and British LGBT Awards. In 2019 he was awarded an ‘Alumni Laureate Award’ by the University of Nottingham, where he studied a Neuroscience degree on a full scholarship. Prior to this role, in 2018, Ben launched and presented What’s New, the BBC’s first TV programme and digital service for children in Africa.
Rita Ruduša is a veteran Latvian journalist, editor and public media executive. She entered journalism in the early nineties, a time of tectonic shifts in European history, and was one of the first foreign correspondents of the newly independent Latvia, working for Diena, the flagship daily and reporting from Moscow. Rita Ruduša also spent several years in Prague working as a broadcaster at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and in London as a media researcher at the Open Society Foundations. She has held several executive positions in Latvian media, and has been the head of two media non-profits, the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence and the Latvian Journalist Association. Rita Ruduša is currently representing Latvia in the UNESCO International Programme of the Development of Communication, tasked with contributing to development of international standards aimed at strengthening free media and journalist safety in developing countries. She regularly contributes columns to Latvian press on media issues, gender equality and LGBTI issues, and is the author of “Forced Underground”, a book documenting the lives of LGBT people in Soviet Latvia, one of the first works on the topic published in a post-communist country.
Alyza Enriquez is a non-binary, Latinx photographer, filmmaker, and cultural producer whose work centers on storytelling, design, and trans + nonbinary personhood. They currently work at VICE as a writer + producer in addition to working across teams as a creative consultant with a focus on LGBTQ multimedia projects and inclusive workplace culture. They don’t like to take things too seriously because without playfulness, what’s the point of making anything?
Lewis Corner is Editorial Director of GAY TIMES, Europe’s longest-running LGBTQ+ media brand. In his role he overlooks the production of GAY TIMES Magazine, gaytimes.co.uk and the GAY TIMES social channels, which has the largest social reach of any LGBTQ+ publisher globally. He leads at the GAY TIMES Group level, working alongside strategy, content creation and production teams to create world-class LGBTQ+ media in an unparalleled end-to-end client offering for leading brands.
Daina Ruduša is OutRight’s Senior Communications Manager responsible for media relations and raising the organization’s profile, based in New York. She joined the team in February 2019 after almost three years at ILGA-Europe, the foremost European-level LGBTIQ organization. She has also worked at leading international development organizations CARE International UK and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Daina first joined the LGBTIQ movement in her native Latvia in 2006, when the second Pride march was being organized and faced hateful and violent opposition. Daina studied history of sexuality as part of her Bachelor’s degree in History and English at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and earned her Master’s in Public International Law and Human Rights from the Riga Graduate School of Law in Latvia. Originally from Latvia, Daina is a bit of a nomad at heart – moving to New York to join OutRight marks her 8th country of residence. She is a dog-lover, enthusiastic singer, and is fluent in English, Latvian and Russian.
Sam Gcinekile Ndlovu is the current Executive Director of Trans Research Education Advocacy and Training (TREAT) which is a Trans led organisation In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He is also serving as the Vice Chairperson of the Southern African Trans Forum. Sam has been an Independent Research consultant with Aids Fonds on a Research about Sex Workers and Hosting Constructions in 2018. He has was a Programs Officer for the Sexual Rights Centre in Zimbabwe from 2011 to 2017 working in various sex worker and LGBTIQ portfolios as well as supervising the paralegal team at its inception there. In 2012 he was a founding member of Voice of the Voiceless (VOVO) which is an LBT feminist organisation in Zimbabwe. Sam also had a stint on the GALZ board in 2002. He holds a BA in communication science from the University of South Africa. Sam has presented at various platforms the Biannual Trans Health Conference both in 2017 and 2019 as well as at CFCS 2019 as a contributor and panelist. He is also a vibrant poet having come third in the Bulawayo national Gallery Photo poetry exhibition, writing with Light in 2011 and being nominated for a ZIMA award in 2004 in the duo Double Trouble as a national musician. Also he was part of a national hip hop collective Kasi Lami Art Platform, which has been nominated for various awards. This has cultivated his Artivist approach to Advocacy.
Liberty Matthyse is the former Legal, Policy and Education Advocacy Officer of Gender DynamiX, joining the team as Executive Director on 1 February 2018. Identifying as a trans non-binary person, she/they hold a Master’s Degree in Law (cum laude) focused on non-discrimination and marriage equality for transgender persons. Liberty also holds qualifications in Project Management, Leadership, Financial Management and Strategic Business Management (University of Cape Town). She/They can be defined as a community-centred, critical-thought, human rights and social justice activist whose passion in fighting for dignity, equality and freedom for trans and gender diverse persons drives their/her dedication to achieving positive change. Author to a self-published book “A Darling’s Journey to Liberty”, in her/their spare time she/they enjoys hiking outdoors, reading and writing, exercising and spending time with loved ones, particularly in their/her hometown of Darling.
Whitney Quanita Booysen aka Sindiswa Speelman aka Lerato Khumalo is a trans identified person from Lutzville in the Western Cape of South Africa. She’s been involved in the LGBTIQA++ movement since 2011 when she started to work at Gender DynamiX as the Outreach Coordinator. She gave birth to the Trans Wellness Project after losing her job at Gender DynamiX when it was clear to her that there is a big need for an organisation working on transgender and gender diverse issues in the rural and remote areas of South Africa. Her experience as a rural transgender female who experience lots of backlog and discrimination made her aware of the fact that trans and gender diverse people are left out of programming and their voices are not heard because of the distance to travel to those areas. Whitney finished her studies in Life and Business Coaching through SACAP, N6 Public Management through West Coast College and are busy with a course to obtain a diploma in Social Studies and Counselling through International Foundation for the Advancement of Reflective Learning and Teaching (ARLT). Whitney’s motto in life is: “Everything starts with the possibility to dream.”
Deyonce Naris commonly known as “Mam D” because of her role as mother to what she calls her “little Queers of the world” is a feminist, Human Rights and Gender Activist who specializes in the human rights of Trans Diverse persons, Deconstructing Gender conversations and is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Transgender, Intersex and Androgynous Movement of Namibia- an organization that advocates for the rights and the bodily autonomy of Trans Diverse persons in Namibia, she has been trained as a human rights defender, has served in leadership roles on numerous youth movements and forums and has been a radio presenter tackling issues of Gender, Sexuality and sex workers rights issues and thus can offer a variety of skills and expertise in this vast areas.
Stefan Bollier is a member of the Investment Committee of Dreilinden and founder of Impact Advisors LLC. He is advising Dreilinden on the development and implementation of the foundation’s impact investment strategy with an LGBTQI* lens. This work includes the design and implementation of pilot projects in South Africa and Mexico, field and ecosystem building initiatives as well as overseeing the investment approval processes. Prior to founding Impact Advisors, Stefan was the CFO of a technology startup, ran a travel agent in Eastern Africa, invested institutional money in emerging markets and spent eight years in investment banking. Stefan holds a M.A. from the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland.
Kebone Moloko. With a Masters in International Business and a background in leading sales and business development teams and projects in the higher education, nonprofit and startup sectors, Kebone thrives at helping people and organizations grow. Passionate about harnessing the power of community and technology to drive Equity, Empowerment and Education for womxn, girls and LGBTQIA+ persons in Africa, Kebone co-founded Queer Women in Business + Allies in 2018 (QWB+Allies) and currently serves as their CEO. QWB+Allies is a non-profit organization with the mission to empower and advance African Queer Womxn in business through creating avenues of access. They are a community of 1000+ queer womxn entrepreneurs and professionals who connect and collaborate with each other through chapters across three South African cities, annual summits and an annual virtual accelerator for queer womxn, trans and non-binary owned startups.
Caren Holzman is the founder and director of Enabling Outcomes Ltd. and has over twenty years’ experience in sustainability and international development in the food, agriculture, mining, finance, and apparel sectors. She develops best-practice strategies with a focus on development outcomes. This work has included strategy design, KPI and metrics management, evaluations, standards and certification system innovation, stakeholder engagement, research, and facilitation. She has worked in NGO and consultancy roles and serves a diverse clientele of NGOs, foundations, multilateral and membership organizations, and corporations. Prior to founding Enabling Outcomes, Caren was the London Director at SustainAbility. She also held the role of Head of Global Product Management at Fairtrade International and is the former Director of Certification and Director of Category Management at Fair Trade USA. She holds Masters of Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, and a Bachelors of Arts from Tufts University in International Relations. Caren was trained by the Partnership Brokers Association as a Partnership Broker in 2017 and then trained in Mainstreaming Gender in Development Programmes by MDF Consultancy in 2019.
Kelly Roberts-Robbins is an Associate Director at Palladium Impact Capital. Kelly leads gender lens investing and gender smart banking programmes, including strategy development for gender lens investors, impact measurement, research, and gender impact assessments. Kelly led the development of the Gender Benchmarking Tool and leads its implementation in 31 financial institutions across 17 markets. She also conducts impact evaluations, impact reporting for investor portfolios, and designs and refines Impact Measurement and Management systems (IMM) for investors, funds, commercial banks, and recipients of impact investment capital. She develops strategies and training curriculum on social equity, gender, and unconscious bias for investors and financial institutions. Kelly is a member of the ANDE Metrics Working Group, participant in the GIIN Investor Council pilot of the Impact Management Project and is a member of the content team for the GenderSmart Investing Summit 2020-2022. She works with 2X Challenge members and aligns gender lens investing work with SDG 5 criteria, IRIS+ Navigating Impact, and the Impact Management Project (IMP).
Aalap Shah (Moderator) is a mission-driven product innovator, who is passionate about human centered design and has successfully led strategy, product, growth, and M&A for startups and Fortune 500 companies. Before his current role leading product for Customer Hardship and Recession Readiness at Capital One, Aalap was Head of Product for Paribus, launched fintech mobile apps, and had a previous life working in social innovation and international development. He went to the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and got his MBA at the University of Texas. He also sits on the Board of OutRight Action International, an LGBTIQ human rights organization. Aalap lives in New York City with his partner Gregg.
Alexandra Keith. As the only female CEO of a top-5 beauty company, Alex Keith leads one of the world’s most valuable beauty businesses, with a multi-billion-dollar portfolio of iconic brands that include Pantene, Olay, Head & Shoulders, SK-II, Herbal Essences, Secret, Old Spice and Safeguard. A degreed chemical engineer, Alex joined P&G in 1989 as a product supply manager before moving into marketing six years later, where she went on to lead brands like Olay, Old Spice, Secret, Tide and Downy. As a brand builder, she’s been the architect of many memorable marketing campaigns and product innovations and has a reputation as a game-changer who transforms categories and businesses. Across her 31-year career, Alex has shown an obvious and effective passion for developing, leading, and working with diverse people and teams. In 2019, Alex sponsored the creation of P&G Beauty’s Responsible Beauty program, an embedded operating approach that prioritizes the intersectionality of equality and inclusion with values like sustainability, safety and quality. A contributor to, and advocate for P&G’s #WeSeeEqual program since its inception, Alex is an executive sponsor for P&G’s global LGBTQ+ equality efforts, a program that supports LGBTQ+ employee advocacy within P&G and helps P&G’s brands authentically and accurately portray the LGBTQ+ community externally through the platforms of their brand innovation and communication. In addition, Alex is the business sponsor for P&G’s gender equality program in Europe.
Pedro Pina is a Portuguese-born marketer who has lived and worked outside of Portugal throughout his 20+ year career. He joined Google in 2013 as Global Client Partner overseeing a team spread around the world dedicated to lead Google’s deep engagement with some of the biggest giants in advertising like Unilever, L’Oreal, Nestle, LVMH, VW or BMW among many others. He also oversees Google’s award-winning creative force – a.k.a. The Zoo – an internal team of creative technologists, product specialists, strategic planners and tech producers. Beyond his day job, Pedro leads for Google the LGBTQ+ chapter across Europe Middle East and Africa and he’s also the Executive Sponsor for the Region’s strategy of Diversity and Inclusion. In 2019, he was named one of the 10 most influential LGBTQ+ executives in the UK by the British LGBTQ+ awards. On the same year he was named the world’s top LGBT+ executive role model on the OUTstanding 100 LGBT+ Executive Role Models List. Pedro is a Board Member of OutRight Action International and an Advisory Member for the Outvertising Council in the UK. Prior to joining Google, Pedro was EVP and Global Brands Director at McCann Worldgroup for iconic brand clients such as Coca-Cola, MasterCard and Unilever. His career started at P&G as a brand assistant in Europe, followed by 5 years in the US and Brazil working for PepsiCo. Pedro has an MBA from INSEAD, Paris.
Michael Heflin is the Director of Equality at the Open Society Human Rights Initiative. In his role Michael oversees Open Society’s grant making to advance equality in several key areas including LGBTI rights and the rights of persons with disabilities. Michael came to Open Society in 2009 to launch a global initiative on LGBTI rights focused on supporting emerging LGBTI rights groups in the global East and South. Prior to joining Open Society, Michael was managing director of the Campaigns Unit for Amnesty International USA. He also served as the founding director of Amnesty’s LGBT rights program. In addition, Michael worked at Amnesty’s International Secretariat in London where he directed the International Mobilization Program. Michael also was deputy director of Amnesty’s Midwest Region Office. Michael holds a law degree with a focus on human rights from the University of Cincinnati where he served as fellow at the Urban Morgan Human Rights Institute and as editor of the Human Rights Quarterly.
Caroline Kouassiaman is the Executive Director for Initiative Sankofa d’Afrique de l’Ouest. Caroline has 15+ years of diverse professional experiences in philanthropy, human rights activism, social justice and education to ISDAO. Previously Caroline was Senior Program Officer at the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), managing the sexual health and rights grants portfolio in West and East Africa. While at AJWS, Caroline was involved with ISDAO throughout the first four years of its journey, where she contributed to resource mobilization, communications and outreach to other funders and activists, and developing ISDAO’s programs, initially as a member of the Brain Trust and later of the Interim Governing Body. Prior to joining AJWS, Caroline was the Program Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa at the Global Fund for Women, where she coordinated grantmaking to over 100 women’s rights organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa annually, from 2011-2014. She serves as an advisor to the Queer African Youth Network. Caroline is a queer Pan-African feminist of Ivorian and African-American heritage, and has lived in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Uganda. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Diplomacy & World Affairs from Occidental College, a Master of Public Administration degree and a master’s in international relations from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University (US). Caroline works for a world where LGBTQI persons – in their full and beautiful diversity – have the opportunity, autonomy and resources to live full, healthy and violence-free lives on their own terms.
Matthew “Matty” Hart joined as Director of the Global Philanthropy Project in 2015, leading the efforts of an organization internationally recognized as the primary thought leader and go-to partner for donor coordination around global LGBTI work. Founder and Principle of the Paris-based Lafayette Practice, Hart has previously served as Senior Strategist for Europe for Funders Concerned about AIDS, and National Director for Public Engagement at Solutions for Progress. Hart also serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Calamus Foundation (DE), and has previously served as a member of The Civil Marriage Collaborative, a board member of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Philadelphia’s Sustainable Business Network, and The Leeway Foundation; and the community funding board of Bread & Roses Fund. A Jonathan Lax Academic Fellow, Hart received degrees in Urban Studies and Cultural Anthropology from Temple University.
Speakers to be announced soon!
M. V. Lee Badgett is a professor of economics and the former director of the School of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a Williams Distinguished Scholar at UCLA’s Williams Institute, where she was a co-founder and the first research director. She has a Ph.D. in economics from the UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on economic inequality for LGBT people, including wage gaps, employment discrimination, and poverty, and on the global cost of homophobia and transphobia. Her books on LGBT economic issues have debunked the myth of gay affluence and have shown that same-sex marriage is good for society. Her latest book is The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: Why Fair and Equal Treatment Benefits Us All (Beacon Press, 2020). Prof. Badgett has been a consultant, advisor, or speaker on LGBTI issues to the World Bank, UNDP, USAID, U.S. Department of State, OECD, ILGA, businesses, and others, and she has participated in many international forums related to human rights and economic development for LGBTI people.
Ari Shaw is Director of International Programs at the Williams Institute, where he leads efforts to advance research and data collection on issues impacting LGBTI communities worldwide. He has worked across policy, non-profit, and philanthropic sectors on human rights, global governance, and LGBTI issues for the Open Society Foundations, the Gill Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the United Nations Association of the USA, among others. From 2013 to 2014, he was a visiting researcher at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, and a Multirights Fellow at the Norwegian Centre on Human Rights in Oslo, where he conducted research on international law and LGBTI mobilization in the Global South. His work has appeared and been cited in both academic and mainstream publications, including World Politics Review and The Washington Post, and he is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds a BA in government from Harvard College, an MSc in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD in political science from Northwestern University.
Yvonne Wamari (Moderator) is the Africa Program Officer at OutRight Action International, based in Kenya. Yvonne joined OutRight in 2019. She is a human rights defender from Nairobi, Kenya with nine years’ experience in advocacy, research and security management. She has worked with the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists and the Africa Centre for Open Governance (Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice). For the past six years Yvonne worked for National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya as the Programme Officer- Advocacy, with a particular focus on human rights defenders. Yvonne is also a trained trainer, and has carried out various trainings to human rights defenders,journalists and others across Kenya on monitoring and documentation; advocacy strategies and physical and digital security management. She has worked closely with the LGBTIQ+ community and is part of the advocacy and legal strategy team in the campaign to repeal sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code of Kenya.
Kimahli Powell, Executive Director Rainbow Railroad Kimahli has a wide range of experience in the not-for-profit sector and has spent more than 20 years advocating for social justice, youth, and arts and culture. Prior to Rainbow Railroad, he held numerous director-level positions at organizations including the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Dignitas International, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival and the YMCA. Kimahli holds a CFRE and completed his undergraduate studies in Political Science at the University of Ottawa. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria. Among his career highlights, Kimahli helped launch the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network’s legal challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law and developed a monitoring and evaluation framework on legal advocacy. Since joining Rainbow Railroad as Executive Director, Kimahli has led the organization through transformational growth, which has resulted in successful interventions in Chechnya and Egypt. Kimahli and Rainbow Railroad have been recognized with several awards, including the International Lesbian & Gay Travel Association’s Pathfinder Award, the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies’ 2018 Award, and the 2018 Inspire Award for Community Organization of the Year. Kimahli was the 2019 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award and was listed in Out Magazine’s Out 100 profile of influential LGBT people.
Speakers to be announced soon!
Doug Kerr is originally from Edmonton, Alberta on Treaty 6 Territory and has made Toronto, Ontario home since 1996. Doug is the Executive Director of Dignity Network Canada, a national coalition of 44 organizations across Canada interested in advancing the human rights of LGBTIQ people globally. Over the past five years, he has worked closely with civil society organizations and Global Affairs Canada to launch Canada’s first major international LGBTIQ funding initiative, a $30M set of programs to be launched in 2020 and 2021. In addition to running his own non-profit management consulting practice for over a decade, Doug has taught non-profit strategy at the University of Toronto and international social justice at Centennial College in Toronto. Doug has a BA from the University of Alberta in International Relations and Chinese Studies, and an MSW from the University of Toronto. He has a certificate from the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Law Program from Leiden University in The Hague, The Netherlands. Prior to living in Toronto, he lived in Taipei, Taiwan, and speaks Mandarin Chinese. He and his husband Michael are co-owners of Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest surviving LGBTIQ bookstore in the world and are, most importantly, very proud parents of ten-year-old Malaki.
Joyce Hamilton. As senior international advocacy officer at COC Netherlands, Joyce works in coalition with LGBTI activists from different regions, and human rights / women’s / SRHR organizations, to advocate for issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics within international human rights mechanisms, such as the UN, EU, the OSCE, and related to inclusive sustainable development. In this capacity, she is also a trainer for human rights defenders on topics related to international advocacy. Her LGBTI community engagement started off 15 years ago with grassroots activism, such as activities to revitalise the lesbian movement in The Netherlands (Lesbicoon) which has led to increased visibility of lesbians. She served as co-chair of the European organization of LGBTI organisations, ILGA-Europe, until October 2018 and is a member of the UN Women LGBTI Informal Reference Group. Joyce holds a master’s degree in Political Science / International Relations, and worked at the European Parliament, a European social research network and the City of Amsterdam.
Richard Lusimbo is a Ugandan human rights activist who has worked within the LGBTI and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) movements for the past eight years. He is currently the Programmes Manager at Pan Africa ILGA (PAI) since June 2020. He also worked as the Research and Documentations Manager at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), where he was instrumental in documenting human rights barriers experienced by the LGBTI community in Uganda, including the use of video. Production of policy reports to highlight cases and recommendations for action by civil society and the State to ensure the health and rights of LGBTI communities. Furthermore, he was instrumental in the setup of the human rights monitoring tool REAct in Uganda, which is now being implemented in over 22 countries currently by LGBTI and other key populations organisations. Richard is a leading health rights activist in Uganda and Africa at large, and his work has led to more investment in the programs that address barriers to HIV and health services by LGBTI and key populations in Uganda by government, PEPFAR, and Global Fund. In 2018 Richard founded the Uganda Key Populations Consortium (UKPC); it was the first of its kind consortium of all of Uganda’s key population networks to increase the power, solidarity, and impact of advocacy groups for human rights and health services for key populations. Oversaw development of the Consortium’s governance structures, including a steering committee; convened regular meetings of Consortium membership and supported the smooth functioning of its day-to-day work.
Maria Sjödin is the Deputy Executive Director of OutRight Action International, based in New York. Maria has over 20 years of experience advocating for LGBTIQ equality. Between 2005-2014 she was Executive Director of RSFL, Sweden’s largest LGBTIQ organization. While in this position Maria established RFSL’s international program, played a key role in ensuring that the human rights of LGBTIQ people become ingrained in the Swedish government’s agenda for development and foreign affairs, advocated for marriage equality (won in 2009) and the abolishment of forced sterilization of trans people as a requirement for legal gender recognition (outlawed in 2013). Maria has led leadership trainings for over 200 LGBTIQ activists from around the world on topics including strength-based coaching and appreciative inquiry. At OutRight, she leads the development and communications team, where she has diversified and increased the organization’s funding, pioneered engagement with international businesses, and provided expert opinions to governments, UN agencies, and corporations.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah is the executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust, an organisation working towards the liberation of LGBT+ people around the world. Widely known as Lady Phyll – partly due to her decision to reject an MBE in the New Year’s Honours’ list to protest Britain’s role in formulating anti-LGBT+ penal codes across its empire – she is nucleus of the award-winning celebration and protest that is UK Black Pride; a community builder and organiser; an Albert Kennedy Trust patron, and a public speaker focusing on race, gender, sexuality and class. She’s regularly called upon to advise nascent LGBT+ organisations around the world to help leaders create cogent organising strategies, establish robust partnership networks and work effectively in service of the LGBT+ community.
Grace Poore has been the Asia Regional Coordinator at OutRight Action International since 2007. She manages regional partnership projects for LGBT access to justice and LBT protections from domestic violence and family violence. She does trainings on GBV documentation. She co-edited OutRight’s Through The Lens, a regional report on violence against LBT people in Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka, and Creeeping Criminalization, a legal mapping report on LGBT criminalization in Indonesia. She previously worked for 9½ years in the U.S. movement to stop domestic violence. She researched and co-authored Shattered Lives, a report on domestic violence homicides in Asian families in the U.S., published by API-Institute on Gender Based Violence. Her award-winning documentary films on the intersectionality of domestic violence and surviving child sexual abuse have been viewed in eighteen countries. Grace holds a Master’s degree from Syracuse University. She is from Malaysia.
Aung Myo Min is Executive Director of Equality Myanmar based in Yangon, working on protection and promotion of human rights in Myanmar. He is one of the pioneers in human rights education in Burma, working closely with women, youth, refugees, migrant workers and LGBT groups. He is the first reported Burmese gay activist to come out in the open and declare no to discrimination and homophobia in Myanmar. He founded Colors Rainbow, an LGBT rights organization in Myanmar. He was awarded the 1999 Felipa de Souza Award by OutRight Action International (formerly the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission/IGLHRC), and the European Union’s first “Schuman Award” in 2017 for his work on human rights, diversity and minorities. In 2001 he received the Honor Of Courage Award from the San Francisco City Board in California. He has published in 15 human rights publications including on LGBTI rights.
Subha Wijesiriwardena is a queer-feminist activist, researcher, and writer/blogger from Colombo, Sri Lanka. Subha works with CREA, a global feminist human rights organization led by feminists in the global South, with a commitment to building more inclusive feminist movements. Subha’s work is focused on sexual and reproductive rights, queer and trans rights and digital rights. She co-founded and co-runs a young feminist-led online/on-ground group called A Collective for Feminist Conversations based out of Colombo: an online/on-ground platform for intergenerational feminist dialogue. Subha has been writing for more than a decade, most often, about gender, sexuality, tech, media and politics. Her research work has included work on LGBT people and their use of the Internet, and exploring feminist approaches to abortion research in Sri Lanka.
Jean Chong has been an LGBTQ activist for almost two decades. She co-founded FREE (First Realize Everyone is Equal) Community Church in Singapore and was active in People Like Us, an LGBT federation in Singapore. She is currently the Chairperson of the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, a regional network of South East Asia LGBTIQ groups lobbying for inclusion of LGBTQ rights in ASEAN. She also co-founded the South East Asia feminist LBQ Womxn Network. Globally, Jean is the Asia advisor for Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Back home, Jean co-founded Sayoni, a queer women’s organization based in Singapore. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Sydney in Human Rights and Democratization. From 2016 to 2020 she was the China program Field Coordinator at OutRight Action International, where she worked on a project to improve domestic and family violence protections for LGBT people. Lastly, she is also a winner of the AWARE Champion for Gender Equality and Justice Award 2018 in Singapore and the APCOM Community Hero Award for the Asia Pacific region in 2018.
Claire De Leon is a queer lawyer working on gender equality and human rights in the Philippines. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines in 2011 and her Juris Doctor degree from the same university in 2016. Claire was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 2017 and went on to work for the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, an agency which provided reparations to victims of human rights violations committed during the Marcos Regime. Her active involvement in the LGBTQI rights advocacy began in 2012, when she joined UP Babaylan—a pioneering LGBTQI student organization in the Philippines. She led the said organization as its president from 2014 to 2015. And from 2015 to 2017 she worked for Lagablab Network—a national alliance of organizations lobbying for the passage of LGBTQI-responsive policies and legislation nationally and locally. She is currently working as a lawyer at the Commission on Human Rights, the Philippines’ National Human Rights Institution, and as the Executive Director of Babaylanes, a non-profit organization mandated to capacitate LGBT youth, providing human rights education, and organizing advocacy campaigns and activities. She also serves as the Secretary-General and spokesperson of Lagablab Network.
Midnight Poonkasetwatana (Moderator) has been APCOM’s Executive Director since May 2011. With years of experience working in multi-sectorial partnerships with governments, donors and the United Nations, he particularly enjoys working with community groups and civil society organisations to build their capacity to better promote the rights of communities of diverse SOGIESC. Midnight’s work as APCOM Executive Director has been globally recognised through various awards and honors, such as Mark King’s MyFabulousDisease.com’s 16 HIV Advocates to Watch in 2016, “IAPAC 150” Pioneers in AIDS Response and AVAC’s Omololu Falobi Award for excellence in HIV prevention research community advocacy. At the 2016 UN High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, Midnight gave the Closing Plenary Statement representing civil society across the globe. Midnight is a member of various advisory and steering committees, including the global IDAHOT committee and the Freedom House’s “Dignity for All”; as well as a civil society International Steering Committee member of the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund. Before joining APCOM, Midnight worked for Purple Sky Network where he engaged with MSM and transgender communities in the Greater Mekong areas. He previously supported the implementation of HIV and human rights programmes in various countries throughout Asia and Eastern Europe as part of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Midnight obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia in 2002 and completed his Masters in Globalisation and Development in 2009 at the School of Oriental and African Studies through the University of London.
Olam RASAPHONH is a program coordinator for Community Health and Inclusion Association(CHias) based in Lao PDR. Olam is responsible for regional HIV/AIDS program and Sexual Orientation Gender Identity(SOGIES) project which aim to support LGBT people in accessing equal social services and ensure that LGBT community member will receive basic information on Sexual Orientation Gender Identity(SOGIES) and human rights of LGBT people. CHias is community-led organization focused on health and gender services. Its focus includes self-support groups and network strengthening, including peer-counseling in ARV centres, home-based care services by trained home-care teams from the self-supporting groups of people living with HIV (PLHIV), orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), MSM/TG, and their families. The services provided by the self-support groups include health related referral services, provision of positive prevention information, access to income generation activities (IGA), food support, supporting school attendance for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), and reducing stigma and discrimination against PLHIV and their families. Young people, mobile populations, PWID and sero-discordant couples are also reached by their programs. CHias also strives to implement human rights activities that challenge discrimination, violence and injustice on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and the power imbalances which prevent LGBTI persons from enjoying their rights
Teguh Iman Affandi was born in Jakarta, on April 11th 1987. He graduated from Universitas Negeri Jakarta in 2012. His interest in social issues started since his first year of college. He has three years of experience and involvement in student organizations. Teguh joined Suara Kita, an LGBTQI organization in 2011. Suara Kita is an LGBTQI organization in Indonesia that based in Jakarta. In in its advocacy for LGBTQI rights, Suara Kita focuses on developing discourses about sexuality and gender diversity. Its activities include organizing public lectures and discussions, online campaigns, research and publications, video production and trainings. Teguh started his involvement with Suara Kita as a volunteer. During his time as a volunteer, he produced a video documentary video about coming out which was uploaded on Suara Kita’s Youtube channel. He became a full time staff in 2012 and he was responsible for content development for Suara Kita’s website. Since then, he has been in various positions in the organization including as Program Manager, and in hi present role as member of the Executive Board. Between 2012 and 2014, he contributed to publishing two books, organizing collective work with six universities, and organizing journalism training for the community. Recently he focuses on helping LGBTQI individuals who need legal and psychosocial assistances. Together with his colleagues, he initiated Sahabat Kita, a network that consist of LGBTQI and ally from various background committed to helping the community.
Yara Kong is the Project Coordinator of Micro Rainbow International Foundation Cambodia (MRIF Cambodia). MRIF aims to contribute to creating a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people are free from discrimination, persecution and have equal opportunities in life, including in accessing employment, training, education, financial services, healthcare, housing, places of faith, and public services. He has 10 years ‘experience working with LGBTIQ+ and marginalized communities in Cambodia. In 2015, UN Women Cambodia recognized his efforts as a young activist who champions ending violence against women.