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Outlook and Next Steps for the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum

The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum leaders consider the impact and future of the Forum

Fellows of the inaugural session in 2013 – LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps.

After five successful years of convening sessions, sharing stories and building a global network, Founder and Chair, Klaus Mueller and Salzburg Global Seminar Vice Presidents, Benjamin Glahn and Clare Shine, consider the impact the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum has had and how it will move forward over the next five years.

Salzburg Global Seminar remains committed to advancing dialogue and collaboration for LGBT equality as a key attribute of civic societies that no longer tear families, communities or societies apart for reasons of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We believe that the Forum’s signature – the truly global representation of diverse leaders across human rights, law, arts and culture, and religion – is and will continue to be of vital importance for inclusive and tolerant societies.

As this report highlights through concrete examples, the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum can point to many areas of achievement since it was founded in 2013:

  • Establishment of a pioneering Forum that enables and promotes greater understanding of the interconnectedness and impact of global developments, campaigns and voices on LGBT equality, both globally and locally.  
  • Adoption of the jointly-written Salzburg Statement – The Statement of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum: Advancing human rights for LGBT people and communities – to guide intersectional action and projects.
  • Advancement of institutional agendas, including through issuing key recommendations on creating long-term global networks to sustain LGBT human rights organizations, which have been implemented and further developed by the German Federal Foreign Ministry.
  • Development of a network of Fellows that connects cultures, generations and geographies, and forms a diverse community with mutual trust and wellbeing embedded as core values for meetings and collaborations.
  • Promotion of cultural voices and products in the advancement LGBT human rights.
  • Creation of a secure and dynamic online platform on which Fellows can ask for advice, continue discussions and respond to initiatives from members and partners.
  • Wide dissemination of expertise and achievements through social media, a periodic newsletter and dedicated website lgbt.salzburgglobal.org.
  • Global communication of our Fellows’ work through films, interviews, publications and online campaigns.
  • Transformation of personal lives and life chances.

The Forum’s major interconnected themes already include family, storytelling, migration and human security. In the future, we plan to expand this focus to include the role of history in better understanding how societies in- or exclude the lives of LGBT people and communities in their portrayal of cultural, national or religious identities.

Expanding on the Forum’s first five years and the vibrancy of its network of LGBT human rights defenders and supporters, we have identified key priorities for the next phase of its development. Over the next five years the Forum will seek to: a) leverage its independence, diversity and inclusiveness and harness its strengths in interdisciplinary convening and collaboration; b) enhance its contribution to global storytelling and cultural expression; and c) identify and support the next generation of human rights advocates and change-makers who are advancing LGBT equality.

By catalyzing and leading collaborations around the globe, the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum aims to drive change in three areas:

  1. Tipping point issues and policy levers, specifically around issues of equality, decriminalization efforts, and the wellness and wellbeing of LGBT human rights defenders and their communities;
  2. Understanding and communicating an inclusive definition of family in all of its forms (families by birth, families by choice and the families we raise); and
  3. Supporting efforts for the full inclusion of LGBT refugees, migrants and those at risk of “double-marginalization.”

Building on its strengths, the Forum will combine outreach and concrete projects for three objectives:

  1. Create and distribute mindset-shifting stories through publications, video testimonials and social media campaigns to reach and influence specific audiences.
  2. Build awareness among policy- and decision-makers (including governments, international development agencies, foundations and business) of the positive/negative impacts that specific policies and practices can have on the health and wellbeing of LGBT families and individuals, enabling them to influence a wider positive shift in attitudes, strategies and investments.
  3. Enable next-generation LGBT leaders to extend their awareness-raising and support activities and forge collaboration with other stakeholders.

While continuing larger gatherings to extend and deepen the Forum’s global network, we also aim to create, support and facilitate smaller meetings and explore new formats to share our expertise and connections with stakeholders from diverse fields. We have built a strong basis, but remain a “fluid network" that responds to initiatives from our members and partners and grows through evaluation and cooperation.

As we embark on the next five years, we thank our Fellows, partners and donors who have made the first five years of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum so successful. In the years to come, we look forward to deeper and broader collaboration, and to doing our part to realize the full and equal human rights of LGBT people and communities around the globe.