Since our founding in 2019, I have always believed that ReportOUT’s greatest strength lies in the passion and commitment of our volunteers, upon whom we are totally dependent. Our volunteer base is truly global, representing over twenty countries with a huge diversity of professions, educational background and, importantly, lived experience as LGBTQ+ individuals or allies.
Many of our volunteers originate or live in countries where their status as LGBTQ+ puts them in tangible danger of stigma, discrimination and active persecution from state institutions, religious bodies and wider society. Their courage and unflinching desire to speak out for the rights of their communities to exist free from persecution and live their authentic lives epitomises ReportOUT’s desire for a world which is ‘Safer to Be Me’ for all sexual and gender minorities. We are delighted therefore to announce our ‘Safer To Be Me: Global Voices’ blog series, with pieces written by our volunteers from across the globe on LGBTQ+ human rights issues that matter to them. Our series of blogs will be published on the ReportOUT website in the run up to the Safer To Be Me Symposium in June, which is being organised by ReportOUT in partnership with the University of Sunderland, It will bring together global activists, practitioners, and academics, to discuss the most pressing issues facing global LGBTQI+ human rights, and LGBTQI+ progress toward fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the coming weeks, you will hear about the diversity of topics and geographies, including ‘Minority Stress’ in Zimbabwe, why ‘Gender and Genitalia’ still matter in Japan and taking a closer look at Trans Rights in India. Other volunteers have written pieces on ‘Why The Kenyan Closet Remains A Safe Option’, the hidden shame of growing LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness in the USA and the intersection of religion and sexuality across sub-Saharan Africa.
These pieces shine an unflinching light on the diverse challenges our communities face around the globe and demonstrate the very reason why we need to consider the question of what it would take to create a world where all sexual and gender minorities are safe to be themselves.
I would like to thank all of our volunteers for being willing to share these insights, born of lived experiences and personal interests and hope you find them similarly insightful. This blog series will continue after the Symposium as part of our Global Knowledge Exchange Forum so please keep an eye out on our website and social media channels for new entries.
By Drew Dalton, Founder and Chair of Trustees