Thursday, May 9, 2019

OutRight Honours Courageous LGBTIQ Activists in New Yor

On the evening of May 7, 2019, at the organization’s annual Celebration of Courage gala, Outright Action International honoured Rikki Nathanson, founder of Trans* Research, Education, Advocacy & Training, with the Felipa De Souza Award. The OutStanding award was presented to Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair - Public Policy at EY, who spearheaded the company's inclusivity and diversity efforts inspiring other businesses to follow suit. Whereas the cast and crew of Amazon Prime Video’s Transparent received the OutSpoken Award, for bringing stories of love, life and struggle of LGBTIQ characters onto the TV and computer screens of countless viewers, while championing acceptance and understanding.

Rikki Nathanson spoke of the persecution, harassment and violence she faced at the hands of the state in her native Zimbabwe, after being arrested for using the bathroom corresponding to her gender identity. She shared the pain she felt in realizing she had to leave the pioneering work she had begun on trans visibility and recognition not only in Zimbabwe, but regionally, to save her life. Having received asylum in the USA Rikki remains steadfast and determined. She said: 

“In these seemingly dark times where strides that were made in the past are being subverted by new administrations and regimes, we still cling on to that sliver of hope and knowledge that we the LGBTIQ community are resilient, tough and smart. We have been through the worst times but still do we not only survive, we grow and even flourish in our fabulousness! I pledge to continue to advance our shared mission to change lives for our community in places where it’s needed the most.”

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, reflected on her own path in finding her queer community and through it becoming an activist, concluding that:
“The silver bullet for LGBTIQ rights is empowering local LGBTIQ activists and organizations in every country around the world. Progress toward family recognition, non-discrimination laws, trans health services from the US to Uganda is all driven by LGBTIQ people and organizations advocating for themselves. The existence, strength, and resourcing of LGBTIQ organizations around the world is our silver bullet, and that is what OutRight does best.”

Left to right: Jessica Stern, Gaby Hoffmann, Alexandra Billings, Trace Lysette, Zackary Drucker, Rikki Nathanson, Beth A. Brooke-Marciniak, Suzanne Rotondo at OutRight Annual Award Gala

Rikki Nathanson at OutRight Annual Award Gala

Trace Lysette, Alexandra Billings at OutRight Annual Award Gala

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