Live Q&A: How is progress on LGBT rights achieved ?

Kathmandu (Pahichan) February 11 – There’s still a long way to go before discrimination is history. Join a global expert panel on Thursday 11 Feb, 1-3pm to discuss how change is realised .

“Ending marginalisation and exclusion of LGBT people is a human rights priority – and a development imperative,” said Ban Ki-moon at the UN general assembly last September, despite the fact there is no mention of LGBT rights in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) announced at the conference.

Although human rights groups have questioned the absence of specific language on sexual orientation and gender identity in the SDGs, the hope is that the wording is broad enough to include the rights of all people and “leave no one behind”.

So given that LGBT people are still marginalised all over the world – sufferingdisproportionate discrimination in work, school and wider society and shocking rates of violence – how can activists, lawyers and politicians work together to achieve change?

How were these milestones accomplished? And beyond legislation, how does society go from being deeply discriminatory to accepting LGBT people’s right to exist? How can countries all around the world learn from each other to realise a better world for sexual orientation and gender identity minorities?

Join an expert panel on Thursday 11 February, 1-3pm GMT, to discuss these questions and more.

From 8-14 February the Guardian Global Development Professionals Network is highlighting the work of the LGBT rights activists throughout the world. Follow the conversation at #LGBTChange.


Lewis Brooks, policy and research manager, The Royal Commonwealth Society(RCS), London, UK, @lewibrooks
Lewis leads the RCS’s LGBT rights work which seeks to build a “commonwealth approach” to the issue.

Jonathan Cooper, chief executive, Human Dignity Trust, London, UK,@HumanDignityT
Human Dignity Trust supports those who want to challenge laws that criminalise homosexuality, wherever they exist in the world.

 Leah Entenmann, research and communications coordinator, Alturi, New York, USA, @AlturiOrg
Leah advocates on international sexuality, sex, and gender human rights issues. Alturi educates about the lives of LGBTI people worldwide.

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, executive director, Equal Ground, Colombo, Sri Lanka, @_EQUALGROUND_
Rosanna was formerly the co-secretary general of Ilga, before founding Equal Ground in Sri Lanka.

Naomi Fontanos, executive director, Gender and Development Advocates (Ganda) Filipinas, Quezon City, Philippines
Naomi is a writer, feminist and trans* rights activist in the Philippines. Led by transgender women, Ganda Filipinas advocates for genuine gender equality for all Filipinos.

Kyle Knight, LGBT rights programme researcher, Human Rights Watch (HRW), New York, USA, @knightktm
Kyle covers Europe and Asia for HRW’s LGBT rights programme. Before that, he was a fellow at the Williams Institute and a Fulbright scholar in Nepal.

Tam Nguyen, founder, Viet Pride Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tam founded Vietnam’s first Pride celebration in 2012 – a bicycle rally. She recently graduated from Penn State University with a Master’s in community psychology & social change.

Caleb Orozco, LGBT human rights advocate, United Belizean Advocacy Movement (UniBam), Belize City, Belize, @UNIBAMSupport
Caleb is currently challenging Belize’s sodomy law in the courts. He founded UniBam in 2006 which educates on LGBT rights and advocates for legal changes.

Sujan Panta, human rights and legal officer, Blue Diamond Society, Kathmandu, Nepal, @sujanktm
Lawyer working for the human rights of LGBTI community in Nepal.

Renato Sabbadini, executive director,International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Geneva, Switzerland,@RenatoSabbadini
Linguist by training, gay rights activist since 1992, worked at the European Parliament, executive director at Ilga since 2013.

Omar Sharif Jr, actor/ambassador, Human Rights Foundation, New York, USA,@omarsharifjr
Egyptian actor and activist who became the first out Arabic public figure in 2012.

Michael Vidler, human rights lawyer, Vidler & Co Solicitors, Hong Kong
A human rights lawyer with experience advising LGBTI groups and bringing LGBTI-related constitutional challenges to court in Hong Kong.