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Global Activism


International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation

IGLYO (aisbl) Rue de la CharitĂŠ 17, B-1012 Brussels, Belgium e-mail: info@iglyo.com web: www.iglyo.com

Project Coordinator: Nanna Moe Editors: Nanna Moe and Claire Anderson Contributors: Joseph Sewedo Akoro, Bruce Portugal Amoroto, Ricardo Baruch, Angel Celeste Collie, Dana Cotici, Anna Kirey, Chesller Moreira, Nadine, Sandra Santos, Daniel A Townsend, Daniel Witthaus Proofreading: Bruno Selun Layout Editor: Laura Varzgalyte Design: Laura Varzgalyte (www.coroflot.com/laura-va) Printer: UAB INV (www.flexus.lt)

Š 2009 IGLYO. Reproduction permitted, provided that appropriate reference is made to the source.  his newsletter is published with the support T of the European Youth Fundation and the European Commission. The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission or of the Council of Europe. They are not liable for any use that may be made of this information.

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Editorial

Dear members, readers, friends and partners of IGLYO, Welcome to this global issue of IGLYO on…! We are proud to present a selection of articles from all over the world. All these articles have been written by young activists, contributing their thoughts on how LGBTQ activism works in their region. This issue starts with an article from our own perspective. We then start our roundthe-world trip in Sub-Saharan Africa with Joseph from Nigeria. Next, Nadine in Lebanon describes activism in the Middle East and North Africa region. Moving north into Europe, Dana from Moldova takes a look at activism from an Southern European perspective, and Sandra from Portugal addresses the issue from a Western European viewpoint. And then we move focus to Asia, where we start with a description of South-Eastern Asian activism from Bruce in the Philippines, followed by Anna from Kyrgyzstan who takes us into activism issues in Central Asia. A huge jump across the globe then brings us to South and Central America, where Chesller in Brazil, and Ricardo in Mexico describe their views on activism in their region. To round up the Americas, Danielle from the United States covers North-American activism. Going slightly south again, Daniel Townsend will describe Caribbean activism. An enormous jump again brings us to Australia where Daniel Witthaus tells us a bit more about activism Down Under – where the journey ends. We hope that you will enjoy the global LGBTQ ride with us.

Contents IGLYO and Global Activism  4 Education for change in Africa  5 Queer activism is online in Middle East and North Africa  6 International treaties driving inclusion in Eastern Europe  7 LGBT activism in Portugal and Spain - a comparison  8 LGBT Equality in diverse South East Asia needs creative thinking  9 Building empowered communities in Central Asia  10 LGBT Youth Movement in Brazil and Latin America  11 Central America - Diverse region unites in HIV-prevention  12 Historical events kickstarted LGBT movement in North America  13 Mainstreaming international instruments inactivism in the Caribbean  14 Activism in Oceania Are we being too nice?  15

Nanna Moe and Claire Anderson IGLYO Board Members and editors of this issue of IGLYO on...

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Nanna has a MA in Communication. She has worked with communication at the World Outgames 2009, and is soon starting her new job in Brussels as Communication Officer at ILGA-Europe. Nanna used to be the chairperson of the youth branch of The Danish National Association of Gays & Lesbians LBL-Ungdom from 2006-2008, and has been invoved in IGLYO since 2007. Claire is an activist from the UK, with a background in campaigning with

students for LGBTQ liberation both during and after university. This September, Claire will return to studying to pursue her other passion, medicine. She believes in grass-roots and member-led activism, and has been active in IGLYO since 2006.

IGLYO and Global Activism By Nanna Moe and Claire Anderson

As IGLYO celebrates its 25th anniversary, we have the perfect opportunity to reflect on our role since we were founded in 1984. Knowing where IGLYO fits on the global youth LGBTQ activism scene is more complex than it might initially seem. Yes, we are the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation, but for the past quarter century, ‘international’ could be roughly translated as ‘European’. Aside from a small number of member organisations based in the Americas and Central Asia, a brief spell of running an office from New York, and the ability to invite a few activists from outside of Europe to our conferences, we have been essentially an organisation for pan-European youth LGBTQ activist  organisations,  concentrating mainly on pan-European LGBTQ rights issues and from an European perspective. However, in 2007 our members restated that we are indeed an international organisation – so what does that mean to us? IGLYO sees its role as both being the voice of LGBTQ youth (although only in and around Europe so far), and as a facilitating and empowering move4

ment of activism. We organise trainings, study sessions and conferences which help to enable young LGBTQ activists to liberate themselves and others. However, due to logistics and funding conditions, these have remained essentially pan-European until now. Activism which works is activism which comes from the ground, up. In any situation, it is the people with first-hand experience of the issues that are best placed to know how they could, and should, be fixed. IGLYO will reach out and support our LGBTQ friends from every region and every country in the world, but liberation must come from within. We realise that as an entirely European board, we must be careful of the danger of ‘exporting’ our issues and perspectives to places where the situation is very different from our own. So, whilst we don’t plan to set up regional branches of IGLYO, we expect that this first global conference will help build networks of activists across all continents, and we are very excited to publish some of the developments that will take place on that level. IGLYO on...


Joseph coordinates a leading mainstream LGBT rights advocacy group which is popularly known as the Independent Project for Equal Rights– Nigeria. He is among the youngest activists in the African regoin. Alongside his activism, he is currently studying to become a lawyer at his university in Nigeria.

Education for change in Africa By Joseph Sewedo Akoro

LGBT rights  advocacy in Africa has had to become very strategic in its  approach to activism in order to avoid  backlashes that may arise from its activities. In the case of Nigeria, this is done through lobbying the members of the legislatures,  mobilizing  mainstream human rights organizations to become supportive and stand in solidarity during public interventions (the  latest example was the public hearing of the same gender marriage prohibition bill 2008  held on  March 11, 2009), press conferences  to  keep issues  of sexual  minority  rights  in  the  news, community intervention and involvement in policy  development processes. The West and Central  African region is involved in lobbying, social work and various  discussions  with  stakeholders  in  government  for  decriminalization of homosexuality.  There are MSM/HIV Intervention programs going on in countries like South Africa, Malawi,  Ghana  and  Nigeria to mention a few, but  with  inadequate funding  support.

tinent  LGBT  rights  activism. Though there are mainstream Lesbian groups and  Gay  groups  in  Africa,  networks like  ILGA-Africa  works as an inclusive LGBT rights advocacy group. Human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression  as  well  as  ignorance expressed on the issues of sexual diversity and human rights in Africa are alarming. This calls urgently for public education on these issues. Public education at local, state, national and international level will promote empathy and behavioral change among society members,  therefore  reducing  stigma and discrimination meted against persons of diverse sexual behaviors and gender expression.  It is important to note  that  public  education  will  lead to  providing  accurate  and  adequate knowledge of issues of  sexual  orientation  and  human  rights.

African regional networks, e.g. Coalition of African Lesbians, ILGA-Africa and a newly found African MSM/HIV coalition exist to articulate intra-con-

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Nadine is a queer feminist activist based in Beirut. She has an MA in Philosophy and is the founder of Meem and other Arab LGBT initiatives. She is also an advisor to the Global Fund for Women and has recently written a book on the stories of queer women and transgender people in Lebanon.

Queer activism is online in the Middle East and North Africa By Nadine

LGBT work in Arab countries is, undoubtedly, one of the trickiest in the world, given the difficult social, legal, and political contexts. In many countries, homosexuality is punishable by death or imprisonment. But even in places where there are no incriminating laws, LGBT people still face extreme discrimination in the name of “honor” and “values.” Notions of LGBT activism came into existence with the age of the Internet in the late 1990s, as sexual minorities created and accessed safe online media to connect and communicate. As communities became to form, so did organizations, both visible and underground.  Today, activism in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region is most highlighted by the work of four groups. In Palestine, Al Qaws are an LGBT group active in advocating for equal rights of LGBT people and Aswat provide safe spaces and a knowledge base on queer women’s issues. In Lebanon, where homosexuality is still illegal, Helem formed the first out LGBT group in an Arab country and have been active since 2004 in lobbying for the visibility and protection of LGBT people. In 2007, a support group of queer women and transgender people called Meem was created to build com6

munity solidarity and work on feminist and gender issues in Lebanon. Attempts to organize in North African countries like Algeria and Morocco emerged over the past 5 years, but resulted in immediate crack-downs by state authorities. As reflected in this social make-up of queer organizing, two priorities are evident in terms of LGBT needs.  The first is community-building around an Arab queer identity, which is intrinsically different than that of the commonly-used Western “LGBT” framework. The second is the need for a human rights-based approach, which is catered to through the programs of visible advocacy organizations. In addition to legal challenges, the demand for equal rights for sexual and gender minorities is met with a strong wave of religious fundamentalism, which in my opinion is fed by global Arabophobia and Islamophobia. Family structures in the MENA region are dominantly heteronormative, and systems of nationalism, racism, sexism, and sectarianism also feed into this heteronormativity, making it very difficult to challenge from a sexual rights perspective.

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Dana is an LGBT human rights activist from Moldova. She is hoping for a society without black boxes, free of stereotypes and labels. Moreover, Dana believes that every individual should feel the benefit of equality, respect and the freedom and opportunities for self-realisation.

International treaties driving inclusion in Eastern Europe By Dana Cotici

The LGBT community is not an integrated part of Eastern European society, and it is excluded from legal and social life. The authorities are mostly declarative when speaking about fundamental human rights, which are not respected in practice. The specific needs of the LGBT community are not on the agenda of the state institutions. This background has determined the creation of LGBT organisations to represent and promote the rights of the LGBT community and its needs. The evolution of the  events and incidents that are still happening in our  countries shows  the  extent to which the LGBT community is  discriminated  against. The real number of violations is hard to estimate, for the  primary reason of the lingering fears that LGBT people feel due to social stigmatization when they need to report  assaults. The LGBT organisations, as well as several other human rights NGOs, use the correct understanding of LGBT rights as human rights and work with these primarily. Unfortunately, the general public understands  things  differently.  People tend to believe that what  LGBT advoGlobal Activism

cates  are fighting for  are  extra rights, and that they want more privileges.  This idea is widely misused by our opponents each time we are struggling to progress. T he  c o un t r i e s  i n  E a s t e r n   E u r o p e have  committed  internationally (international  human  right  treaties Council of Europe and United Nations) and through specific action plans with the European Union to  undertake  actions  to  install  a comprehensive  antidiscrimination policy. As far as we see the situation at this moment and in the perspective of the following years, the next main issues that will stay on our agenda are:  freedom  of  assembly,  anti-discrimination law, and transgender issues. In order to make the LGBT community an active partner in the social life, LGBT people should be able to exercise all their  rights. For this, it is necessary to lobby for  LGBT rights at all levels, and by working to educate the bodies that are supporting homophobic trends, fight the homophobic situation in Eastern Europe.

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Sandra  is a volunteer and former executive board member  of the Portugese  LGBT and allies youth organisation,  Rede Ex Aequo,  where she has been active for 3 years. On a daily basis she works as a lawyer in Lisbon, Portugal.

LGBT Activism in Portugal and Spain - a comparison By Sandra Santos

Nowadays, LGBT activism in Portugal is still quite different from that which is found in Spain, although the dictatorship period in both countries ended almost at the same time, that is, in 1974 and 1976 respectively. In fact, Spanish activism has much older roots than activism in Portugal, and the number of LGBT organisations in Spain is much higher as well. Spain is more openminded than Portugal as far as LGBT issues are concerned, and one of the reasons for this might reside in the fact that the activism in Spain has more support of the media, government and society in general than in Portugal. This reality made it easier for Spanish LGBT individuals to conquer legal equality rights. In Portugal there is still a number of barriers to overcome, and that is why the fight for equal civil marriage rights and the right to adoption is still an undergoing battle at the present time.

NGOs is very good, whereas in Portugal LGBT NGOs almost only join together to prepare annual gay pride parades. In Portugal, each NGO focuses on an intervention area (politics, youth support, social intervention, institutional discrimination) and each one has its own methodologies (intervention at a political level, school sessions, creation of support groups, street actions, etc.). The activists are volunteers of all ages, professions and status and although most of them are LGBT, there are also some activists who are not. The problem is that Portugal still doesn’t have enough activists, especially in smaller towns where homophobia is stronger.

Nevertheless, there are exchanges of experiences between activists of both countries, but there are no common projects. Spanish activism functions on a different level, in a way that is closer to the activism in Northern Europe. Spain and Portugal have several organisations, and almost all NGOs include the LGB and T issues in their work. The degree of interaction among the Spanish 8

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Bruce is a human rights and justice activist in the Philippines. He is President-Coordinator of the Philippine Forum on Sports, Culture, Sexuality and Human Rights Inc (TEAM PILIPINAS), Vice President of GLISA (Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association) Asia Pacific, and a member of GLISA International Board of Directors.

LGBT Equality in diverse South East Asia needs creative thinking By Bruce Portugal Amoroto

Southeast Asia is home not only to hundreds of ethno-linguistic and cultural minorities, but also to major world religions and indigenous spiritual beliefs. With a rich history of intra-regional exchanges as well as varied experiences of colonization and autonomy, the region is one of the most politically and economically promising areas in the world. With all its diversity, it can be quite difficult to identify and implement a common strategy for activism, however much can be won in the fight for equal human rights with critical thinking and lots of creativity. LGBT rights activism is a relatively new phenomenon in Southeast Asia. In 1987, Indonesia’s Gaya Nusantara began publishing journals and started engaging in public activities. Malaysia and the Philippines followed suit; the latter eventually holding the first Asian LGBT Pride March in 1994. ‘Gay’ organizations were the first ones to emerge followed by ‘lesbian’ and then ‘transgender’ groups. In some countries LGBT groups have organized conferences, seminars, sports events, parties and Pride parades, while in others groups organize around specific days such as Global Activism

World AIDS Day, or around cultural activities like film festivals. International groups and events like ILGA, IGLHRC, Gay Games, The Straits Games, and Outgames have also managed to organize LGBTs in the region as well. Overall, much of the activism today in the region is tied to sexual and reproductive health and rights (on HIV-AIDS) and to decriminalization of homosexuality especially in countries like Malaysia and Singapore. By exploring diversity as a means and an end towards equality, by reaching out to other discriminated and marginalized sectors in society and in the region (like women, tribal and indigenous communities, people living with HIV-AIDS and the poor) and realizing a common struggle for non-discrimination, and by using culture as tools for empowerment and emancipation, LGBT activists in Southeast Asia will make significant gains in the fight for dignity and justice.

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Anna is a queer activist working for LGBT rights in Kyrgyzstan. She has been part of the women’s movement for nine years, and was involved with Labrys since its conception in 2004. At present, she is conducting a research project on identity politics and LGBT organizing in Central Asia.

Building empowered communities in Central Asia By Anna Kirey

Recently I had a discussion with someone from a Central Asian country about activist training that LGBT Organization ‘Labrys’ is running this year. I have known this person for over two years but have never met her in person. I cannot name her or her country because I know how scared she is of someone knowing about who she is.  She is not sure about coming to the training because she is afraid the participants may out her to her family. Her story is one of hundreds if not thousands of Central Asian lesbian women. At the training itself we agreed not to distribute photographs, even to the other participants, and we went far away from the city to gather. Out of the five Central Asian countries, it is only possible for LGBT people to organize in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan still criminalize consensual sex between men, while Tajikistan has decriminalized this but remains a risky space for LGBT people. LGBT organizing in the region to this day is focused mostly on HIV prevention among gay men and MSM which creates an entry point. However, this also puts more stigma on LGBT people because it 10

is the only context in which LGBT matters are mentioned. However, in the past five years there have been more initiatives organized based on identity politics for empowerment, community building and advancing LGBT rights.  In this context, people come into activism for different reasons. Some are seeking justice and securing their own rights. For some, it is their only chance of earning an income because their gender expression or sexual orientation would not be accepted anywhere else. Quite a few activists are closeted and advance the LGBT agenda by mentioning the issues through other social movements, yet doing it as generally as possible so as not to draw attention to their own identity. This year my organization, Labrys, is moving from social work and support to becoming an agent in civil society and defining policy about LGBT rights. We are gathering activists from four regions of Kyrgyzstan and three other Central Asian countries to define common goals and organizing efforts as a movement. It took us five years to be able to talk publicly and run our own workshops. I hope to write another article in five years which demonstrates our achievements and lists a dozen organisations advancing LGBT rights in the region. IGLYO on...


Chesller is the president of E-JOVEM – Brazilian Network of LGBT Youth and Allies, the only IGLYO member in Latin America. He has a degree in Fashion Design and he impersonates the drag queen Lohren Beauty for entertainment and political reasons.

LGBT Youth Movement in Brazil and Latin America By Chesller Moreira

The LGBT movement in Latin America has historically been mainly a movement of adults. In most places, until the late 1990s, one couldn’t use the words “homosexual” and “youth” in the same sentence without the police being involved. LGBT youth did the best they could, scattered around a continent that was totally oblivious to their existence. But change came with the Internet. Today, the LGBT youth movement is still in its first decade, but we already have much to celebrate. Nationwide networking in Brazil became possible with the popularization of the web, and this movement of thousands has already migrated from the net to the real world. In Brazil, E-JOVEM, a national network of LGBT teenagers and youth, occupies a chair in the national Youth Council of the Federal Government, from which we co-organized last year’s Government’s first National LGBT Conference. Young people also take action inside the LGBT communities of Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico. We come together in international forums such as ILGA-LAC and the World Social Forum.

mate that, in Brazil alone, it leads to some 1000 LGBT young people committing suicide each year. Within the LGBT youth movement, our first priority is a homophobia-free education system. With projects like Educação Sem Homofobia and the launching of IGLYO’s Guidelines for an LGBTQfriendly Education in Portuguese (see www.iglyo.com), we hope to finally take the debate into schools – a challenge that we have barely started to face, but that has already shown its claws, if we take in account that schools are the main reproductors of Latin America’s most sexist and homophobic values. That’s why we’re part of IGLYO. To unite Brazilian schools in a great network of youth fighting against homophobia - and to expand this network beyond our borders, to other countries of Latin America and the world. Yes, we’re young – but we recognize the experience of those who did it first!

Still, many LGBT youth suffer with homophobic violence inside their homes, on the streets and at school. We estiGlobal Activism

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Ricardo is a 24 year old activist from Oaxaca, Mexico who has worked on sexual and reproductive rights and HIV prevention for 8 years. He is a member of both GYCA and Youth Coalition, where he is a member of the Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

Central America - Diverse region unites in HIV-prevention By Ricardo Baruch

Central America is a very diverse region in all the aspects of life. Indigenous, afro-descendents, European immigrants and all the possible combinations among them have created a very particular culture that has allowed some positive changes but created other difficult situations as well.

ment in the fight against HIV/AIDS that has brought many organizations and people together. This is an area of work with much more funding than LGBTQ rights work in general, so this results in a greater focus on HIV/AIDS. It’s important to mention that HIV remains concentrated among gay men and other men who have sex with men in most countries of Central America.

Mexico is the only country in the region with ‘friendly’ policies such as civilunions and anti-discrimination legislation. Other countries such as Nicaragua and Panama had anti-sodomy laws until as recently as 2008. I wouldn’t say there is a coordinated LGBTQ movement in the region. Unfortunately, there are only a few efforts to share and coordinate strategies and initiatives in the Latin American region, especially through ILGA-LAC, but that’s it. Young people have been an important part of the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) organizations in the region, but youth-led LGBTQ networks and groups have not been very visible, or simply non-existent. In this region, it is generally mostly gay men and transpeople that have been leading the sexual diversity movements, partly because of their involve12

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Angel works with Metropolitan Community Churches, as a Program Assistant and Co-Lead of their Transgender Resource Team. He is a Religious Studies student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has twice taken part in the Soulforce Equality Ride across the United States.

Historical events kickstarted LGBT movement in North America By Angel Celeste Collie

There is a rich history of activism in LGBT movements in North America. Famous events of the past include the Stonewall riots of 1969, Harvey Milk’s triumph as the first openly gay man elected to public office, and Rev. Troy Perry’s leading the movement against the Briggs Initiative. Today, activism in North America has transformed in ways activists at that time never imagined. Political, social, and religious activists are hard at work through academia, research, and numerous non-profit organizations. Their activism takes the form of lobbying, media campaigns, non-violent demonstrations, and social work. Activism is taking place on a wide variety of fronts, and the foremost of these at the moment is marriage equality. After Canada and portions of Mexico recognized same-sex marriage from 2005 and 2006, five US states have followed suit. Other areas of focus include: advocating non-discrimination policies and legislation on every level, pushing for same-sex couples’ insurance benefits and policies covering medical care for transgender individuals to live completely healthy lives, pushing for removal of gender dysphoria from Global Activism

the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and a movement to expose the damage caused by reparative therapies. An example of youth activism is Soulforce Q, which holds non-violent demonstrations and recognizes the source of homophobia and transphobia as religious bigotry. Its young adult activists work in solidarity with LGBTQ movements outside of North America, as well as organizing their well-known Equality Rides. The movement here is fragmented but working towards a more united front. Our movement also seems to be quite divided from international movements dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity. You find very little mention of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) by national organizations. Many groups also have work to do to become completely trans inclusive. However, we are beginning to focus on bridging the gaps that divide us and organizing across many issues.

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Daniel is an activist from Jamaica. No stranger to sexual and reproductive rights, he has worked extensively in his country and has worked throughout the Caribbean with international partners. His key interests are social justice, queer youth and sexual rights.

Mainstreaming international instruments in activism in the Caribbean By Daniel A Townsend

Sexual Rights activism in the Caribbean has represented some what of a grey area, though all Caribbean states are party to most international treaties and conventions. However the right and responsibilities of states exclude discourses related to sexual rights. Often problematic, LGBTI activism is actualized in settings where there is no legal recognition of the rights of sexual minorities. It has to be be underscored that it is difficult to work on sexuality issues within the Caribbean. The pervasiveness of homophobia is itself a deterrent to address holistically the entirety of issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. The penal codes criminalising homosexuality remains itself a reminder that these issues are challenging to represent, particularly the threat of violence which can result in death makes these issues particularly difficult. Against this background, discrimination presents a persistent challenge to all sexual minorities, and additionally there is still no protection relating to the economic and social rights of sexual minorities.

ditionally, the global nature of our work adds greater responsibility to ensure that our efforts are beneficial to all. Activism in one part of the Caribbean cannot be viewed in a singular context in that it doesn’t affect other realities, locally, regionally and globally. Because of this, all activists and advocates in the Caribbean must strive to have our strategies informed by the multiplicity of realities to which we are responding. We must mainstream instruments such as the Yogyakarta Principles, establishing a common platform to which international, regional and local activism can be anchored. Lastly, we must educate all young activists about our history, as collectively and individually we represent years of struggle for equality, the product of which has taken us to where we are now.

Yet against this background, LGBTI activism has progressively advanced in recent times. Throughout the Caribbean, queer activists have found ways to work together and will continue to do so. Ad14

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For over a decade Daniel has challenged homophobia in Australian schools. He developed the Pride & Prejudice educational package and trains young people, teachers and health professionals. In 2006 Daniel joined the International Advisory Committee of the Global Alliance for LGBT Education

Activism in Oceania - Are we being too nice? By Daniel Witthaus

“I have to ask the question: are we being too nice?” With these words, sociologist Gary Dowsett concluded his summary of the 1st Asia Pacific Out Games Conference. Although there were nervous giggles, for many these words highlighted a trend in Australia (and New Zealand) away from personal activism toward professional advocacy. In contrast, throughout the neighboring Pacific Islands, activists suggest that “being nice” is personal activism. By respecting their culture, religion and everyday life, Tonga’s Joey Mataele says LGBT locals gain respect and move closer to equal rights. Leading international LGBT observers have hypothesized a link between social progress and activism. Australia has made significant gains in LGBT rights, especially following its recent change in government. These same observers would suggest a subsequent decrease in activism. What isn’t discussed is the tension this creates between professional advocates and personal activists. Increasingly there is less space for, and active discouragement of, personal activism, mostly through fear of losing the gains that have been made. It is not uncommon for advocates to warn activists that Global Activism

they could “stuff it up for everybody” if they take personal action. Yet taking action to bring about social change is what activism is all about. Although there have been significant gains for LGBT people, this has not extended to education. In Australian schools LGBT students and teachers remain second class citizens. The good news is that there is broad agreement that something needs to be done in the Oceanic region. The bad news? Few seem to agree on what that is. Is it challenging homophobia programs, LGBT speaking panels, “inclusive” curricula and/or “diversity” policies? At present there is no national dialogue between LGBT educators and little happening beyond occasional discussion at a state level to progress the question. It is certainly popular for LGBT young people, often supported by a project, to speak to local schools, although the effectiveness of this is still to be evaluated. In Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, peak organizations are developing young LGBT leaders and in doing so demonstrating leadership themselves. Education, as a theme, is prominent. Yet my question to these young leaders is: are we still being too nice? 15



IGLYO on... Global Activism - May 2009