ADDED ON: 09/11/2021

OPINION: Invest in the LGBT+ movement and change will come

9/10/21 | Openly News

By the time I have my last day at the end of this week, I will have served as executive director of OutRight Action International for nine years and 358 days. My friend tells me that’s a decade. Almost. But I’ve always prized precision in the global fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer rights. I’m in awe of the global transformations I’ve witnessed, so I’m assessing what I’ve learned over years of activism. The LGBT+ movement perpetually debates the most effective ways to create lasting change. We ask because we are motivated to invest precious time, money, programs, and relationships strategically. Some have alleged that international organizations are superfluous, but international organizations create precedents that have shaped some of the most significant legal cases advancing the rights of LGBT+ people of the past 10 years. Many have argued that evacuation from whichever country is in the news is the only way to make LGBT+ people safe. That would mean evacuating millions of people, yet no country has open borders or a perfect human rights record. Although safety for asylum seekers and refugees must be respected as a human right, I believe that we should equally prioritize safety for LGBT+ people within the country someone considers home. Many have told me that we need more innovation to secure our rights, yet the notion that we need to invent a magic bullet relies on a fallacy. The central obstacle to progress is not lack of innovation but the disproportionate strength and wealth of those who dehumanize LGBT+ people. Over the past decade, I have witnessed firsthand how LGBT+ activists are some of the most creative, resourceful, and effective on the planet. In my time as executive director, I argued many times what I know to be true. There are two fundamentals to achieving LGBT+ liberation: diverse strategies and strong LGBT+ organizations. If there was an easy, one-size-fits-all solution, homophobia and transphobia would be a historical note. They aren’t, which is why we must have diverse tools in our toolbox for the right time and place.


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