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May 24, 2018
by Oscar Tollast
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Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Helps Commemorate IDAHOT 2018

Klaus Mueller represents Forum at event co-hosted by the World Bank and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Left to right: Marie-Anne Valfort, OECD; Miltos Pavlou, EU Fundamental Rights Agency; Dragana Todorovic, LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey; Klaus Mueller, Salzburg Global LGBT Forum; Eleni Tsetsekou, Council of Europe; and Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, World Bank

The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum helped mark this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) by helping to highlight the need for alliances.

On May 17, Klaus Mueller, founder and chair of the LGBT Forum, spoke at an event organized by the World Bank and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.

Mueller took part in a panel discussion featuring speakers from the Council of Europe, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association.

This year’s IDAHOT theme is “Alliances for Solidarity.” Mueller and speakers, who convened at the World Bank’s Vienna office, helped convey the importance of alliances for the LGBT* community. In particular, Mueller emphasized the necessity of global alliances, such as the Forum, and its outreach to governments and transnational institutions.

Speakers also addressed the need for more data on the economic costs of excluding LGBT* people. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights announced plans to launch a second EU-wide survey on the discrimination of LGBT* people, which will also take into account bullying that takes place in schools.

Speaking after the event, Mueller said, “The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum deeply believes in making these connections, in extending our network and creating new lines of communication and cooperation. In the context of the continuing globalization of the LGBT* human rights movement, positive advances of and backlashes against LGBT* rights are now interconnected at a previously unseen scale. While equal rights for LGBT* people increasingly are understood as fundamental human rights, we also witness a rise of homo - and transphobia as a marker of cultural identity, national sovereignty or religious purity.

“In 78 states, governments legitimize and sponsor violence against LGBT* people and communities The challenges confronting the LGBT* and human rights movements are no longer only national or regional, but are influenced by a multitude of factors at the global level.”

Mueller thanked the World Bank and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs - both partners of the LGBT Forum - for inviting him to take part in the discussion. He paid tribute to the World Bank’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity team, led by its global advisor - and Salzburg Global Fellow - Clifton Cortez. Mueller also expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Gerhard Doujak, head of the Human Rights and Minority Issues Department at the the Austrian Federal Ministry.

This event marked the second year the LGBT Forum held a joint IDAHOT commemoration with the World Bank. In celebration of IDAHOT 2017, the LGBT Forum and the World Bank joined forces to call for inclusion and equality for families and their LGBT* children around the world.

Last year’s IDAHOT theme was LGBT families. This theme was partly inspired after Tamara Adrian, chair of the IDAHOT Committee, participated in the Forum and its three-year video project called “Family is…?” Adrian was one of several Forum members to speak about their families of birth, their families of choice and the families they raise. This project was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Adrian has attended every session of the LGBT Forum and was in Salzburg last year to celebrate IDAHOT.

For more information about this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, please click here.

*LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum uses this term as it is currently widely used in human rights conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world, but we would not wish it to be read as exclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender-nonconforming identities.