Amir Ashour, founder and Executive Director of IraQueer, shared that one of the biggest challenges facing the LGBT community in repressive countries is the lack of visibility. "You will hear in countries like Iran or Iraq or Chechnya, 'We don't have LGBT people here.’ That makes it very difficult to change minds, much less change laws,” he said. “At IraQueer, we are literally inventing words in Arabic and Kurdish for LGBT people because the only words that exist are offensive ones.”
Aaron highlighted the urgency for LGBT immigrants. “Every email we get begins with, 'I need to get out of the country, my life is in danger,’” he said. Both Immigration Equality and IraQueer leverage encryption technology for their global communications because even contacting an LGBT organisation can put an individual’s safety at risk.
From the perspective of the corporate world, Throsby commented that while policies at multinational corporations may be supportive of LGBT people, “an interesting test is whether we as individuals speak up when others we interact with in a business context don’t behave in the right way on these issues.”