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WEF in Davos: LGBTQ agenda

WEF in Davos: LGBTQ agenda


World Economic Forum 2020 has just started in Davos, Switzerland. Every year it brings together politicians, leaders of industry, businessmen economists from around the globe. These powerful representatives are intended to find solutions for the world's most pressing problems including poverty, climate change and many others.  United international efforts are undoubtedly among the best and most efficient ways to tackle the problems that arise at a humanity scale. Some of those, are, however, remained obscured or just touched. Among the problems that have almost been neglected for too long are the rights of international LGBTQ community.

The question of including LGBTQ issues in WEF official agenda was first raised in 2014 during “off-piste” breakfast moderated by the journalist Fareed Zakaria. It was agreed that WEF 2015 must be updated to ensure diversity and inclusion.  Five years have passed since this milestone and with WEF-2020 kicked off let us make a closer look on progress made. This year two panels addressing LGBTQ rights are present. The first one, “LGBTI Rights and the Role of the Private Sector”, is organized by the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality that was launched by global businesses during WEF-2019. The partnership aims  “to accelerate LGBTI equality and inclusion globally and drive positive change”. The spotlights of the event include HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index Results and The Hallmark Channel: LGBTQ Lessons for Brands both addressing some of the most pressing issues LGBTQ community faces at a workplace today.  

The second event, “Free to Be (LGBTI)” features Xavier Battel,  first openly gay Prime Minister of Luxembourg and is more about building a safer future for LGBTQ community. That is, despite celebrating 50 years anniversary of Stonewall Riot recently many urgent problems remain unsolved or at least lack an adequate address. Among those are rejection and discrimination of LGBTQ youths resulting in high mental health and suicide rates. Despite being included in official agenda, the problems of LGBTQ community seem to be far away from adequate representation corresponding their ever-increasing importance. While the policy  “don’t ask, don’t tell” has finally been abandoned, many participants come from countries where LGBTQ rights are brutally oppressed. Tunisia, Ghana, and Saudi Arabia representatives are just a few of them. The situation looks especially ambiguous as the strategic sponsors of WEF including Goldman Sachs and SAP are openly supportive and advocate equality and inclusion. Maybe, it’s time for another “off-piste” breakfast to put forward the problems of millions of people who up to now have been (almost) neglected?