Webinar: Forward Despite the Backlash: LGBTI Rights & Freedom of Association

26 Jun 2024 Geneva, Switzerland 26 Jun - 26 Jun

Webinar: Forward Despite the Backlash: LGBTI Rights & Freedom of Association

  • 26 Jun - 26 Jun
  • Geneva, Switzerland

14:00 - 15:00 CEST

Despite growing visibility within  the trade union movement for  LGBTI rights and equality, we are  now seeing the proliferation of  targeted campaigns against the  progress toward equality for  LGBTI workers driven by  authoritarian and populist politics. 

Freedom of association, assembly  and expression are at the core of  LGBTI equality and form the  fundamental pillars of trade union  rights.  This month, the UN Independent  Expert on Sexual Orientation and  Gender Identity (SOGI), Professor  Graeme Reid, will report to the  Human Rights Council on how  LGBTI communities are facing a  coordinated backlash against  these rights. 

On June 26, 2024 at 14:00  CEST, the Council of Global  Unions LGBTI Coordinating  Committee will host a webinar  where the UN Independent  Expert will present his new report together with a range of LGBTI trade unionist and civil society  leaders to frame the current anti-LGBTI backlash and to chart a  way forward to protect and  reinforce trade union and LGBTI  rights.    

Interpretation will be available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.


UN Speakers

  • Graeme Reid (he/him) is a South African national, who was appointed the United Nations Independent Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender for a three-year period, starting in November 2023. Reid conducted research, taught and published extensively on gender, sexuality, LGBT issues, and HIV/AIDS. Before his appointment, Reid acted as director for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch (HRW). 

  • Clément Nyaletsossi Voule (he/him) is a national of Togo, who was appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association and took up his functions in April 2018. Prior to his appointment, he led the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) to support human rights defenders from States in transition and coordinated the organization's work in Africa as the Advocacy Director.  

Trade Union speakers 

  •  Janina Henkes (she/her) is the senior policy advisor for women, equality and gender at the German Education Union (GEW), an EI affiliate. Henkes has a background in discourse studies, where she has done research on gender and work in particular. Coming from Belgium and having worked and lived in different European countries and the US, she closely observes how society and educational institutions have reacted to non-heteronormative models over the course of time. 

  • Keturah Johnson (she/her) began working as a ramp agent at Piedmont Airlines in 2013, a regional subsidiary of American Airlines. After five years, she moved to the Inflight Department and became a Flight Attendant, and immediately became active in the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Keturah is now the AFA-CWA International Vice President, making her the first Queer Woman of Colour elected to serve in the role.   

  • Kimberly Frost (she/her) currently serves as board member/Treasurer for OUTreach, an LGBT Labour constituency organization that supports locals across the United States. In addition to developing training and education materials for their nationwide membership, OUTreach offers scholarships for union members to go to seminars and conferences, to build expertise and strengthen the Labour movement.  She also serves on the ILGA World board as Co-Chair of ILGA-NAC (North America and the Caribbean) and is the Treasurer of ILGA World. 

  • Laya B. Ferrer (she/her) is a dedicated labour advocate and the Education and Information Officer at the Associated Labor Unions (ALU-TUCP) in the Philippines, an IndustriALL affiliate. Her work focuses on promoting labour rights, gender equality, and the protection of young women in the workplace. Ferrer has been instrumental in driving initiatives aimed at improving worker conditions and ensuring the implementation of laws to prevent exploitation and harassment of young workers. 

  • Linda Bogle-Mienzer (she/her) is a proud Bermudian, devoted 25 years to the Bermuda Police Service as a Station Duty Officer before immersing herself into full-time unionism at the Bermuda Public Services Union, where she holds the position of Labour Relations Organizer. Bogle-Mienzer represents LGBTQI+ issues within the Public Services International (PSI) Caribbean Sub-region. 

  • Marvellous Tawomhera (she/her) is proud to serve as the National Young Workers Chairperson for the IUF affiliate, Zimbabwe Catering and Hotel Workers Union. Tawomhera also serves as the Southern Africa IUF Young Workers Committee Titular member, participates in the IUF’s LGBTI Workers & Allies Committee and is a social justice advocate. 

  • Rafael Mesquita (he/him) is the President of the Ceará Journalists' Union (Sindjorce) and the Organizer Secretary of the IFJ affiliate, Federação Nacional dos Jornalistas (FENAJ) in Brazil. Mesquita was involved in bringing forward the proposition of labour standards that recognise the rights of LGBTQIA+ journalists at regional and national levels and led Sindjorce to be one of the organizers of Brazil’s Parade for Diversity. 

UN Report

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