Arab LGBTQ activists in U.S., Canada aim to rally diaspora

Logo for Arab LGBTQ Activists Retreat Summit
Logo for Arab LGBTQ Activists Retreat Summit

A group of Independent Arab LGBTQ activists need your support.

Located in the United States & Canada, the group of activists are working to mobilize the community in the diaspora to continue the fight against homophobia in the Arab world, and for a safer world for everyone.

Leaders from around the Arab World based in diaspora will meet in Delaware to share successful innovative ideas for moving equality forward in their countries. The summit will be organized under the Chatham House Rule [Information from the meeting can be used, but with no mention of who said it or their affiliations], to establish a trusted network of connections abroad to truly align the LGBTQ civil movement in the both the diaspora & Arab world. They will be tackling the Arab LGBTQ asylum & refugee crisis, methods of how to support activists & NGO’s in the region, and most importantly form a step for engaging the LGBTQ Diaspora & allies in the fight.

Countries represented by  Arab LGBTQ activists planning to attend the retreat.
Countries represented by Arab LGBTQ activists planning to attend the retreat (Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Syria)

They will also be trained on how to engage with the media. The summit will also find methods to bring funding to their current & future work. They will be sharing their history of overcoming challenges and studying how change in the Arab world be implemented. The summit will include eight topics of open discussion which will be moderated by one of the participants, in which they will be learning from each other.

It’s a chance for LGBTQ activists located in the Diaspora to meet and get to know one another, to discuss important matters and share views on successful methods to work on LGBTQ issues from around the Arab world for the exchange of ideas for strategic activism in the diaspora. The retreat will be the first time that many of them actually meet to share ideas and practices from a variety of LGBT movements across the region working on a rainbow of topics.

The summit/retreat is currently self-funded and needs support. Your generous donations will be mostly used to cover travel expenses from across the United States and Canada to Delaware, where the venue was generously donated for three days in August 2016 to create the inaugural LGBTQ Activists retreat in diaspora. The targeted budget will need to be achieved by the end of this month, July, as cheaper air tickets will be available.

The project is a start to creating a large network of Arab LGBTQ+Allies activists network.

Most participants have fled the Arab world due to persecution or wars over the past 5 years. It is a chance for us to rebuild our front lines and continue the fight against homophobia. How? The retreat will gather experienced and passionate activists to network, share knowledge, and exchange ideas on diverse themes, including:

1) Engaging the Diaspora in the struggle of Asylum seekers and refugees

2) Supporting Activism in the Arab World

3) LGBTQ Sexual & Public Health in the Arab World

4) Talking to the Media as LGBTQ Arabs

5) Engaging with Fundraisers and assuring continuity

All individuals participating are leading LGBTQ activists, whom have created an Impact in the USA & Canada as well as their country of origin. The selection was based on:

1) Ability to lead a discussion, and proficiency in both English & Arabic

2) Dedication of continuing the activism work from abroad.

3) Gender Diversity, to bring LGBTQ representation properly

4) Relevance to mentioned themes.

5) Geographical diversity, from all over the Arab world. (15 participants from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Syria).

6) Geographical diversity, from all over the US and Canada. (Participants currently residing in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Chicago and Baltimore.)

Thank you for supporting the funding initiative for the inaugural project which will bring together Arab LGBTQ Activists of the diaspora to work towards fighting homophobia in the Arab world, efficiently and effectively.

We hope you continue to support this initiative by sharing with allies and donating to the Go-Fund-Me account. 10% has already been achieved, but the project is now dependent on your generous donations so we can reach the target by the end of this month.

— A. Hafez (@eGAYpt)

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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