Despite significant strides towards equality in the labour movement, LGBTI+ rights are under attack by resurging regressive political forces. A webinar hosted by the Council of Global Unions LGBTI Coordinating Committee on 26 June is a clear call to defend the indispensable rights of association, assembly, and expression—fundamental to both labour and LGBTI+ movements.

Professor Graeme Reid, a South African scholar and the current UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), is set to deliver the keynote address. His career has focused on gender, sexuality, and human rights, and he led the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. 

Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association from Togo, will share his experiences from his tenure which began in April 2018. Voule's expertise is in supporting human rights defenders and coordinating advocacy efforts in Africa.

The panellists represent a broad spectrum of the global trade union movement, and in addition we will also hear from representatives from community LGBTI organisations to ensure an exciting dialogue, reflecting many perspectives and experiences from around the world, aiming to promote a deeper understanding and stronger advocacy for LGBTI rights within the labour movement.

Janina Henkes, Senior Policy Advisor for Women, Equality and Gender at the German Education Union (GEW), an Education International affiliate, will bring her extensive research on gender and labour to the table. Her international experiences enrich her understanding of societal shifts towards non-heteronormative models.

Keturah Johnson, the International Vice President of the Association of Flight Attendants AFA-CWA, member of the International Transports Federation (ITF), is not only a trailblazer as the first Queer Woman of Colour in her role but also a combat veteran. Johnson's leadership has been instrumental in advocating for inclusive labour practices in the airline industry.

Laya B. Ferrer, from the Associated Labour Unions (ALU-TUCP) in the Philippines, an affiliate to IndustriALL, focuses on enhancing labour conditions and advocating for gender equality in the workplace. Her work is crucial in safeguarding young workers from exploitation and harassment.

Linda Bogle-Mienzer, a Labour Relations Organizer with the Bermuda Public Services Union, represents LGBTQI+ issues within the Public Services International Caribbean Sub-region. Her deep commitment to labour rights and equality is reflected in her long tenure in union leadership.

Marvellous Tawomhera, serving as the National Young Workers Chairperson  for the IUF affiliate, Zimbabwe Catering and Hotel Workers Union, is a vocal advocate for labour rights and social justice, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by young workers in the hospitality industry.

Rafael Mesquita, President of the Ceará Journalists' Union  and Organiser Secretary of the IFJ affiliate, National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ) in Brazil, has led initiatives to formalise labour standards for LGBTQIA+ journalists. His efforts extend to organising Brazil’s Parade for Diversity, making significant strides in regional advocacy.

Kimberly Frost, a board member of OUTreach and ILGA World Treasurer, will contribute her rich experience in developing educational initiatives and advocating for LGBT labour rights across North America and the Caribbean.

"Forward despite the backlash: LGBTI rights and Freedom of Association" not only aims to highlight the resilience required to uphold LGBTI+ rights but also to foster a dialogue that can lead to actionable strategies in the labour movement. Under the collective ethos of "An injury to one is an injury to all," this webinar will serve as a beacon of solidarity, education, and advocacy.

Event Details

26 June 2024 - 14:00 - 15:00 CEST


UN Report

Report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity - Graeme Reid.