U&S at ILGA World Conference 2014 in Mexico
United and Strong is among organisations represented at an international forum for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), convenes its 27th World Conference from October 27 – 31, 2014, in Mexico City.
“This is an opportunity for networking, to create opportunities for collaborations, in the largest meeting of people and organisations advocating for equal treatment of all people,” says Kenita Placide, Executive Director of United and Strong, Saint Lucia. “Representation at this conference and in ILGA is important for LGBTI groups as it helps in increasing visibility of the work of these organisations, representation on the world stage and access to financial and technical support.”
United and Strong previously held the post of alternate Co-Secretary General on ILGA’s Board and the regional network CariFLAGS currently hosts ILGA’s alternate women’s secretariat. It is one of a few Caribbean groups registered with ILGA and has been actively encouraging other regional organisations to be part of the global network.
“LGBTI people in English speaking Caribbean countries are not well represented internationally.” The theme “De-colonizing our bodies,” is particularly evocative for the Caribbean, given our history and the colonial origins of many anti-gay laws. Placide says, “The situation of Caribbean LGBTI, their needs, work being done to address their issues and the success stories need to be heard and supported by of the largest networks campaigning for LGBT rights globally because we are part of and affect that larger picture.”
This is the second ILGA world conference to take place in Latin America and the first in Mexico. The symbol of the Conference, Tlazoltéotl, is a Huasteca goddess representing transformation, lust, sins and filth. She was chosen for her transgressiveness, as a force to empower LGBTI people to transform the world.
Over the course of its existence, ILGA has held world conferences on three continents. In these gatherings, between 300 and 450 representatives of civil society organizations from around the world come together for one week, where public officials, legislators, academics, directors of cooperative institutions and representatives of offices of the United Nations also participate in enriching analysis and discussions.
This meeting is the most important decision-making body of ILGA in relation to its internal operations, approval of new members, adoption of important issues and campaigns for our local and global agendas, the work plan to follow and the internal and external definition of the organization.
In these conferences, each member organization can express opinions and concerns and each has the right to vote on the various matters before them. At the same time, the conference is an opportunity to strengthen the LGBTI movement especially among affiliated organizations in the region where the meeting takes place.