The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum was formed in 2013 to establish a truly global space to reflect upon and advance the LGBT and Human Rights discussions around the world. Its signature is the international representation of leaders from diverse fields – including human rights, legal, artistic, and religious backgrounds. Founded and chaired by Dr. Klaus Mueller, the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum currently connects representatives from more than 54 countries (as of June 2015) with representatives from six more countries joining in 2016. Two successful sessions was previously hosted in Salzburg, Austria and Berlin, Germany. Salzburg Global 2016 sought to expand the global footprint of the multi-year series by travelling to Thailand and partnering with UNDP’s Being LGBTI in Asia programme – a regional initiative to reduce marginalization and exclusion of LGBTI people. Of the 52 participants taking part in Chiang Rai, 32 are from Asia.
Through the five-day program, the organizers aim to foster open, strategic and focused discussions while examining progress – such as the changing legislation in Bhutan – and challenges – including the worsening security situation in Bangladesh – for LGBT rights in the region. Participants will identify concrete potential for further positive change in Asia, and share best practices from around the globe that can be adapted and adopted in the region. Participants were also had opportunity to meet film makers in the region and watch their work on LGBTI issues.
Recognizing that the challenges confronting the LGBT and human rights movement are not only national or regional, the 2016 Forum in Thailand expand understanding of how the region’s successes and challenges relate to and influence issues at a global level. Different cultures and regions provide lessons which are harnessed to advance LGBT human rights on the global stage, as well as bolstering individual participants’ future contributions at larger global conferences such as the 10 Year Anniversary Conference for Yogyakarta and the ILGA World Conference in Bangkok.
Youth Voices Count (YVC) has the opportunity to engage in the forum, sharing experiences of a regional network in working for young gay, young bisexual, other young men who have sex with men and young transgender people in Asia and the Pacific. Andrey Tran, Network Support Officer of YVC was part of a panellist discussion along with activists from other regions, discussing on how to deliver messages through storytelling and social media.
Storytelling aspect is the cornerstone of the Forum’s ongoing project “Family is…”, which was launched in 2015 with support of the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The project thus far has collected dozens of video testimonies and published a report on how members of the Forum view and experience families – both of birth and by choice. The project will continue gathering video testimonies in Chiang Rai, culminating in an exhibition in Berlin in 2017.
-Salzburg Global LGBT Forum-