When Adam asked me to blog with him, one of the things he mentioned I should write about is where I work: the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which we affectionately call IGLHRC. Tonight we are having our 20th anniversary celebration, so I figured it would be an appropriate time to introduce the blog to it. Each year, IGLHRC holds a ceremony to honor activists and advocates from around the world who have made an impact on the global movement to secure the rights of sexual and gender minorities.
The rest of year IGLHRC works tirelessly from our offices in NYC; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Cape Town, South Africa to support the work of local organizers and grassroots advocates to improve the conditions faced by LGBT people. In over 80 countries, same-sex acts are illegal and in many places punishable by the death penalty. IGLHRC’s global network connects people with the resources they need to make change happen locally. More often than I would like we use our resources to rescue people from very dangerous situations.
It’s a strange thing to be an openly (and sometimes a bit too open) gay man raised in America with all the privileges that entails and yet knowing that there are men my age in Iran who would be punished for just talking about gay rights. I like to think that we are celebrating the courage of these individuals that go on living despite the oppressive conditions they are forced to endure the likes of which many of us can only imagine.
So much of what we will be celebrating is written on the backs of those who struggle in silence or who have already lost their lives. But there are a lot of voices that have not been silenced and we will keep fighting back. Please take a moment to visit IGLHRC’s website and learn about what we do and who we do it with. And remember them.