Updates for January 2016
Last Thursday, for the first time in UNHQ, staff members who identify as part of the LGBTI community spoke publicly and openly about themselves.
The event was a great success, with over a 100 people in attendance, over a thousand people viewing our webcast (www.unglobe.org/events), and valuable connections made.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, even tweeted about the event calling it “very moving”, a sentiment shared by many of you, who also called it inspiring.
I am thrilled by the response, and I hope our next event in Geneva will be even more successful. If you still haven’t watched the event, please do! www.unglobe.org/events
In the meantime, we continue working on the five priorities that UN-GLOBE has established for 2015-2016. The priorities are available here: http://www.unglobe.org/our-issues/
One of our priorities is to push for inclusive parental leave policies in the UN system. For us, this means gender neutral policies that give the same leave time to all parents, whether LGBTI or not, whether adopting a child, having children through surrogacy, or giving birth to a child.
We have met with a number of senior officials on this, who generally have been resistant. And we are working with the staff federations of the UN system, who have agreed to support us.
I believe that if we continue pushing, we will manage to turn our vision into reality. I’m optimistic we can get this done.
We also move now to another priority: proposals for inclusive policies for transgender and intersex staff members.
This is very much needed in the UN system, which is often at a loss when it comes to handling the issues faced by transgender and intersex employees.
A call for volunteers to serve in a working group will go out very soon.
If you have expertise in this area, please volunteer. The aim is to come up with forward-looking and bold proposals that can make a difference.
Finally, our collaboration with the Fordham Law school continues. They have started interviewing all those who have volunteered to share your experiences serving in the field.
We will collect all your experiences, including those we are not able to interview, and those of LGBTI employees in the foreign ministries.
Eventually we’ll create a white paper on best practices, and an interactive map that will give visitors a snapshot of what it means to serve as an LGBTI individual in countries around the world, based on the experiences of those who have served there before.
This map has the potential to be an incredible tool for both UN workers and employees of the foreign services, and even those in the private sector.
Looking forward to a great 2016!
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)